Memphis City School Board focuses on No Child Left Behind scores

Memphis School Leaders are well aware of a provision in the No Child Left Behind Act that lets them exclude yearly progress scores from students that come from small racial groups.

Memphis School Board Member Tomeka Hart says there's good reason for that.

Hart says, "In some schools if there are three of a group, those three are really not representative enough to be able to determine how the entire group will do."

In Tennessee, if a school has less than 45 students from a particular racial background those scores can be dropped.

Superintendent Carol Johnson thinks that's an acceptable number but might not go any higher.

Memphis City School superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson says, "We would be concerned that it would allow schools to leave out a sizeable population of a sub-group so that you would not know who was achieving and who might not be."

Bellevue Junior High in Memphis dropped scores from 20 Asian students, 12 Hispanics, 1 Native American and 4 white students.

Unlike many other districts, Memphis drops a lot of white student scores due to school make-up.

Johnson continues, "That probably works against us in terms AYP because not being able to count those students if they're making adequate yearly progress."

The Associated Press found East High dropped the scores of 20 white students, 6 Asians and 4 Hispanics.

According to the investigation the loophole stretches across state lines.

In Arkansas 42-percent...or just over 54-hundred of the state's more than 12-thousand hispanic students *tested* are not being counted separately.

About eight-percent of African-American students in Arkansas do not have their scores counted separately.

There are so few Asian-American and Native-American students that *none* of their scores are counted separately.

The same Associated Press Investigation found about 94-percent of the Hispanic students in Mississippi...

79-percent of the Asian-American students....

And 26-percent of the Native-American students did NOT have their individual test scores counted.