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Accountability for Public Schools

Thursday evening, parents, teachers and members of the community will have a chance to ask a panel of experts about the Springfield public school district's new accountability plan. Dr. Phyllis chase is the chief of staff for the district and served on the 2001 accountability task force. She says overall, Springfield public schools are doing well.

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Indeed, chase says even though the district as a whole is doing well, there are some children who continue to lag behind. She says these students tend to have a low socioeconomic status.

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In an effort to make sure all students succeed academically, the school district will implement an accountability plan. Under the standards of the plan, no school in the district meets the criteria for the highest category, outstanding. Each school must develop an improvement plan that will produce measurable results within three years. Chase says schools will be compared with similar schools in the district.

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Holding schools accountable for the success of its students has made some teachers nervous. But chase says it's not designed to create new reasons to fire teachers who don't meet the standards.

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The education forum on the district's accountability plan is tomorrow evening at 7. The forum is open to the public and will be broadcast live on cable channel 25. The program will be re-broadcast at 7 p-m this Friday and every evening next week Monday through Friday. During the forum, members of the public are invited to email questions to the panelists.