Alabama "failing schools" list expected this week - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Alabama "failing schools" list expected this week


All eyes are on Alabama's Department of Education this week as the state's superintendent plans to release a list of so-called failing schools in Alabama on Thursday.

The list complies with the Accountability Act that has faced controversy since its passage in March.

The law lets parents collect tax credits if they move their child from a failing public school to a private school or a non-failing public school.

District 8 Board of Education member Mary Scott Hunter, who represents Madison, Jackson, DeKalb and part of Limestone County, said she has been in contact with 12 superintendents on how to go about implementing the law.

State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice has been scrutinizing the Accountability Act and determining what the failing list will look like, according to Hunter.

The law, as stated in the legislation, states a failing school is one that is "persistently low-performing, as determined by the State Department of Education."

More specifically, they include schools that scored in the lowest 10 percent on standardized testing in reading and math and those that received a grade of "F" or three consecutive grades of "D," according to the law.

"The criticism of that is that it was very, very broad," Hunter said. "So now the question is, will that broad definition need any amendment via policy, which would be the board's job, or will that definition stand as it is?" 

A late change in the law added that a school system does not have to accept a student who wants to move from a failing school.

Dr. Bice said the U.S. Department of Justice had been in contact with him last month regarding this particular provision.

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