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Broward, Dade schools raise state grades, though some slip

Miami Herald - 7/8/2008 12:00:00 AM
by Nirvi Shah and Hannah Sampson

Fewer schools earned F's under the state's grading system in South Florida this year, but Miami's beleaguered Miami Edison Senior High returned to the failing grade despite hopes that it would rise to a C.

Overall, Broward was graded A by the state, up from B last year. Miami-Dade moved up to a B from C last year.

In Miami-Dade, there were 171 A schools and 13 F's -- about half as many as in 2007.

In Broward this year, 141 schools got A grades, about 20 more than last year. And there were fewer F schools -- six, compared to last year's 10. Of the six, four were charter schools.

''It's just extraordinary,'' Broward Schools Superintendent Jim Notter said. ``Like a father on the day of the daughter's wedding, like the birth of your first grandchild to see the absolutely phenomenal work that our people have done.''

Schools are graded in eight areas based on the reading, math, writing and science sections of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Schools that earn A's or improve their grade at least one letter get $100 for for each student enrolled. At F schools, the state and school district intervene with additional resources.

Statewide, 1,583 schools earned A's, 100 more than in 2007. There were 45 F schools across the state, 38 fewer than the previous year.

Under a different grading system, based on the federal No Child Left Behind law, schools are labeled as making or failing to make adequate progress. Under that law, specific groups of students, divided by race, disability, poverty level and ability to speak English have to perform well in math and reading.

In Broward and Miami-Dade, only about a third of schools made adequate progress.

The No Child Left Behind law measures 39 different aspects of a school.

The law comes with a specific set of penalties for schools that don't make progress. After two years, schools have to offer students the chance to go to another public school. After three, students at the school are eligible for free tutoring.

After five years, the school must undergo sharp changes if they have not met most of the criteria. At schools that have deficiencies only with a few groups of students, schools must come up with specific help just for those kids.

Find school grades and adequate progress reports at at http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org.