BOZEMAN - Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau is rejecting the latest federal requirements for school testing.
Juneau said she wrote a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying she would not raise the state's target test scores to meet benchmarks for No Child Left Behind, the national education overhaul.
She told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that the current federal requirements are unrealistic for schools to meet while they also wait for new education standards from the Obama administration.
No Child Left Behind required Montana to increase its goals for grade-level competency from 83 percent of schools to 92 percent in reading and from 68 percent of schools to 84 percent in math. Last year, 84 percent of Montana schools met the reading standard, while 67 percent met the math standard.
No Child Left Behind requires states to have 100 percent of their schools testing at grade level in reading and math by 2014. But President Barack Obama has suggested loosening the strict national education standards.
"We need some alleviation of the strict across-the-board, one-size-fits-all, absolute bar of 100 percent proficiency on state assessments," Juneau wrote. "You understand that the unrealistic 100 percent goal undermines the work and morale of students and educators and the public's confidence in schools."
The No Child standards require every group of students to meet proficiency standards or the entire school is considered not to have made adequate yearly progress.
In addition, when schools fall behind, the state is supposed to provide extra services, which require money and labor the Office of Public Instruction doesn't have, Juneau said.