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Alexandria Superintendent Weighs In On No Child Left Behind

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The superintendent for Alexandria's public schools recognizes their need for improvement, but says success should be measured differently.
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The superintendent for Alexandria's public schools recognizes their need for improvement, but says success should be measured differently.

The City of Alexandria's public school system has failed to meet the No Child Left Behind standard of Adequate Yearly Progress every year since 2002, when the law was first enacted.

The school district's superintendent, Morton Sherman, says it's clear Alexandria needs to do better.

"Those who criticize us in Alexandria are right, we've not performed where we should be...on the other hand, the law kind of hides the glories of school divisions," he says.

Sherman, who's led the district since 2008, points to T.C. Williams High School, which was recently ranked as a failing school under the law's guidelines.

A group of T.C. Williams students recently topped counterparts from Fairfax's Thomas Jefferson High School in an academic competition known as Odyssey of the Mind.

"Our kids beat the number one high school in the state...and we have the number two science scholar in the country," Sherman says.

Science progress isn't measured by No Child Left Behind testing. Sherman says,in addition to math and reading, lawmakers rewriting the law also need to find a way to shine a spotlight on social studies, and even physical fitness.

"When I was growing up President Kennedy had something called the physical fitness awards," he says.

Sherman says his biggest fear is that lawmakers will latch on to the idea of a single, national test to measure academic progress.

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