NC schools achievement gap is growing

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Despite the improvement of reading scores of fourth graders in North Carolina, there has been a disturbing trend among achievement test scores in general: lower income students are falling behind the more affluent students. This is following a law that Phil Berger, president pro term of the State Senate, recently pushed requiring that students be reading at grade level by the end of third grade or risk being held back.

From the News & Observer, 

Berger’s punitive approach to reading skills also might not show long-term benefits. But certainly, he and his fellow Republican lawmakers need to take public schools out of the bull’s-eye (vouchers, more charter schools, targeting teacher assistants) and put them on the priority list. A school system in which the poor get poorer forecasts a decline in public educational opportunities for those who can most benefit from them. The senator ought to be pushing for more investment in public schools and more focus on helping low-income students get help that will push them higher in their achievement, fulfilling the noble promiseof public education to give all students opportunity.



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  1. Lisa Finch's avatar
    Lisa Finch
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    The vouchers and charter schools are taking more students of concerned parents out of the regular public schools. This leaves those students who are usually poorer and have less parental support to represent the public schools in scores and growth. This means that the public schools need an even smaller ratio of teacher/assistant to student in order to give them the individual attention they need. A teacher in Kindergarten or first grade cannot meets the needs of even 12 students alone. She needs the help of an assistant in order to do individual state-mandated testing, required small group meetings, and intervention activities. Also, additional personnel are needed in lower grades to assist with the special needs of younger children--bathroom, changing clothes, zipping coats, tying shoes, opening milk, sharpening pencils, etc.
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