Ladd and Fiske: If North Carolina Wants to Improve Achievement, It Must Address Poverty

This applies to all states. It is all about money.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Helen Ladd, Professor of Public Policy at Duke University, and her husband, Edward Fiske, former education editor of the New York Times, reviewed the recently released letter grades for schools and here explain what they mean. 

They write:

In a nutshell, we need to figure out how to break the link between poverty and achievement in our schools. A crucial first step is to support policies and programs that directly address the particular challenges that poor students bring with them to school.

The most striking pattern that emerged from the letter grades from the NC Department of Public Instruction was the near-perfect correlation between letter grades and economic disadvantage. The News & Observer reported that 80 percent of schools where at least four-fifths of children qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch received a D or F grade, whereas 90 percent of schools with fewer than one in five…

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