By Bob Weaver

Gilmer and Wirt County have met all the federal standards of No Child Left Behind.

The other 53 have not demonstrated "adequate yearly progress," according to Deputy State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine.

It's confusing.

"We agree that all children can learn and we want to close the achievement gap," said state school super David Stewart. "The latest news is an example of areas of the law that need to be revised."

Stewart said to identify a district as "in need of improvement" because it needs to improve one subject in one subgroup is unreasonable.

Last week a report said the worst performance for high school graduates in the state was in Gilmer County, where 85% of that county's only high school were required to take remedial courses.

"The superintendent of that county must take an immediate look at this," a commission official told the Herald.

Nearly 36% of all West Virginia high school students had to take remedial classes when they entered college, the report said.

However, Gilmer and Wirt didn't have to meet the same reporting requirements, which may be why they're on the winning list.

The 2002 No Child Left Behind Law established new accountability measures aimed at shrinking the gap between disadvantaged students and their peers.

The standards not only apply to individual schools, they apply to each county system.

About 72 percent of West Virginia 720 public schools met guidelines during the 2003-2004 school year. Gilmer and Wirt were the only counties to "fully make adequate yearly progress."

Schools must have at least 50 children in a subgroup - such as special education, low socio-economic or race - before being held accountable.

Most of West Virginia's public schools didn't have enough sub-group students to meet that threshold.