The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 aims to bring all students up to the proficient level on state tests and to hold states and schools more accountable for results. NCLB requires all districts and schools receiving Title I funds to meet goals for their total student populations and for specified demographic subgroups, including major ethnic/racial groups, economically disadvantaged students, limited English proficient (LEP) students, and students with disabilities.
For the 2013-14 school year, the State of Texas secured a conditional waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for specific provisions of NCLB. Under the provisions of Texas Education Code (TEC), Chapter 39, the state utilized data from the 2013 Accountability System to designate two categories of low performing schools (Priority and Focus).
Five percent of Title I schools in the state were designated as Priority schools. These schools include a combination of Tier I and II Texas Title I Priority Schools (TTIPS); Title I schools with graduation rates below 60 percent; and the lowest-performing Title I schools based on achievement results on reading/math safeguards at the All Student level.
Ten percent of Title I schools in the state – not otherwise designated as a Priority school – were designated as Focus schools. These schools include campuses with the widest gaps between reading/math performance of the federal student groups and safeguard targets of 75 percent.
To exit Priority or Focus status, a school must make significant progress for two consecutive years following interventions and no longer fit the criteria to be identified as a Priority or Focus school.