State Education Dept.: 21 districts, 30 schools require academic improvement

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Nearly two dozen Long Island schools need some extra help.

Twenty-one districts and 30 individual schools were put on the state’s academic improvement list.

Director of Curriculum for the Middle Country Central School District Jonathan Singer says a couple of his schools were unfairly put on the list. 

He says the ranking is based on things like student participation and performance on standardized tests, but more than 60% of his students opted out of those state tests.

“The issue is these rankings are dependent on the number of students who take the state exams,” says Singer. “You look at the state table and find a school with high opt outs, but decent performance, they get a lower ranking than schools with lower total performance but very few or no opt outs.”

Smithtown School District also made the list, and a spokesperson told News 12 that out of 82 groups, "one single accountability group failed to meet New York State's accountability expectations. That single designation is not representative of the quality of our schools or of our students."

Education expert Michael Cohen agrees that the education department's ranking system is flawed.

“A system like this is inherently flawed and I don't think it's fixable,” he says. “I think what they ought to do is take a more holistic approach and not try to base these evaluations solely on performance on standardized tests.”

A spokesperson for the education department told News 12 that, "Our ESSA plan is designed to improve equity in student outcomes by expanding measures for school support and accountability as well as student success…”

The full list of the school districts on the state’s academic improvement list can be found here. The Newsday report can be found here.

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