(08/24/2006)
The state Department of Education says about 85 percent of West Virginia's schools received passing marks in No Child Left Behind evaluations this past year.

It was a two percent improvement over the 2004-2005 school year.

Schools are measured on their ability to achieve a minimum level of improvement each year toward state academic standards and high school graduation rates.

While the state's numbers show marked improvement, WV colleges enroll a large number of their freshmen in "bone-head" courses, while other educational experts contend the numbers end up being manipulated, since states are under heavy pressure to show results.

The results of the latest West Virginia Educational Standards Test show that 76 percent of students were proficient in math, compared to 74 percent last year. Eighty-one percent were proficient in reading and language arts, compared to 80 percent last year.

About 60 percent of the state's middle schools met No Child Left Behind standards.

By comparison, 96 percent of elementary schools and 85 percent of high schools met the requirements.

WV SCHOOLS OPEN WITH "NOT SO QUALIFIED" TEACHERS

College students are not wanting to become teachers, and those that do are seeking employment in other states.

Thousands of West Virginia students will be instructed this fall by teachers who are not considered "highly qualified" under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Berkeley and Jefferson counties alone will be employing more than 100 "permanent substitutes."

Many of the subs aren't considered qualified to teach a class even though some might have a Masters degree.

NCLB requires teachers to have certification in the specific subject they are teaching. For example, a permanent sub with a master in science isn't considered qualified to teach a math class.

Karen Huffman, with the Department of Education, admits the No Child Left Behind standards are so high in some cases you just can't meet them 100-percent.

Huffman stresses "Their (county system) challenge is always to make sure that they employ someone who will provide a safe, secure environment for the child and who has some knowledge that would help them instruct that child in whatever that subject is."

The Department of Education is providing on-line classes to get some of the teachers fully certified.

"About 92 percent of the (WV) classes are taught by highly qualified teachers," Huffman said.


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