Two Region 8 School Districts Given Ultimatum on Test Scores

LITTLE ROCK, AR - State education officials say corrective action will be taken if 18 Arkansas school districts, including two in Region 8, don't meet student achievement goals on state tests.  School districts nationwide must meet certain goals under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, signed by President Bush in 2002.

In Arkansas, education officials say the problem with the 18 districts mostly involve having an insufficient number of black, poor or disabled students performing at proficient levels on state exams last spring.

The two districts in Region 8 include Cross County and Osceola.  Others include Brinkley, Clarendon, Dollarway, Fort Smith, Hampton, Little Rock, McGehee, Mineral Springs, Pine Bluff, Pulaski County, Smackover, Strong-Huttig and Texarkana.

If the goal isn't met, the districts will have to take certain steps in 2007-2008, including developing improvement plans and using federal money for teacher-draining programs.  If the problem persists for years, the schools can be closed.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)