Local News

NAACP Supports Judge's Order To Improve Test Scores At Poor-Performing Schools

Posted March 20, 2006 8:56 a.m. EST

— A Wake County Superior Court judge's order to either improve test scores or close school doors is gaining support.

The North Carolina NAACP Monday pledged its full support this week for Judge Howard Manning Jr. who, in a written letter earlier this month, warned that if 19 of the state's poorly performing high schools don't start doing better, he'll order them closed unless the state makes sweeping changes, including replacing principals at the schools.

"We express our profound agreement with Judge Manning, and we understand that Judge Manning, in essence, is really not talking about closing the schools but opening up opportunity," said Dr. William Barber, the president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Barber says that the NAACP intends to push lawmakers and school boards to make changes and urge legislators and counties to fund projects to improve school performance. It also plans to request meetings with Gov. Mike Easley and members of the state Board of Education.

The NAACP points to Goldsboro High School -- one of the 19 schools on Manning's list -- where nearly every student is black. Test scores show the school is behind every other school in the county.

"The opportunity for education is the same there as it is at any of the other schools," said Wayne County Assistant Superintendent Dr. Craig McFadden. "If I didn't think so, I wouldn't have sent my son there."

Wayne County school leaders say overall test scores improved more than 20 percent in the last six years and Goldsboro High just needs more time.

"I think Judge Manning is failing to look at where the school was several years ago and what kind of progress the school has made," McFadden said.

But Barber, who is from Goldsboro, and others say that's not enough and that "if there is a need for us to protest in the streets, as well as lobby in the suites, we are prepared to do that," Barber said.