GREENSBORO — The Guilford County Board of Education wants the state General Assembly to repeal laws mandating a “low performing” label for schools graded D or F and that fail to exceed annual growth goals.
In the Guilford County system, 42 schools now have that label under the law, which went into effect in October.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the school board unanimously approved a resolution opposing school performance grades and the new requirement regarding low-performing schools.
The board also passed a resolution last year to oppose a new mandate to grade schools A-F based primarily on standardized test performance. The latest resolution decries the new grading system as “ill-conceived, ineffective and damaging.”
Those mandates have “not been good for my hometown,” said board member Ed Price, one of the High Point representatives.
He said the requirements are neither fair nor accurate. Nine of Guilford’s schools labeled low performing are in High Point.
The final version of the resolution includes language Vice Chairman Amos Quick suggested and the full board agreed to — a statement about the school board’s commitment to “improving outcomes for all children.” The resolution, which spans four pages, lists ongoing efforts to achieve that goal, such as addressing discrimination and expanding access to career tech courses.
The performance grades, which the state first issued in January, rely too much on state test performance, the resolution stated. The grades “do not measure or reflect the many other important and significant impacts public education has on the lives of all students,” it said.
The resolution cites research and states other concerns with the mandates such as the labels disproportionately going to schools that are high-poverty and where a majority of minority students are enrolled.
Most of the Guilford schools labeled low performing met goals for annual academic growth, or how much students learn in a year. All of them get federal Title I funds targeted to high-poverty schools.
If a school is continually low performing, potential reforms could include removing the principal and half of the staff.
There was little discussion before the board voted, but near the end of the meeting, Quick and Board Chairman Alan Duncan made comments in line with complaints in the resolution.
Duncan compared what he called an overemphasis on standardized testing to football star Tom Brady’s lackluster performance at the NFL combine at the start of his career.
When recently asked about the combine, Duncan recalled, Brady responded by saying things tested there don’t have much to do with being an NFL quarterback. Standardized tests don’t have a lot do with “how well educated you are and what your skills may be as a student,” Duncan said.
Quick recounted a recent visit to Page High and how impressed he was with students and teachers there before saying students should be in mind when anything is done in the state or nation affecting education.
“When you have quality educators and you have quality students who hunger for education, how can you underfund them?” he asked. “How can you create rules that stack the deck against them? How can you continue to allow students of color to disproportionately be adversely affected in our learning environment?
“How can you do that to kids?”