Politics & Government

Here are the ‘failing school’ letters that are now going to parents

This week I wrote about 28 school district superintendents who are refuting the idea that their schools are failing – something they are now being forced to tell parents under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Statewide, districts are now sending out letters informing parents their schools are not meeting progress goals, a consequence of Washington losing its waiver from the federal education law. In 2014, No Child Left Behind says that all students should be passing state math and reading tests.

Districts and high-poverty Title I schools that don’t meet that standard – a majority of those in the state – are sending out the unwelcome letters starting this week.

Here are sample versions of what those letters will look like, as provided by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. One is an example of a letter being sent on behalf of a school district, telling parents of the district’s failing status; the other is an example of a letter that might go out to parents of a student at a failing Title I school.

Under No Child Left Behind, Title I schools that aren’t meeting standards must offer parents the opportunity to send their child to a nearby, nonfailing school – if one is available (which is a big ‘if’).

Many of the underperfoming Title I schools also have to offer parents additional tutoring and academic help, known as Supplemental Educational Services (SES).

Those extra services are being offered the letters going home to parents in the coming days and weeks.

Example school in improvement letter:

Example district in improvement letter: