State News Roundup

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Statewide "report cards" gauging public school performance are growing in popularity across the South but are taking various forms, according tea report by the Southern Regional Education Board that examines the characteristics of such systems in 15 states.

While such reports typically offer a general background profile of each school district and its students and teachers, the study found, their approach to measuring student performance often differs. Maryland, for example, limits its measures to state testing-program results and dropout rates. Oklahoma, meanwhile, measures students based on nationally normed test results and dropout figures. Other states combine state tests and college-placement scores. Dropout rates were reported in all of the Southern states surveyed except Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas.

In another new report, "Reaching the Goal to Reduce the Dropout Rate," the S.R.E.B. urges states to require districts to sot goals for reducing the number of dropouts while raising academic competencies for teenage, at-risk students. The report argues that increased tracking of local dropout rates will focus efforts on bringing the figure down.

The group says examination of state reporting measures is increasingly important.

"As states shire more decisionmaking responsibilities to local school districts, these reports will become even more critical in measuring progress toward education goals," the group notes.

The New York State Board of Regents has rejected a proposal to give some parents vouchers to send their children to private schools.

In killing the proposal by a vote of 8 to 6, the regents tiffs summer argued that establishing the voucher program would be tantamount to giving up on some public schools.

The proposal had called for the state to give vouchers of up to $3,300 to as many as 5,000 children. To qualify, the children would have to have been attending one of the state's 59 lowest-ranked schools, most of which are in New York City.

The voucher plan had been backed by an association of Roman Catholic schools and opposed by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and the state teachers' unions.

Vol. 11, Issue 01, Page 1

Published in Print: September 4, 1991, as State News Roundup
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