Credit the Wake County school board for listening. And acting. High school principals and parents have long sought more attention for the faltering schools in the eastern part of Wake County, where populations are smaller and schools with high concentrations of low-income students tend to perform less successfully than others in the county.
The East Wake Education Work Group has now met and hopes by summer to have a plan for improving student performance in schools in Wendell and Zebulon. On state exams, elementary schools in the region score 14 points below the Wake County average, and high schools 27 points below the county’s mark.
Schools in the area tend to be high poverty, something that tends to correlate with lower scores no matter where schools are. On a good note, their growth rate on state exams is nearly at the district average, meaning students are making academic progress even if they don’t pass exams.
Already, the board has voted to reconsolidate East Wake High from four schools into one school. The area is fortunate to have a Zebulon resident, Tom Benton, on the school board. Benton is an advocate for the area and has been a high school teacher and principal.
As for the new work group, its 80 members are parents, business leaders, representatives of civic organizations and faith and community leaders. Nearly two years ago, a similar group began working to help Knightdale schools, and now a magnet school is under way and Knightdale High School is going through a redesign.
The school board shows itself to be concerned about all areas of the county with such efforts, and that’s good. There shouldn’t be any schools in Wake County that continuously struggle for years. Not, this board promises, on its watch.