A list of 75 “failing” schools in Alabama includes 22 schools in the Birmingham metro area – 14 Birmingham city schools, two in the Jefferson County school system, and two each in Bessemer, Fairfield and Midfield.
Based on 2017 test results in math and reading on the ACT Aspire standardized tests, failing schools are defined as those with students scoring in the lowest 6 percent of state schools. The failing designation and definition is defined by the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 that was modified in 2015 to exclude schools that serve special populations of students with disabilities.
The Alabama State Department of Education posted the list of failing schools, 75 out of Alabama’s 1,325 public schools, online Jan. 24.
The Birmingham City School system has the most schools on the state list with 14, up one from 2017 results. BCS schools on the 2018 failing list are: Barrett Elementary, Charles A. Brown Elementary, George Washington Carver High School, Hayes K-8, Hemphill Elementary, Hudson K-8, Huffman High School Magnet, Jackson-Olin High School, Parker High School, Smith Middle School, Washington Elementary School, Jones Valley Middle School, Wenonah High School and Woodlawn High School Magnet.
Jefferson County’s two schools on the failing list are Center Point and Minor high schools. The county school system’s improved results in 2017 saw three Jefferson County high schools – McAdory, Pleasant Grove and Pinson Valley High School – move off the failing list.
Among other metro Birmingham-area school systems, Fairfield High Preparatory School and Robinson Elementary were on the failing list for Fairfield City Schools. Bessemer City High School and Abrams Elementary are listed as failing among Bessemer City Schools. In Midfield, Midfield High School and Rutledge School are on the failing list.
On the 2017 list, only the high schools in Fairfield, Bessemer and Midfield were listed as failing.
Birmingham City schools with improved scores that moved off the state failing list for 2018 are Arrington Middle School and South Hampton K-8. New to the state failing list from the 2017 report are Barrett Elementary, Hudson K-8 and Charles A. Brown Elementary School.
Future state school progress reports and failing school lists will not center on the ACT Aspire standardized tests; the state school board ended the contract with ACT Aspire in June. Since 2014, ACT Aspire has been the standard annual reading and math test given to Alabama students in third through eighth grade and to 10th-graders in Alabama. Students in fifth, seventh and 10th grades are also tested in science in the ACT program. The state board has not decided on a replacement for ACT Aspire.
The Alabama Accountability Act that set standards for naming schools to the failing list allows students the option of transferring out of a failing school to a non-failing public or a non-public school.
The act also allows low-income parents to apply for tax credits to offset the cost of transferring their child from a failing school to another public or private and some options for tax credit scholarships.