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Today @NCCapitol (Feb. 5): Will school grades make the mark?

Posted February 5, 2015

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Thursday, Feb. 5. Here's what's going on around state government. 

Making the Grade: The state Department of Public Instruction will release the first A-through-F grades for all public schools at about 11 a.m.

Those grades are meant to give parents and administrators an at-a-glance reference to see whether a school is doing its job. 

The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 4, 2015) The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 4, 2015) But many school officials say the new grades won't accurately reflect the work they do with struggling students. That's because the formula used to determine the grades relies heavily on test scores and minimizes the input of student growth – a measure of how much a student learns during the year. Schools with a higher percentage of students from low-income families are likely to struggle on the new scale. 

The State Board of Education is meeting in the morning and expects to discuss the new grades at 11 a.m. At the same time, school officials say a new website reporting the grades should go live. Superintendent June Atkinson is scheduled to speak with reporters after the meeting. 

At least one senator says the grading system ought to change. 

Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, filed Senate Bill 30 on Wednesday, which would make student growth count towards 60 percent of a school's overall grade. 

"We should measure what we value," Stein said. "The most important thing a school can do is to educate students. By increasing the weight on student growth, we will better know whether schools are teaching our students information over the course the year." 

Schools that help struggling students meet or exceed learning goals should get more credit, he said. 

ICYMI: Gov. Pat McCrory gave the State of the State address Wednesday, floating ideas for $2.4 billion in borrowing to pay for roads and state buildings and hinting at a plan that would allow North Carolina to draw down federal Affordable Care Act money to cover those without health insurance. 

In the House: The state House is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. Members are expected to debate a proposed constitutional amendment to limit government's ability to take private property by eminent domain

In the Senate: The Senate floor session is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. There are no bills on its calendar, and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said no votes would be taken.

13 Comments

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  • notexactly Feb 5, 2015

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    Ok good point! Then what keeps those students in poverty from learning? How will throwing more money at the problem help? I am fine with more money for books and materials and teachers. But no amount of money in the world will make a child that don't want to learn, learn. It starts in the home. There are millions of people that came from poverty that are doing very well. The difference is they wanted to. Every school has a guideline to go by and teach. They are the same. So the answer is not the amount spent per child. Its the child wanting to learn something and the parents making sure they do. I agree more money needs to go toward materials and books. But it wont help if the children and parents don't so their part. Using poverty as an excuse is bogus. more playing the victim game. School is free, what you get out of it is own you

  • notexactly Feb 5, 2015

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    That's not a bad idea at all!

  • juliomercado Feb 5, 2015

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    How short sighted and uninformed must one be to automatically equate test scores with teachers' salaries? Fascinating!

  • juliomercado Feb 5, 2015

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    SHHHHH! Don't confuse arm chair experts with facts! It causes migraines and harst retorts on the WRAL site.

  • Todd Jenkins Feb 5, 2015
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    The company should be fired for such a horrible website.

  • Olenc Native Feb 5, 2015
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    OMG, this new website is so hard to navigate!

  • Olenc Native Feb 5, 2015
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    I suggest you take a look at the grades when they come out. Schools from affluent areas like Cary, Chapel Hill, North Raleigh, Asheville, will do very well.

    Schools from the poorest areas like Halifax County, Northampton County will do the worst.

    Once you see that it's absolutely correct to say that "Poverty = low rates of student success" maybe you will consider changing your views.

  • Terry Watts Feb 5, 2015
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    Interestingly enough, research shows that income level of a family plays in important role in the education of the children in those families. Here is one such study:
    http://knowledgecenter.csg.org/kc/content/impact-child-poverty-educational-success

  • Terry Watts Feb 5, 2015
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    "money making scheme at the expense of the children of NC"

    So you don't support the low-performing, for-profit, tax-payer funded, on-line Charter Schools being introduced into NC, like K12 Inc.???

    That's cool!

  • Olenc Native Feb 5, 2015
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    When you look at test scores, Hispanic students (or Central America, as you called it) score higher than Black American students.

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