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Mixed Picture For Virginia Schools

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By Michael Pope

Standardized test scores released today show 40 percent of schools in Virginia failed to meet standards under the federal law No Child Left Behind. Fairfax County was one of the few school districts in Virginia that made what's called "adequate yearly progress" in English and math.

Alexandria and Arlington did not.

Richard Moniuszko, with Fairfax County Public Schools, says one reason for the county's success is a computer software program that continually monitors the progress of each student.

"The software is an important tool, but it's the teachers working together, you know, in terms of determining what the students know and don't know and then working with the kids until they get it," he says.

In Virginia, 132 schools will face sanctions for failing to meet academic goals in standardized test results released today by the Virginia Department of Education.

One of those schools is Mount Vernon Community School in Alexandria, where Superintendent Morton Sherman must now send a letter to parents informing them they'll be able to opt-out of the struggling school and send their children somewhere else.

"On a theoretical level, I understand offering parents choice. On a practical level, that's not how school improvement takes place," says Sherman.

Educators say they expect more schools to face sanctions next year as the academic goals continue to rise each year until 2014, when all students are expected to meet minimum standards.

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