July 18-- None of the schools in the Vidalia City School System made the federally-mandated "Adequate Yearly Progress" standards this year. However, the Vidalia school board says it's not the teachers' fault and it is proud of the progress that was made compared to last year.
School Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith says the continually increasing benchmarks in the No Child Left Behind law are unrealistic.
"They're raising the bar every year or every other year. By 2014, everybody is going to graduate and everybody is going to be on grade level, according to the feds. That's not realistic. Back in 2001, in order for the state of Georgia to meet the No Child Left Behind mandate of having every child be on grade level by 2014, they set rates that increased all along the way. In order for it to be 100 percent by 2014, it's pushing 80 percent right now," he says.
At the same time, Dr. Smith says academic progress is being made in all student body sub-groups.
"The good news is that even with our population shift and with all of the raising of the bar for the last few years, overall our kids are doing well and I'm proud of them and proud of the teachers who are teaching them. We saw overall and individual sub-groups improve from last year to this year. This in spite of the fact we're teaching less days and we're teaching a lot of students who are very difficult to teach and our achievement is increasing from year to year. That tells me our teachers are doing a fabulous job," Smith said.
This is the second year in a row Vidalia High School has not made AYP. It's the first time in seven years that J.R. Trippe Middle has not made it and it's the first time in three years that Sally Meadows Elementary didn't make it.