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Sunday, April 02, 2006


Lisa Williams

Jesus! This actually, I think, gives me a clue about something I've been wondering about for a long time. I live in Watertown, MA. Our school system is struggling. It's been declared an underperforming school district under the federal NCLB guidelines. Spending per pupil is high -- almost $12k/year, making it 51st in the state; but performance is a sorry 204th out of 298. One out of three students in the third grade in the grammar school I'd have to send my kids to if I was sending them to public school are failing the basic math test.

One thing that confounded me is that the district says that 22% of the district's students are in special ed (they didn't give a lot of detail on what kind).

Is this why? They're just checking the box and moving on?

Interestingly, one of the reasons the district has been declared underperforming is that the district's progress on developing the skills of kids who do qualify for special ed has been going backward.

Maybe because those kids aren't in the right programs.

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