The 2011 state report card for the federal “No Child Let Behind” guidelines identifies 415 schools and 30 districts that are in need of assistance for failing to meet benchmarks set by local administrators.

That’s several dozen more than last year, and Iowa Department of Education Director, Jason Glass, says while he’s concerned about the designation it’s not unexpected.

“If the goal is just to rank, blame and shame schools we have that model down under No Child Left Behind. If our goal is really want to find schools that are legitimately in need of improvement and help them get better than we need to come up with a different system,” Glass says.

Glass says not only does the program shame schools, it makes it hard for them to change. He says the program is fundamentally flawed because it ratchets up student achievement goals every year. Glass says while the number of failed schools increased, that doesn’t tell the whole story.

“We embrace accountability. But the accountability should be fair, should be intelligent and the sanctions and the supports applied should drive us toward better outcomes for kids. Not toward blaming and shaming schools and educators,” Glass said. A districts that continually fail to meet benchmarks can be forced to replace it’s principal or even close down.

Glass says closing or privatizing the only school in a small town would be difficult. He says he plans to ask the federal government for a waiver from “No Child Left Behind” if congress does not repeal or amend the law.