Board meeting briefs from the 1/8/08 meeting

1. Achievement Gap Study Underway

Officially, a study is underway to examine the achivement gap in Guilford County Schools, specifically where it comes to suspensions and student achievement of black students.

This excerpt from the News & Record on last night’s Board meeting:

Church leaders approached the Guilford County Board of Education last year, concerned about the academic performance of male African American students.

By March, school district leaders hope to present research into academic and social demographic data — information they hope will point them in the direction of some solutions to achievement problems.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. “In 15 years, we haven’t been able to make any major progress in this,” said school board member Deena Hayes, who has worked on the research project. “We can count some victories in some areas, but we haven’t moved at all to making some advancement in these areas.”

The study will look at academic performance and school conditions based on gender and ethnicity.

A commenter said here recently that they’d hope that Deena would not take the lead on this issue. And while I welcome this examination in this election year, I have the same hesitation. Nonetheless, I am hopeful that all biases will be put aside, so that we can have a clear cut look at what’s going on.



Gongshu Zhang Gongshu Zhang, chief accountability and research officer for the district, presented a draft of the study design to school board members at their meeting Tuesday night.

He said the research will look at more than 100 indicators, including the numbers of students who receive free and reduced lunch, the education level of parents, whether children have disabilities and students’ test scores.

Zhang said the data will help figure how and why certain students are underachievers. “Then, we can make some meaningful suggestions in terms of measures and solutions to solve certain problems,” he said.

The research will look at all students in the district and will cover data going back to 1993.

“We are looking at all ethnic groups. We are looking at all students. When you do this you will see the gap, you will see the male African American student,” Zhang said.


2.  Board formally ask County Commissioners…to ask voters…for more money

The Board last night took up a formal resolution to send to the County Commissioners that asks them to place the $457 million question on the ballot: can we have more money?  The commissioners will take it up next month.

N&R excerpt:

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. “Statutorily, we need to get this before them so we can keep this ball rolling,” said Sharon Ozment, Guilford County Schools’ chief financial officer…The resolution notes that there are significant facility and equipment needs that must be fulfilled to “adequately meet the demands of a growing student population.”

High Point Enterprise excerpt:

 The Guilford County Board of Education voted 7 to 3 to approve a resolution request­ing that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners place a $457 million bond ref­erendum on the May ballot.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.  Board members Anita Sharpe, Deena Hayes and Wal­ter Childs voted against the resolution during the meeting on Tuesday.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Board member Kris Cooke later changed her vote after first voting against the request.

Kris Cooke voted FOR the resolution, after voting AGAINST it. Someone send her a pair of flip-flops, in case she runs for reelection.


3. Tire-Gate

Your school board last night asked staff to look at other school bus tire vendors to purchase retreaded tires. Board members said last night that they feel that other vendors may be able to provide the same products for a lot less.

HPE excerpt:

The state has held a contract with White’s Tire in Wilson since 1984. “There are other companies that are just as good,” said board representa­tive Kris Cooke at the meeting.
Jeff Harris, director of transportation, said the school system is simply following recommendations from the Department of Public Instruc­tion. “As staff members, we are using a product that is en­dorsed by the state.”

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.  Cooke responded, “I’m not questioning what you are do­ing. I question the state and why there has been one vendor when there are others that have proven to be more reliable.”
“That type of thing really bothers me. I want us to be do­ing the right thing and getting the best bang for our buck,” Cooke added.

Doing the right thing, Kris, would have meant not changing your earlier vote on the Bond resolution.

I’m fired up about this election year…how about you?

E.C. 🙂


3 Responses

  1. My favorite quote of the evening was when Deena was giving the award to the teacher of the month. The recipient teaches at Smith Academy. Deena said that “Smith was under her leadership”. I nearly choked!

    Since when have any of the schools been under her “leadership”? Has she ever even been inside the building?

  2. Regarding the achievement gap study – Garth brought up a good point. Dr. Zhang is tracking something like 100 factors in this study. Garth asked if the marital status of the mother would be included? In other words, one of the factors should DEFINITELY be whether or not the child lives in a 2 parent home. Of course that information is not available.

    So after they track 100 factors (is there a computer in the home, internet, how many hours of tv watching, etc.) the study is still flawed. Many believe that one of the single most important factors in the success of a student is living in a 2 parent family where education is stressed.

    It looks to me like this study will only show that more money is needed for the schools in order to lower the gap. The teachers will be blamed and the parents and students get a free ride.

  3. Friend…1,000 point bonus to you for picking up on Deena’s quote; I was wondering if anyone else out there picked up on that last night. I, too, nearly coughed up my dinner when I heard that. Again, she didn’t even know a few months ago that Smith’s gym didn’t have air conditioning.

    Yep, that’s leadership alright.

    On the study, let’s mark your good words and see if that’s the case when the study is complete. By then, the elections will have concluded and the Board (hopefully) will have some new blood, and then we can really make some changes and get something done.

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