Cary, N.C. — While the Wake County school board cheered recent increases in student achievement at its meeting Tuesday evening, many Knightdale parents expressed concerns about their own children's education.
"I am so very disappointed in every one of you, for you have let my children down," said Robin Woodlief.
While the county as a whole saw steady academic gains at every grade level last school year, Woodlief said Knightdale has some of the lowest test scores in the county.
The average student proficiency score for elementary schools across Wake County is 82.1 percent. At Hodge Road Elementary School in Knightdale, that score is only 64.1 percent.
At Knightdale Elementary School, proficiency is at 69.7 percent.
Woodlief and Knightdale resident Jennifer Bryan said they are concerned about large class sizes and waning retention of talented teachers.
Bryan asked the school board to "show us that you care" by focusing more on Knightdale's schools.
Superintendent Tony Tata acknowledged that the concerns about student achievement in Knightdale are valid.
"We do need to do more," he said.
He pointed out that the district is already taking steps to bolster achievement in the town of about 12,000. Special grants were awarded to three Knightdale schools this year, a Junior ROTC program was launched at Knightdale High School and Forestville Road Elementary School ranks above the county average for student achievement.
Still, he said, there is room for improvement.
"They want excellent schools and they deserve excellent schools," Tata said. "It's our job to provide them."
Woodlief said she's holding Tata to that mission.
"Hold someone accountable for fixing this problem, and do it now," she told the board. "You owe it to these kids."