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State Superintendent: Possible setback ahead for some students

Posted at 9:21 AM, Jan 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-01-19 07:40:17-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – State Superintendent Patricia Wright delivered the annual “State of the Schools” address Wednesday morning.

The Commonwealth has been ranked fourth in the nation in overall educational quality and performance, from Education Week’s “Quality Counts 2012” report.

Despite receiving top ratings from the national publication, Wright said there could be a setback ahead for some students enrolled in the state’s public schools. [BONUS: “State of the Schools” progress report (pdf)]

“Only 38 percent of our schools met the archaic, intrusive and burdensome adequate yearly progress requirement,” said Dr. Wright.

During Wednesday’s address, school and state officials made recommendations on how to capitalize on the state’s high educational standing.

However, the number and percentage of schools not rated as fully accredited decreased slightly during the 2010-2011 school year.

In fact, the accreditation status went from 98 percent to 96 percent.

School officials said the decline is partially to blame on the introduction of a benchmark for graduation and completion.

The introduction of more challenging mathematics, English and science standards and assessments may adversely impact school accreditation in 2012 and 2012—according to the progress report from the state superintendent.

“I do predict, regrettably, that our passing rates will fall.  I do predict that our accreditation rate will fall,” said Dr. Wright.  “It will not be because students are learning less, but it’s because we have higher expectations.”

The progress report also shows nearly 87 percent of the students in the class of 2011 graduated on time with a diploma.

Additionally, Dr. Wright said the students attending the 1,838 public schools will have to continue working on improving the Standards of Learning (SOL) program despite an anticipation of drastic budget shortfalls based on the Governor’s proposed budget.