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Montana resolves No Child Left Behind conflict with U.S. Dept. of Education

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Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau has been in discussions with the U.S. Department of Education that resulted in a compromise agreement to use Annual Measurable Objectives of 84.4 percent in Reading and 70 percent in Math for the 2010-2011 school year. This resulted in an increase of 1.4 percent in Reading and a 2 percent increase in Mathematics.

The scheduled AMO increases for this year were 92 percent in Reading and 84 percent in Math. Using these compromise targets, only two additional districts and 16 additional schools are not making adequate yearly progress as defined by No Child Left Behind. If Montana had raised its AMOs to the scheduled increases, 155 additional schools and 84 additional districts would not have made adequate progress this year.

“I am pleased that I am able to provide some relief to our schools as we continue to wait for Congress to act to reauthorize the law, which is four years overdue,” said Juneau. “The U.S. Department of Education is hearing the states’ demand for relief from this law as we work with educators and communities to improve our schools and pursue other areas of reform.”

Juneau acknowledged the support she received from Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester in advocating to the U.S. Department of Education for a positive resolution for Montana students and schools.

Baucus spoke to the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, urging them to work with Montana. “It has been clear for some time that No Child Left Behind has created unnecessary burdens for Montana’s schools and its students, and it is essential that Congress fix this legislation as soon as possible,” Baucus said. “In the meantime, this agreement brings some relief to Montana schools, and I applaud Denise for standing up for Montana.”

“I’m glad all sides came together and reached an acceptable compromise,” said Sen. Tester. “This more recent situation is yet another reminder of the significant shortcomings of No Child Left Behind for rural and frontier America. I will continue to work with Superintendent Juneau and Montana’s teachers and parents to make sure that the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act meets the needs of Montana’s students and school districts.”

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