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House votes to remove “failing school” label

The bottom six percent of schools would instead be called just what they are, “the lowest six percent.”

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Under the 2013 Accountability Act, the bottom six percent of schools have been defined as “failing schools.”

The Alabama House of Representatives voted in a bipartisan fashion 103-0 to change that label from “failing school” to “lowest sixth percent school.”

Dr. Eric Mackey, superintendent of Alabama’s Department of Education, said Thursday that the failing schools label was meant to humiliate schools.

“It was designed to humiliate schools and to cause frustration and problems in high-poverty communities so it can be used as an excuse to fund scholarships,” Mackey said.

Rep. AJ McCampbell, D-Gallion, who sponsored the bill, said it gives the Alabama Legislature “an opportunity to give a positive spin in terms of actually growing business in Alabama.”

“Failing school is a defeatist term,” McCampbell said.

Under the old label, the bottom six percent would be seen as failing regardless of the benchmarks that are met. If approved by the Senate, the new label would directly communicate the reality of the distinction, that the school is in the bottom sixth percent in the state when it comes to test scores.

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Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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