GA To Exclude Katrina Students’ Scores

Kate Brumback, AP, June 9, 2006

ATLANTA—Georgia schools will not have to count test scores from thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in their progress reports this year, the state’s top education official said.

Instead, federal officials have granted the state’s request to list the evacuees’ results in a separate category, said state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox said.

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The standardized tests are part of the federal No Child Left Behind law, which mandates reading and math proficiency for all public school students by 2014. Schools receiving federal poverty aid must demonstrate annually that students in all racial categories are progressing or risk penalties that include extending the school year, changing curriculum or firing administrators and teachers.

Texas and Tennessee are also counting evacuee test scores in a separate category this year.

Louisiana education officials expect that many student displaced by last August’s hurricane and flooding will not perform well on standardized tests in other states, said Meg Casper, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Education.

Many evacuees were from New Orleans, which had Louisiana’s lowest performing schools before Katrina.

“We’re not surprised that they’re struggling in the states where they’ve been displaced to because they were struggling in Louisiana,” Casper said Friday.

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