• 57°

Schools brace for bad grades

What letter grade does your child’s school deserve? You probably would take into account lots of things — quality of teaching, academic rigor, discipline and so on. You might even factor in extracurricular activities and how welcoming the staff is.

Brace yourself. The state is about to issue school performance grades next week that assign A-through-F letter grades to schools on very narrow criteria — 80 percent on passing rates and only 20 percent on how much students learn during a year, or “growth.” Considering how test scores fell across the state this past year, many schools are expected to receive poor marks.

That does not bode well for Rowan-Salisbury schools. The system’s test scores have lagged for several years, and this new accountability measure likely will hammer home that point. Just keep in mind that Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody and her team have adopted a new strategic plan and put digital devices in students’ hands. They’re working on helping students make big strides forward. But that takes time.

What has not taken much time is seeing the superficiality of this new accountability system. The General Assembly approved the plan as part of its overall approach to reforming schools, but it’s hard to see how it will help schools. The grades are meant to give parents moving into a community a snapshot of how local schools are performing. Based so heavily on raw test scores, the grades are more likely to reflect the family incomes of each school district than the actual quality of instruction, thus perpetuating the bias against low-wealth communities. Say a school receives a D. How will that help improve student performance or teaching? 

Rep. Craig Horn of Weddington, a leader of education and education budget committees, said on a recent taping of NC SPIN that he would support revising the grading formula to more of a 50-50 split between performance and growth. Here’s a prediction: More and more lawmakers will distance themselves from this idea as parents react following the release of the grades on Feb. 5.

The grades are likely to confuse some people, especially here in Rowan where the school board just revised the high school grading system to a 10-point scale. These school grades are different.

Perhaps it’s not fair to judge the new accountability grades until they come out, but this “reform” begs the same question as many other education ideas that have come out of Raleigh in recent years: Did legislators really intend to improve public schools, or do they just want to undermine them?

Comments

Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic

Crime

Man faces drug charges after breaking and entering call

Lifestyle

Waterworks schedules 2021 Summer ARTventures

Crime

Blotter: Man faces drug charges after being found passed out in vehicle

Ask Us

Ask Us: What programs exist for litter cleanup?

Business

County begins accepting restaurant grant applications

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with nine more felony sex offenses

Nation/World

Biden team readies wider economic package after virus relief

Nation/World

Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new solar wings

Nation/World

Cuomo sorry for remarks aide ‘misinterpreted’ as harassment

Nation/World

Trump calls for GOP unity, repeats lies about election loss

Education

Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators

Crime

Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police

Local

Commissioners will hear details about changes to solar energy policies

Business

After overcoming obstacles, local barber Daniel King earns registered status

Lifestyle

39th annual K12 student exhibitions go virtual

Business

Biz Roundup: Chamber of Commerce to host ‘Salute to Agri-Business’ at March Power in Partnership

Local

Local legislators back bills ranging from new restrictions on sex offenders to Holocaust education

News

After surviving COVID-19 scare, Lois Willard set to celebrate 100th birthday

High School

Carson rolls over South 41-0 as about 600 allowed in to see season opener for both

Education

East Spencer after-school program looks toward opening, nonprofit status

Lifestyle

Frank Ramsey inducted into the NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

College

Livingstone’s Stoutamire inducted into 2021 CIAA Hall of Fame

Nation/World

J&J’s 1-dose shot cleared, giving US 3rd COVID-19 vaccine