Taking on a challenge

Published 8:51 am Friday, July 24, 2009

By Staff
The preliminary results show that although students in more Beaufort County Schools passed end-of-grade examinations for the 2008-2009 school year than before, Beaufort County Schools, as a whole, failed to meet its goals under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Some individual schools in the county also failed to measure up.
Systemwide, there is definitely room for improvement. And improvement is what the system must achieve and what students and parents must expect — and demand.
Students are held accountable for their academic performances, as they should be. Students who fail in the classroom are left behind when their peers move on to the next grade. School systems should be held accountable for how their students perform. Schools systems that fail to meet their goals as determined by the No Child Left Behind Act must be held accountable, too. Students, parents and the taxpayers funding those school systems should hold those systems accountable.
Beaufort County Schools spokeswoman Sarah Hodges is right when she says “a lot of good things have happened in the last year at Beaufort County schools.” Having students in more schools pass the end-of-grade tests this past school year than in the previous school year is good news.
But, as Hodges pointed out, there’s always room for improvement.
As long as the school system makes a good-faith effort to bring about those improvements and that effort continues to produce desired results, the school system is headed in the right direction. But if that effort does not produce the right results, then something must be done to get the school system headed down the right path.
Not meeting its goals can be costly to a school system.
If a school receiving Title I federal funds does not meet average yearly progress goals in the same subject for two years in a row, the school must offer its students transfer options. After three years, schools must offer special tutoring services.
Those services don’t come free, and guess who pays for them? That’s right, taxpayers. And some school programs may see their budgets cut or eliminated so that money can be used to provide those tutoring services. If that happens, that would be unfair to students who benefit from those programs.
Beaufort County Schools has a challenge before it. Beaufort County’s students deserve for that challenge to be successfully met.