Action GSO Issues “wake-up call” report; Education mentioned prominently

UPDATES BELOW… Our friends over at Action Greensboro have issued a sudden and stern wake-up call: Greensboro may not be on the right track.

Duh! Actually, they’ve issued a “Phase II–State of the City” Report.

Full coverage: Click here for the main report. Click here for the companion report. Click here for the video.

Media: Today’s News & Record coverage. Bloggers: Ed Cone. Greensboro Politics. Dr. Sue Polinsky.
I’m blogging about this because they mention fixing public education…prominently, in the report.


Survey respondents find the school situation especially troubling.

“The one black mark is the public schools,” the survey says. “Residents believe their schools are broken and are not getting better. … Indeed, local government is the main entity that residents blame for these improvements needing to be made.” Superintendent Terry Grier said residents tend to focus on school fights, which make front-page news, as opposed to improving performances in the classroom.

“Our schools are getting better,” he said. “It is a problem of perception.”


Are they, Terry? Is this picture merely perception…or reality?

See, if they really were, this report wouldn’t be coming out…because our schools would have been fixed a long time ago.

This commenter from Ed refutes this “good schools theory” completely:

The fact that the Guilford County School system has outpaced other school systems in “Adequate Yearly Progress growth” does not mean much on the face of it, unless there is data to refute the notion that our system’s beginning performance baseline was lower than other comparable systems. A microcosm analogy of this is Northwest Guilford High School. There is only so much more growth in academic achievement that NWG can gain; as such, its AYP growth will be slower than a lower-performing school that improves by an only marginally greater rate.

Of course it is praiseworthy that our AYP scores are increasing, and that by itself is worth mentioning, but to establish comparison with other systems may be misleading.That’s nothing new with some of the metrics used by GCS — the dubious “AP” commendation is only a measure of the total number of students taking AP classes, saying nothing about increased class size and decreased educational effectiveness, or for that matter, scores on the AP exams, which most certainly have decreased since the initiative began if all students in AP courses are required to take the exams. If they are not, then the overall educational value of the AP initiative is overstated.


The recommendations on fixing public education in the Peoples Republic of Guilford County are noble, and while I disagree with certain portions of the recommendations, I do agree that a larger emphasis on vocational and technology education is essential, not vocational magnets, but maybe more vocational schools countywide, and this is part of my campaign platform.


Here’s another “alarm:”


The survey also says “residents’ job performance ratings of county government are still weak; their ratings for city government have slipped.” Both get 55 percent negative ratings.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Paul Gibson, chairman of the Guilford County board of commissioners, says many residents have a limited and inaccurate view of county government.

“Unfortunately, when people think about Guilford County government, they think about … televised commissioners meetings,” Gibson said. “We are notorious across the state for our actions. As much as anything, that is what people are looking at.”


55 percent negative ratings is NOT an inaccurate and limited view of county government. 55 percent negatives scream out for replacing all of the incumbents.

Paul Gibson, Terry Grier…man, you guys are out of touch with reality. Do you have any clue of what’s going on here in Guilford County. I guess not because if you did, this report wouldn’t be coming out now, would it?


Another highlight from the report…N&R:

The reports also noted a slippage in satisfaction with race relations.

Only 31 percent say the city is in good shape in that area, compared with 39 percent four years ago. The portion of those who believe the city has a major problem with race has risen from 15 percent in 2003 to 25 percent today.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Monica Walker I’ve said this before…as long as we continue to have active race-baiters in positions of power, whose decisions affect children and taxpayers, Guilford County will continue to be held back.

I definitely agree that race relations in the Peoples Republic of Guilford County are at an all-time low, but it doesn’t have to be like that. If we can advance and progress to the point like we’re in 2007 (soon to be 2008) and stop living as though everyone is the enemy and everything is about race, we can move forward. example…look at what GCS Board member Deena Hayes tells CBS-2 WFMY (watch the video) about Greensboro’s growing gang (and out-of-control armed robbery) problem and her opinion on allegations that the GSO Police Department’s new gang unit will target youth of color, as brought forth by the Greensboro branch of the NAACP last week:

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Our kids are disproportionately being affected by law enforcement tactics and I don’t see this being any different than all the other types of crimes being committed.

