What the veteran education reporter Ann Doss Helms with WFAE did yesterday was proof that the value of great journalism cannot be measured – much like the value of a teacher.

When State Superintendent Catherine Truitt presented on elementary reading scores to a House Select Education Committee, she misrepresented the data seemingly giving more credit to the LTERS program that it actually deserved.

From WFAE:

Truitt presented a slide that purported to show dramatic increases in end-of-year reading scores for kindergarteners and first-graders between 2019 and 2022.

“We are really excited to share with you for the first time that preliminary end-of-year data for kindergarten and first-graders show that North Carolina is moving quicker than the rest of the nation in its early literacy recovery,” she said.

from the North Carolina Department Of Public Instruction

This incorrect chart was presented to a House panel, and corrected afterward when WFAE asked questions.

Aisde from that comment on having cake, remember that Torbett is the chair of that committee, one that is doing some interesting work for the NCGA in an attempt to maybe avoid having to adhere to the LEANDRO decision. Torbett also was a chief sponsor of HB1173 which seeks to make the state super that chair of the State Board of Education.

But Ann Doss Helms saw something that both DPI and that committee never bothered to flush out.

WFAE asked the Department of Public Instruction to provide the source of the data and explain any changes that might account for the state and national bump. Communications Chief Blair Rhodes initially said the 2019 data came from DPI and the 2022 preliminary data was from Amplify.

Look closely at the following part of Helms’s report.

Remember the iStation debacle from the haunted Mark Johnson administration?

And have you ever talked to a teacher who had to come back from a pandemic, go into schools where students were trying to get their academic, social, emotional, and mental feet back under them all while having to endure erratically scheduled professional development that sucked hours our of a school year just to get it done?

Then you know what sacrifices they made on top of what should have been asked of them in that school year.

Truitt wanted to get credit for her LETRS initiative.

What really happened was that teachers were educating students effectively in harsh conditions doing the work that this state refuses to respect them for despite what DPI and the NCGA were selfishly doing.

That’s the slap in the face to all educators, especially those who had to do LETRS training on their own personal time.

And it’s part of why we as a state are in this situation:


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Clarence Choe