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Plan 2020 new alternative to No Child Left Behind

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Educators feel Plan 2020 will be better for students that No Child Left Behind. Educators feel Plan 2020 will be better for students that No Child Left Behind.
MADISON, AL (WAFF) -

Alabama state education leaders met Thursday to talk about an alternative to the program, No Child Left Behind. They want something that would be fairer to students, teachers, and schools and more beneficial to students with special needs.

Maria Kilgore, director of special education with Madison City Schools, said the standards for No Child Left Behind, when it came to children with learning disabilities, were unrealistic.

Plan 2020 will allow teachers to work with students on an individual basis and work with them to reach their academic goals, expose them to various jobs by having field trips or guest speakers, and get them ready for college.

With No Child Left Behind, students were grouped and tested to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress report (AYP) standards.

All schools would have had to have a 100 percent proficiency rate by 2014.

Kilgore said in special education, kids with an IQ below 70 or 55, would have a hard time meeting grade level standards.

With plan 2020, she said teachers would be able to better assess what a student can handle, and tailor a plan to challenge that child as much as possible.

She said when a school doesn't pass AYP, it's almost like telling the child they've failed when educators know they see progress.

"2020 is going to give us a better model because we're not going to be tied into a level of AYP, AYP, AYP. We're going to say, this is where the child was working and this is where they're working now and we have seen progress," said Kilgore.

Bob Jones met AYP standards when it came to special education.

Kilgore said that was with a lot of hard work and it's unrealistic to think that would happen every year.

Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler said that Plan 2020 focuses on the child's growth opposed to looking at the child in a group setting.

Fowler said because all students learn differently, it is hard to assess them on the same level.

And with No Child Left Behind, these groups of students are expected to reach certain benchmarks set by the federal government.

"If a child under No Child Left Behind made the bench mark, then we're through. And at times, we felt that leveled kids. That was a ceiling for kids. But with Plan 2020, there are greater expectations, even for our higher achieving children."

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