SOUTH BEND — The state has threatened to take over at Washington High School unless student achievement improves. The school hasn't met state standards for ISTEP in four years, and a bad review from a consulting firm gives the high school a "poor" rating. Still, teachers at Washington say they are getting a bad rap and they won't sit quiet anymore. Tuesday was a normal day for students at Washington, but it doesn't mean they weren’t worried about the future of their school. "It was a big issue and everyone in school was talking about it,” said senior Grant Miezgodski. “Everyone knew what was going on and they were angry about it. In early March, state education officials announced Washington was on a list of three South Bend schools that could see a state takeover if school performance didn't improve. The school's ISTEP scores are well below the state average. In the 2008 through 2009 school year, only 43 percent of students passed the test compared to the state average of 73 percent. Cambridge Education, a consulting group hired by the state, submitted a report in March that listed Washington and 20 other schools in the state with an overall rating of "poor." That has teachers at Washington fuming. "I'm not a failure, my students aren't failures. We all work really hard to do the best job we can," said English teacher Tim Pletcher. Teachers say judging the school based on ISTEP tests is not fair, since most of the students who arrive at Washington are already struggling. "This year's group of incoming ninth-graders, we were told that 82 percent have failed ISTEP,” said English teacher Marjorie Lashley. “So coming this year only 17 percent have passed, but we will again welcome these students in our doors.” Teachers say they are doing their best to work with students who need extra help. They brought a laundry list of examples of mentoring programs with them Tuesday. And they say they are working, but their students are different than other schools in the state. Teachers say the students at Washington have unique challenges. "We are dealing with a different clientele. They [the other schools in the state] are working with different tools than we are," said biology teacher Kasi Bolden. "We are helping these students, we are keeping many from falling through the cracks," said social studies teacher Karen Patterson. The teachers say the state should measure the schools progress by individual student growth over time, rather than using ISTEP scores which they say are only a snapshot of a much bigger picture. When asked about the Cambridge report, the teachers said the evaluators came in for a little more than one day. They say you can't give an accurate rating that way. The teachers said over $3 million in scholarships were given to their students last year alone, and that 83 percent of seniors are passing the ISTEP tests. "How can we fail when we are graduating 83 percent, which is over the state average and higher than anyone else in the corporation?" said Patterson. The teachers say they have submitted a plan to improve achievement to the central office, and they have not received any feedback. They say they are willing to make changes, and are already making changes, but they need that feedback.