You probably saw the news that 53.7% of Durham’s public schools earned a grade of D or F. What do these scores actually measure? Essentially, they’re a proxy for how poor a school’s student body is. My biggest takeaway is from TheDurhamNews.com:
Scores across the state correlated with school poverty rates. Only 13 percent of schools that received an A had at least 50 percent of students in poverty. But every school that received an F had a poverty rate at 50 percent or more.
Throughout the Durham school system, almost 65 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch, a common poverty indication.
That’s not to say that DPS’s schools are perfect, but it’s pretty clear that many of Durham’s public school woes are symptoms of poverty rather than issues that can meaningfully be addressed by school administrators.