In the first such list published in Minnesota, the state identified 259 schools as underperforming. Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke credited the lower-than-expected number to a "huge gain in academics."
The increased focus on standardized tests has re-opened a long-running debate over the value of job-oriented vocational education. Faced with pressure to boost academic performance, some school administrators have cut back or shut down vocational programs.
The state's Education Department requires teachers and administrators to attend training sessions on how to spot the early signs of potentially violent behavior. The department also publishes a manual for developing a school safety plan.
The No Child Left Behind Act mandates that students be allowed to transfer if their schools have been deemed "persistently dangerous." Yet, some critics say California's narrow definition of dangerous will prevent many students from taking advantage of the provision.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving the city's public schools $13.6 million over the next four years to help upgrade some of the city's underperforming high schools. Part of the funds will be used to establish schools-within-schools to focus on specialties.