x
Breaking News
More () »

'It starts at the top' | CMS leaders discuss goals to address racial disparities in education

Recent data shows more than 70% of Black third graders are not proficient in reading compared to nearly 30% of white students.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The COVID-19 pandemic forced setbacks for nearly all students, but specifically for Black students, lagging in learning has been a problem that's now only worsened. Charlotte-Mecklenburg school leaders say they recognize the issue and want to change that.

Tuesday night, the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg hosted an online forum with CMS leaders to discuss ways to correct the educational gap between Black and white students.

School board members agree effective teaching is key.

“Making sure that we build the capacity of our teachers so that we can ensure from an equity lens that we’re providing all students with access to great teaching, "CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston said.

Specifically, the district wants to focus on its 42 low-performing schools where a recent report shows more than 70% of Black third graders are not proficient in reading compared to nearly 30% of white students. In high school, less than 5% of Black students are college or career-ready. 

RELATED: 'Clear and drastic impact of interrupted instruction': CMS releases end-of-year test results

“It starts at the top with our school board because student outcomes don’t change until adult behaviors change," CMS board member Thelma Byers-Bailey said.

The district plans to use more than $300 million over the next several years to invest in more tutoring, technology, social and emotional support programs, and hire interventionists too.

“People who are specialists in being able to help students in addition to core instruction," CMS Chief Accountability Officer Frank Barnes said.

Ultimately, CMS says it will set benchmarks along the way to make sure these goals to decrease the educational gaps are being met.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

ALSO ON WCNC CHARLOTTE: 'I was surprised, but I was excited' | Parents split after Gaston County Schools board votes to extend mask mandate