My Turn: Clock is ticking for schools

Published 12:13 am Monday, September 28, 2015

By Karen C. Lilly-Bowyer

It’s the end of football season and the team lost 60 percent of their games.  The coach says, “Wait until next year!” Look around as we all “roll our eyes.”  Now, what happens if the coach says, “Wait three years or wait five years.”   The football coach is looking for a new job!

The superintendent of the Rowan Salisbury Schools just told us to wait for three or possibly five years and then our academic scores will improve. When the digital conversion was presented, we were told how great the conversion was for the Mooresville Graded School System. Did Dr. Moody know that the Mooresville system scores’ dropped for several years in a row after their digital conversion?  That question was asked in spring 2014, at the Chamber of Commerce event when Dr. Moody presented her new strategic plan. At the time she didn’t want to talk about that problem.  Dr. Moody dropped hints in the spring of 2015 about the possible drop in system test scores.  Now that last year’s test scores are public information, we hear that it could be three to five years before we see a significant improvement! With less than 40 percent of our students on grade level, what does that mean for the students who are currently enrolled in our public schools?

Dr. Moody stated that poverty and the attrition of our student base were our major problems. How many students came back to the public schools from private schools because of our great new digital conversion? I doubt that there were very many, if any. How many parents will take their children out of private school knowing that Dr. Moody does not expect RSS scores to improve for three to five years? How will waiting help the students in poverty?

What does all this mean for our RSS students? Teachers will tell you that a child who has poor math instruction for two years in a row never catches up; educational research agrees.  The same is true for reading. What about students who are in the ninth grade? How can we expect them to be prepared for college or the job market in three years?

In reference to the very low school grades that RSS received (19 of 35 had Cs, Ds or Fs), Dr. Moody was quoted as saying, “That’s a 30-second bite, and if you don’t understand what’s behind that C or D or F, I think it’s an injustice.” I guess she means we are not smart enough to understand why the schools received such low grades.  Well, it’s not too difficult to read the results provided by the NC Department of Public Instruction( ). When all EOC and EOG subjects are combined, only 32.7 percent of the RSS students are on grade level. I believe we can all understand what that means.

The students of RSS don’t have time to wait for Dr. Moody’s strategic plan to evolve. Our students need high quality instruction right now!


Karen C. Lilly-Bowyer lives in Salisbury.

My Turn submissions should be 500-700 words. Send to with “My Turn” in the subject line.