Monday, June 24, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
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The one (smart) adult in the ABSS room


We’re a bit behind in giving a word of thanks, and encouragement, to the one ABSS bureaucrat who appears to be at least trying to focus on the need to improve academic achievement across the school system.

Chief academic officer Revonda Johnson recently reported to the school board that ABSS is just “one school away” from being on the state’s list of low-performing school systems across the state.

That’s certainly not an “honor roll” that any school system should want to be on.

We thank and congratulate her, especially in view of the fact that she gave her somber report in the midst of attempts that same night at vapid “happy talk” about how well things are going, and improvements of which he was so proud, from school superintendent Dr. Dain Butler.

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Who does he think he’s kidding?

It was difficult to know whether Butler had actually looked at or studied the raft of figures on which Johnson relied to paint the more realistic portrait of the dire academic results that caused 17 of the school system’s 35 schools to receive Ds and Fs on the state’s annual “report card” about academic achievement.

We’re not sure whether Butler’s hollow, self-congratulatory words were better or worse than the almost total silence from school board members that followed Johnson’s report.

Most of the members sat, stoically, like bumps on a log, neither acknowledging the extent of the current low performance nor contemplating the steep climb that will be necessary to improve on it in the future.

Three members – board chairman Sandy Ellington-Graves, Donna Westbrooks, and Dan Ingle – at least showed they were awake and paying some attention, even though their comments were fairly innocuous or mundane.

But the board’s other three members – board vice chairman Ryan Bowden, Chuck Marsh, and Dr. Charles Parker – might as well have had their eyes closed and been asleep, inasmuch as they didn’t acknowledge the poor performance or offer any suggestions or comments whatsoever.

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