Palm Beach, FL: Reading performances "worsen significantly"

July 28, 2017, Palm Beach Post (FL): A record number of PBC elementary schools are on Florida’s “Low 300” list A record number of Palm Beach County schools have fallen onto the state’s list of the 300 elementary schools with the lowest reading scores in Florida, meaning more than $2 million in extra costs for the county’s public schools as educators extend the school day on more campuses. The number of county public schools on Florida’s “Low 300” jumped from 20 last year to 29 this year even though reading scores improved overall countywide. The schools on this year’s list include 27 school district-operated schools and two charter schools. … Last year a school district study found that in the program’s first three years, extended-day schools in most cases showed little or no significant progress, raising questions about the effectiveness of the extra reading time. … Many elementary schools saw their students’ performance worsen significantly, including 16 schools that fell onto this year’s Low 300 list after not being on it last year. Eight district-operated schools on last year’s Low 300 list improved slightly but not enough to move off the list this year. Three district-operated schools that had been on last year’s list performed worse despite the extended school day: Barton Elementary, Rolling Green Elementary, and Belle Glade Elementary. … The Legislature implemented the extended-day rule in 2012 in an attempt to guarantee that students in schools with the biggest reading challenges would receive more reading instruction. Initially set up for the 100 lowest-performing elementary schools, it was expanded for the 2014-15 school year to the bottom 300 schools. The program has been criticized by some educators as costly and ineffective.