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‘We have to be deliberate about closing these gaps’

Photo by Tevin Stinson

‘We have to be deliberate about closing these gaps’
November 09
05:00 2017

Rep. Terry analyzes state of education at forum

Rep. Evelyn Terry has never been one to pull punches when sharing her opinion, and last week was no different when she sat down with local educators to discuss their concerns with the future of public education in N.C. 

In Dec. 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act was passed to modify provisions related to standardized testing in grades K-12. While the law signed by President Barack Obama was designed to put less emphasis on standardized testing and give more power to state education boards, students in N.C. will continue to be judged by how well they perform on a test. 

During the open forum hosted by the Forsyth County Association of Educators, moderator Jeffery Shu, eighth-grade teacher at Kernersville Middle School, asked Rep. Terry to share her thoughts on ESSA and the state board’s decision to “double down” on testing. 

She said in N.C. we must do a better job of bridging the gap for students with a learning deficiency. 

“For ESSA to be successful, we have to analyze the data and make sure we are using all of the metrics and applying them where they are needed rather than places where people are looking to enhance their districts. Rather than seeing urban versus rural fights, seeing where children need the assistance,” she said. “For example, right here in Forsyth County, 25 percent of our population is living below the poverty level, and that says it all to me.”

Rep. Terry, who serves the 71st District in Forsyth County, said it is detrimental that we find a better way to integrate schools and ensure teachers are trained to teach students from different environments and cultures. 

“Take a percentage of the students out of Forest Park and send them to Whitaker or Sherwood Forest and then track that data to see what happens,” Terry continued. “We have to be deliberate about closing these gaps.”

Before taking questions from teachers, administrators, parents, and others with invested interest in the future of the local education system, Terry also discussed proposed cuts to the number of TA (teacher assistance) positions, the average class size mandate, and the local bus driver shortage. 

Following the meeting, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County parent involvement coordinator Denise McCoy said she was excited to hear an elected official openly discuss about what’s going on in our schools. Earlier this year, McCoy was appointed to Gov. Roy Cooper’s Teacher Advisory Committee.

This is the second legislature forum the FCAE has hosted. President Ronda Mays said the organization plans to host the event again later in the school year. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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