Test scores dent arguments of Wake school critics

STAFF WRITERAugust 7, 2009 

Guilford County Schools' Mission Possible program is often cited by school board critics in Wake County who argue that intensive funding is a better way than busing to help high-poverty schools.

Well, the newly released state ABCs test results may put a dent in that idea. Guilford County has 10 of the state's 75 low-performing schools this year, meaning the school's passing rate was under 50 percent and it didn't meet growth expectations.

Of the 10 low-performing Guilford County schools, nine are in the Mission Possible program. The passing rate was as low as 29.7 percent at one of the Mission Possible schools - Oak Hill Elementary.

Keep in mind these passing rates are under 50 percent even though the state required schools to provide retests this year for math, reading and science in elementary and middle schools. Who knows how much worse the scores might have been if not for the inclusion of the retests.

While Guilford County Schools touts having 10 Honors Schools of Excellence (90 percent passing rate and making growth) on a district press release, no mention is made of the low-performing schools.

In contrast, no one in the Wake school system is classified by the state as low performing this year.

For those who aren't familiar with Guilford's Mission Possible program, it involves providing teachers additional pay to work in high-poverty schools. It's largely been funded out of federal grants.

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