Almost thirty percent of public schools in North Carolina have received D and F grades, according to data the state released today.
Most of those D and F schools have high percentages of students who come from poverty. Last year’s scores showed a very similar trend. Democratic leader Larry Hall said he’s not surprised, and that the state needs to invest more in public education.
"We know we have to increase funding," Hall said. "We know we have to keep our teachers. We know we have school systems that have 20, 30, 40 teacher slots that they can't fill because we're not paying our mid-level teachers."
The A through F grades are based on tests scores and how well students improve from year to year.
"We continue to be concerned that schools with the highest percent of poverty are also likely to receive grades D or F, even if their students are making healthy gains each year," said June Atkinson, state superintendent of public instruction.
Atkinson highlighted that graduation rates are up slightly at 85.4 percent.
Student Test Scores
The state also released student test scores, which show less than half of North Carolina public school students in grades 3-8 are performing at grade level in both reading and math. The number of students who met the standard in both subjects is just over 43 percent. That is an increase of less than one percent from last school year.
While reading scores remained stagnant, math scores were slightly better than last year. 52.2 percent of students tested at grade level in math—an increase of 1.2 percent from last school year.
Atkinson said the state instituted higher standards in 2012 when it adopted Common Core, and that it may take five to six years to see a notable increase in test scores.
Despite slow progress, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest said North Carolina should stick to the new higher standard.
“We want to be tough on our kids you know," he said. "We want to make sure they can get the best education they can in the world right here in North Carolina, and are prepared for the work that’s out there in the workplace.”