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Fewer Louisiana public schools failing

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The list of public schools deemed failing in Louisiana’s accountability system shrank by four this year, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Education.

The information showed 12 schools improved enough to drop the ‘‘academically unacceptable’’ label in the just-ended 2009-10 school year, while eight schools moved into failing status and picked up the label.

‘‘Over the last several years, the number of schools that failed to meet the minimum standard has declined significantly, indicating that local districts and schools are adopting and effectively implementing school turnaround strategies,’’ Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek said in a statement.

Of more than 1,300 public schools statewide, 48 schools scored below the worst score considered marginally acceptable, with fewer than 60 out of 150 points.

The education department said a school reaching the performance score of 60 points still has about 61 percent of its students performing below grade level.

Twenty-six of the schools — mainly in the New Orleans area — already have been taken over by the state and are run through the Recovery School District because of poor performance. Most of the remaining schools are in the Baton Rouge and Shreveport areas: five in East Baton Rouge Parish and 11 in Caddo Parish. Others are in St. Landry and Lafayette parishes. The Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired and the Louisiana School for the Deaf also are on the list.

Schools considered academically unacceptable for four years or more are eligible for takeover. They could be reopened as charter schools overseen by the RSD, run directly by the RSD or continue to operate under the control of the local school district but with a detailed plan for improvement under the oversight of the education department.

Education officials warn the number of schools deemed failing likely will jump next year, because the minimum score will rise to 65 in the 2010-11 school year and 75 a year later.

Alternative schools are not scored with the same performance scores and, therefore, were not included in the list released by the education department.

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