07/26/06 — Next step for GHS? District, community need to look at issue before deadline

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Next step for GHS? District, community need to look at issue before deadline

In a little more than a couple of weeks, Judge Howard Manning is going to make a decision on what to do about 17 schools across the state of North Carolina that cannot seem to get their test scores to acceptable levels.

Judge Manning issued an ultimatum earlier this year that those schools that could not improve their scores would be closed or other severe measures taken.

One of those identified schools is Goldsboro High.

There have been many reasons given for why there are problems improving student performance on standardized tests at the school. Goldsboro High School and other Wayne County School District officials have offered a list of steps taken already to fix the problem.

School leaders here and at other schools across the state have also questioned whether the judge’s directive is a fair assessment of the progress that has already been made to improve student performance — and a real measure of a school’s effectiveness.

And those might just be legitimate questions to consider as this community and school district decide what to do about Judge Manning’s ruling — and plan for what might happen if he decides Goldsboro High has had enough warnings and it is time to take action.

But what is scary about the Goldsboro High situation is that this is not a judge’s determination that because a year’s worth of scores were bad, the school should be considered for closure or a complete administrative overhaul. This is several years of not making the grade.

As local officials plan their response to the judge’s impending ruling, they might want to consider setting a few tough goals for the future of Goldsboro High.

The ultimate objective here is not just to keep a school’s doors open, but to make sure that the students who walk through those doors have a chance to lead successful lives and have the reading, writing and math skills they will need to survive.

That might mean that there needs to be more community involvement, a tougher academic focus or a whole new plan for getting the students to the level they need to graduate and succeed. It might mean we need community forums, volunteers or other efforts.

That is the kind of action plan Judge Manning will want to see — and county school officials need to make sure he has it.

Published in Editorials on July 26, 2006 11:16 AM