Updated to include state Rep. Tricia Cotham’s tweet praising Burns for defending Lynn Road Elementary and Burns’ longer comments on his Facebook page.
Wake County Commissioner John Burns gave a strident defense of his child’s school, Lynn Road Elementary in Raleigh, after it received a D this week on the state’s new school performance grades.
Burns tweeted Friday that the state’s new A through F grading system “fails schools” like Lynn Road, where his three children have attended for the past nine years and he’s been a longtime volunteer. He said that people have to visit schools like Lynn Road to “to see what's really there.”
Burns, a Democrat, also took to task Senate leader Phil Berger and Gov. Pat McCrory after both Republicans praised the grades on Thursday.
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In a statement Thursday, Berger said “public school grades will increase transparency, encourage support and reform for struggling schools.” McCrory, in his statement Thursday, said the grades provide “a positive first step” toward providing “a clear measure” of “our students’ achievement.”
Burns’ tweets drew praise from state Rep. Tricia Cotham, a Democrat from Mecklenburg County. Many of her tweets since Thursday have been critical of the new grading system.
“Kudos to @johnburnsnc for his support of his kids school. More than just a letter grade,” Cotham tweeted.
Burns elaborated on his criticism of the letter grades on his Facebook page.
“As a parent of a child at a school that this alleged accountability program judges to be failing, let me say that nobody who actually ENTERED Lynn Road Elementary and saw the teachers and students on a daily basis would ever consider that school not to be making progress,” Burns writes. “A highly diverse student body of many language groups, highly impacted by poverty, with a very high percentage of families who are only in the school zone temporarily has been the school where my own children have thrived. All three of them. God bless the teachers, staff, and parents of Lynn Road Elementary PTA.
This is nothing more than an attack on public schools that fails to acknowledge the challenges of poverty, of population changes, and of the impact of charter and private schools on student populations. It is a program designed to project an image of failure despite actual success, and I find it appalling. Governor McCrory - do you want to help schools succeed? Don't tell them they're failing, give them the resources to succeed.”