Dallas County schools are making progress

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 19, 2002

When the Dallas County school system’s high school students recently took the graduation exam they were probably a little nervous. In order to graduate, seniors must pass the exam.

That’s a good reason to be nervous about a test. But there was another group of folks probably even more nervous than the students and that was the Dallas County School system administrators.

Last fall’s exit exam scores brought mixed blessings for the school system. Keith High did well and Dallas County High was OK, but Southside High’s scores were shockingly low. Only one out of three passed at Southside. Dallas County officials had to enact an aggressive plan to get many more students to pass the exam before the school year ended.

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This year brought much better news. Dallas County and Keith once again posted solid results with around 80 percent passing at both schools. Southside improved to one out of two students passing the exam.

For Southside, that’s a big increase and something worth noting. New Southside principal Gary Crum is off to a good start at the school.

The scores show that Southside High is heading in the right direction and those responsible for the change in direction are to be commended.

Southside High faces many challenges and those challenges cannot be solved quickly. But what we have seen is progress. We should never celebrate 50 percent of the students passing (50 percent failed, too). But we should note what is measurable progress and encourage those making the progress to keep up the good efforts.

Students will have other opportunities to re-take the test this school year. We hope that Southside’s leadership can lift the passing percentage even higher in the coming months.

And building on a good start is much easier than starting in a hole and scrambling for better results.