Minnesota schools look better under new state accountability system

The full impact of Minnesota's new accountability system came into view this week with the announcement of the final group of schools facing new labels and corrective actions. The state now uses its own system after it won a waiver from the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law. Using the new definitions makes the overall picture seem rosier: 213 schools are now labeled underperforming in some way, compared to more than 1,000 under No Child Left Behind.
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Minnesota has dramatically cut the number of "underperforming" schools by effectively changing the definition of a failing school.

In short, the state switched to its own accountability and school-labeling system after it won a waiver from the federal government from the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law. With that, 213 schools are now labeled underperforming in some way, compared to more than 1,000 under No Child Left Behind, the Star Tribune reports.

The newspaper has compiled school-by-school results.

Instead of labeling schools as failing, the focus turns to providing more complete data about student achievement so educators can work to turn around the most troubled schools, the Pioneer Press says.

Under the federal NCLB system, the focus was purely on test scores, MPR notes. If students were not proficient in reading and math, the school was labeled as failing. Almost half of Minnesota schools were considered failing under the system. The new system considers test scores, but also takes into consideration how much students have improved over the year and how well poor and minority students perform at a school.

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