(See today’s News & Record on the Gang Intervention forum held last night)

Let me also say that Hayes does hold an indirect relationship with the local branch of the NAACP, just so you know. Let me also say that she continues to advocate for getting rid of our School Resource Officers and in general, does not like law enforcement…period.

So in a nutshell, to the young professional looking to relocate his/her young family to the Peoples Republic of Guilford County, it does not appear on the surface that we have our house in order. It does not appear that Guilford County is the welcoming environment that it should be. To the outsider looking in (and this blog has extreme national attention, and a national audience now), Guilford County, North Carolina is not willing to move forward and advance.

We have a lot of work to do here.

And we need to get our house in order real quick! How do we do this? Start cleaning the house.


UPDATE: 11/20/07. 12:05PM: CBS-2 WFMY had a “sweeps” story last night on stopping the hate, in reference to the reported sudden rise of hate crimes in North Carolina. Two of my former students from Andrews H.S. were interviewed with regards to the recent discovery of nooses found at that school’s campus. I’m very proud of these young men. It just shows that we have a long way to go to advance the ball on race relations in the county of Guilford.

E.C. 🙂


4 Responses

  1. Did you watch the entire video? A good deal of it focused on how the school children’s scores have increased and how schools are doing better than we thought they might. That said, perception is reality. even though the schools are doing much better than is often reported, focus is almost always on the negative, which is much smaller than the positive.

    I appreciate your efforts, concerns and dogged determination to make the schools better. But I think “throwing out” successful leaders is not the best first move and is not a panacea for what is, in global aspects, working.

    Every school system has issues and challenges. Is there a system you can’t pick apart?

  2. Hi Sue…I would hesitate to compare apples to apples because there are successful school systems and there are failing school systems. I would also hesitate to describe Terry Grier and his top brass as successful (as evidenced by the investigation into Monica Walker). In my opinion, the negatives here far outweigh the positives. I’m a former GCS employee, and as such, he is not very well-liked in the trenches among school staffs.

    Now, I’ll meet you halfway…perception is indeed reality. But reality is being there, and I’m in the classroom at least 2-3 days a week (I’m substitute teaching now) and I see what is going on…and it is frightening.

    You said, respectfully:

    “…I think ‘throwing out’ successful leaders is not the best first move and is not a panacea for what is, in global aspects, working.”

    And that’s where I respectfully disagree…things are not working.

    Things can be better, improvements can be made. And success cannot be measured on what children do on a two-hour exam in a classroom. It just can’t.

    We as a society have the right to have high expectations from our leaders and to expect better from our elected and appointed leadership…and when we’re not getting our taxpayer money’s worth, we have the right to make our voices heard and vote and let them know that it is time for a change.

    My idea of reform is not a “throw-the-bums-out” adage. It is advancing new ideas so that we can do better…and we CAN do better here in Guilford County.

  3. EC,
    I agree 100% with what you’re saying.

  4. Thanks Billy. I have thick skin and I know not everyone will agree with my position(s) and that’s okay.

    If the discourse can remain civil, it is the spirit of democracy that’s more important. And I really don’t want to “throw the bums out;” there are some I actually want to keep in office just to make it fun and exciting 🙂

    But all joking aside…we are failing our children because we are not bringing any new ideas to the table for reform, and we’re not bringing those ideas in because the ones in power either have an agenda (Deena), or have been in office too long, they don’t know how to bring in new ideas anymore (Dot), or is simply naive to what’s happening in our schools in the first place (Kris, Walter).

    The elections next year are sooooo important, I can’t stress it enough.

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