Parkade Elementary School Fails To Meet National Standards

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher said Thursday that Columbia schools saw improvement in MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) testing scores across the board this year. But the district still fell short of expectations in one school as, for the sixth straight year, Parkade Elementary School failed to meet the national proficiency goals.

"A lot of what you learn is based that you have a confidence that you can learn and that you have expectations that you're smart," said Belcher.

Belcher said "[Parkade is] in the middle of a lower income area. That makes the challenges greater and that's why I feel No Child Left Behind is so unfair. It targets schools to call them failing if they're in an environment that has less opportunity and support as your high income [areas]."

However, Parkade has seen improvement in test scores. Belcher said, "Parkade is not failing. It is improving tremendously, and it has the last three years. The scores are moving up. It went from zero subgroups qualifying last year to three qualifying this year."

Two groups--African-American and free and reduced lunch-eligible students--failed to meet standards at Parkade, but Belcher pointed out that the two groups overlap. 90 students that tested were African-American and more than two-thirds of those qualifying for free and reduced lunch were also black.