The Mesa Unified School District must change its curriculum as part of a corrective action plan after failing four consecutive years to meet academic targets under the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Learn more about the federal No Child Left Behind law at www.ed.gov/nclb.
Read more about how Arizona’s schools perform at www.ade.az.gov/azlearns.
The district, Arizona’s largest public school system, failed to meet 26 of 254 federal goals, including reading goals for eighth and 10th-grade English language learners and thirdgrade special education students, said Joe O’Reilly, the district’s executive director for student achievement support.
The remaining missed goals dealt with the percentage of students tested.
The failure to meet the federally mandated-goals is a blemish on a district already facing declining enrollment.
This year, the district’s student population declined 1.9 percent — some 1,400 students.
“Our concern is more about the conflicting information this tells parents,” said spokeswoman Kathy Bareiss. “On one hand, they’re getting this bad report card on Mesa (school district), and on the other hand we’re telling them our class of 2007 received $43 million in scholarships ... and all of these students successfully passed the Advanced Placement exams, and talking about the great academics we have. So parents are having a hard time understanding what is going on.”
State education officials will meet with the district later this month to discuss the next steps, O’Reilly said. He anticipates having to complete a self-assessment in a variety of areas such as leadership, curriculum, teacher training and resource allocation.
Then, state officials will visit schools and meet with district workers around November.
“We will probably involve some of the parents and community members in areas they’d probably know about,” he said. “In some areas of assessment or things that are behind the scenes, we’d involve teachers. We’ll involve all our stakeholders.”
This marks the first time the state has intervened in school districts failing to meet requirements of No Child Left Behind.
State Department of Education spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico said 19 districts face the “corrective actions,” and all have chosen to implement a new curriculum. Several are also reallocating some resources.