NC schools achievement gap is growing
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.
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.