Three Wiregrass-area schools have been labeled as “failing” by state officials, as required by law, according to a Friday report from the Alabama Department of Education.

Barbour County’s intermediate and high schools and Dothan City Schools’ Girard Elementary (now Girard Primary) join 71 other schools in 28 districts and one charter school that made the list.

Last year, two schools made the list with Barbour County High School and Dothan City’s Honeysuckle Middle School based on achievement scores from the 2017-18 school year.

The Alabama Accountability Act, passed in 2013, requires the bottom 6% of schools, as measured by the percentage of students who are proficient on the standardized test taken the previous spring, to be labeled as “failing.”

This component of the AAA has come under criticism by education leaders concerned that no matter how much a school improves, there will always be a bottom 6% no matter how high student scores average.

Under the law, students who are zoned for “failing” schools must be permitted four options for the following school year:

» Transfer to another in-district non-failing school. (Transportation must be provided.)

» Transfer to a neighboring public school district (if it accepts).

» Enrollment in a private or home school.

» Staying at the “failing” school.

This list differs in part from schools that earned F’s on the 2019 education report card. The report card is based on multiple factors, while the “failing” schools list is based solely on the achievement test.

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