(07/03/2002)
Thirteen West Virginia schools have failed to meet federal standards. Across the country, 8,600 schools flunked, a much higher number than expected.

The West Virginia schools include Weimer and Chesapeake in Kanawha Co.; H. E. White and Lizemore in Clay Co.; Buffalo in Logan Co.; Barnes in Marion Co.; War in McDowell Co.; Birch River in Nicholas Co.; Stratton in Raleigh Co.; West Middle School in Cabel Co. and VanDevender Junior High School in Wood Co.

The failing schools law, passed by the Bush administration in January, allows students in failing schools to transfer to other schools, and in some cases provides transportation.

In West Virginia the problem is worsened by availability of other schools in the area, and transportation problems getting across great distances.

The new law also requires students in grades three through eight to be tested annually in reading and math.

The federal government is also approving vouchers for students to attend private schools, and declared that students who participate in competitive activities can be legally drug tested.

The Bush administration is calling for broad changes in accountability, affecting the performance of teachers and schools, which includes the raising of academic standards.

College entrance requirements are also changing with SAT-9, student applicants will be required to do a writing exercise and answer essay questions.

The standards appear to be in response to a large number of students lacking proficiency in reading, writing and basic math skills.


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