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English Tell High Schools: Improve or Close

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If you think NCLB is harsh, take a look at new English policies.

In its new "National Challenge," the Ministry of Education recently announced that it will shut down secondary schools that don't meet specific test-score targets. By 2011, the goal is for every school to have 30 percent of its student body passing tests in five subjects in the General Certificate of Secondary Education.

That may sound like an easy goal. (After all, states' high school exit exams assess subject matter that is less rigorous than what's expected of high school graduates.) But it's not. If the rules went into effect today, almost 20 percent of England's secondary schools would fail the challenge. Most would be closed and re-opened in the English version of a charter school.

You can read about the policies at the ministry's Web site.

HAT TIP ACROSS THE POND: Thanks to Darleen Opfer, an American teaching at the University of Cambridge. She tipped me off to the policies and helped me translate it into American eduspeak.

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