In this edition, we have additional in-depth coverage about the performance grades given by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to all public schools, specifically with regard to the Alamance-Burlington School System.
In what we thought was bad enough news – covered in the September 7 edition and commented on in the September 14 edition on this page – almost half of the county’s schools got Ds and Fs on their annual “report cards” from DPI.
But a little deeper dive into the massive DPI report indicates that these low scores are not mere anomalies. But, very unfortunately, the scores are part of a fairly consistent pattern of low scores.
In fact, DPI had determined that 15 of the 17 ABSS schools that got Ds and Fs for the 2022-2023 school year are what is considered the lowest performing schools: i.e., “recurring low performing schools.”
Recurring! By that terminology, DPI defines that the schools have consistently – for at least two of the past three years – received Ds and Fs on their annual grades from the state education agency.
Over half of all elementary students at a dozen elementary schools aren’t reading at their grade level. Math scores are almost as bad: only two schools (Pleasant Grove and Sylvan) have half doing math at grade level. And only four schools (Alamance Virtual, Pleasant Grove, South Graham, and Sylvan) have as many as half performing at grade level in science.
In the three low-performing middle schools – Broadview, Graham, and Turrentine, all of which received grades of “F” (this year and last) – students were well below their expected performance levels in reading and math, and not much better in science, all performing at under 50 percent.
Parents at these 17 schools will soon be receiving letters from the school system – a requirement of state law – letting them know, firsthand, how poor the grades were.
Supposedly, they’ll be some discussion of what each school intends to do to improve student outcomes. (Although we regret to say, previous “intentions” haven’t panned out very favorably.)
We’re sure ABSS will try to sugarcoat the results, but there simply is no good “spin” that can be put on these grades.
Concerned parents at these, and all other, ABSS schools should be demanding more accountability and a greater focus on academic achievement.
All the “happy talk” about how hard everyone is working doesn’t compensate for the stark results, which are clearly labeled by the state: consistently low performing.