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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

NC schools don’t push low-income achievers

Despite high grades and test scores, Victor Guevara almost missed a chance to take college-prep math in eighth grade. Photo: Ann Doss Helms/Charlotte Observer

North Carolina’s public schools are failing to place low-income achievers in challenging classes, reports the Charlotte Observer, which partnered with the (Raleigh) News & Observer to analyze seven years of state data.

“Every year across North Carolina, thousands of students with top math scores who happen to live in low-income households fall off the college track,” reports the Observer.  “These students are excluded from advanced classes at a much higher rate than their more affluent classmates” with similar test scores.

When Victor Guevara took the SAT in seventh grade, his math scores topped those of the average college-bound senior. But when Victor started eighth grade at Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Albemarle Road Middle School he wasn’t enrolled in Math 1, the high school course that gets middle school students launched on the kind of transcript that will get them into college. Fortunately, his counselor caught the error and moved him into the advanced math class.

Victor, the son of Salvadoran immigrants, wants to become an engineer. His parents, who do not speak English, aren’t sure that college is a realistic goal, despite their son’s top grades and high test scores.

Observer readers arranged for Victor work with a math coach and attend an arts, science and technology camp at University of North Carolina Greensboro over the summer. In the fall, he’ll start an International Baccalaureate program as a ninth grader.

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