Editorial: Same story in schools can’t continue
Open houses are scheduled this week in Vance County Schools. Parents should be flooding the campuses and peppering every school leader with questions, demanding answers.
Financing public education is a subject of great debate and certainly influences what happens within schools. There’s truth in saying we’ll get what we pay for, but lately that’s not been much. Given the coming financing and our inability to escape the graduation rankings’ cellar, better plans are needed from both our school board and school system leadership.
The latest graduation rate is measured for four years. It began measurement before budgetary spending on education became wrapped into Monday protests and before the competition level increased from a rising number of charter schools.
Vance County public school students reaped close to $2 million in scholarships this past year. But 208 students, freshmen in the fall of 2009, didn’t even get a diploma in June. A valid question to ask is about the education of those in the middle of the spectrum, and we fear the true answer.
Vance County’s total of students not graduating within four years is 384 in the last two years, 1,096 in the last five and 2,062 in the last eight.
In a recent joint meeting of the county commissioners and the school board, the report was brought up by the superintendent to inform all the elected officials. Granted, 46 students at Northern questionably held too long in an introduction program potentially impacted the rate. But at best, Vance still would have only graduated 72.6 percent compared to a state average of 82.5 percent. Eleven school systems were at 90 percent or better.
A school board member said if not for that decision on the 46 the report wouldn’t have been that bad. That’s not a proper response. It insults all students.
Yes, 72.6 percent is better than 64.9 percent. But both are unsatisfactory and cry out for help and change.
Parents should be engaging in their children’s educational process at home and in their respective school. And they should be engaging with the board and the system’s top administration. All are pivotal to erasing this disturbing trend.
Open houses are a good time to ask questions. And we’re well past time to ask for something better for our children.