Study Shows NC Schools Not Friendly to Parents
Special Report - September 3, 2008
The majority of school districts in North Carolina are not friendly to parents, with most earning a grade of “C” or “D” in a new report from the John Locke Foundation. The report, which was released August 19, compares all 115 of North Carolina’s school districts based on four areas of most concern to parents: school administration (i.e., how the school leadership communicated with parents and the size of the administration), teachers (i.e., number, quality, turnover), safety at school, and student performance. “Parent-friendly” was defined in the report as “to what extent do North Carolina school districts provide children with a sound, basic education in a stable and safe school environment that is responsive to the needs of children and concerns of parents.”
While the majority of school districts in the study earned a grade of “C” or “D,” 19 earned a “B,” and five earned an “F” (Durham, Thomasville, Warren, Edgecombe and Vance). According to the report, the top 10 most parent-friendly school districts in North Carolina, in order of score, are: Polk, Cherokee, Clay, Dare, Lincoln, Yancey, Ashe, Mount Airy, Elkin, and Carteret. School districts in the Western region of North Carolina tended to score higher on the rankings, with eight of the 10 most parent-friendly school districts located in this region. None of North Carolina’s 115 school districts earned higher than a “B+.”
“With no threat of losing clientele to competitors, many schools and school districts behave like the monopolies they are,” said the report’s author Terry Stoops, Education Policy Analyst at the John Locke Foundation. “These school districts focus on strengthening the organization’s position and goals, rather than meeting the needs of students and parents.”
To rank the school districts, Stoops used 11 different measures (such as school crime statistics, end-of-grade performance, and four year graduation rates) in the four categories (mentioned above), based on data from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey, and the Office of the Governor.
“We need to know more before we can pinpoint the combination of factors that contribute to success,” Stoops added, “but the school districts that fared well in this ranking were generally small districts with stable, high-performing teaching staffs.”
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