Several Schools In East On Poorly Performing List

The North Carolina Associated Press is reporting a judge is warning
he will close 19 poorly performing North Carolina High Schools if the problem is not corrected. The Associated Press also has published a list of those 19 schools, which include several in Eastern Carolina.

The Associated Press story and the list follow in their entirety:

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A state judge has warned that unless 19 of the state's poorly performing high schools start doing better, he'll order them closed unless the state makes sweeping changes, including replacing principals at the schools.

"Superintendents and principals have run out of room and run out of time," Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. said in a 17-page letter to state Superintendent June Atkinson and State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee. "The state is clearly and ultimately legally responsible."

Manning oversees North Carolina's long-running court case on school quality. He has warned state leaders for about two years that dozens of high schools fall short of a state constitutional requirement that all students receive adequate educational opportunities.

In May, he said several high schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district were committing "academic genocide."

Manning took over the school quality case in 2002, when he ruled in the Leandro school funding lawsuit. That ruling established the basics of a sound education, which include competent, well-trained teachers, effective principals and sufficient resources.

In his letter Friday, he blamed the low performance of about 44 high schools on poor leadership from principals, not a lack of financial support.

"The major problem with these schools lies within the category of school leadership, not money," he wrote.

Manning's order said principals would be replaced at schools where passing rates on state tests remained at 55 percent or less in all of the past five years, including the 2005-06 year.

Those schools also would be required to begin reform plans modeled after the small-school approach promoted by the state's New Schools Project.

Advocates for poor school districts applauded Manning's decision.

"The state can't be serious about fixing schools if they can't do what the judge is saying," said Gerry Hancock, a lobbyist for a group representing poor districts. "You would assume that the powers that be would swing into action and avert any crisis in the fall. If that doesn't happen, the state has a very serious problem."

Copyright by The Associated Press.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The following is a list of the 19 poorly performing high schools that Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. has threatened to close.

Alamance: H.M Cummings

Anson: Anson

Bertie: Bertie

Charlotte-Mecklenburg: Garinger, Waddell, West Charlotte, West Mecklenburg

Cumberland: E.E. Smith

Durham: Hillside, Southern

Forsyth: Carver

Halifax: Northwest Halifax, Southeast Halifax

Hertford: Hertford County

Guilford: Dudley, Ben Smith

Northampton: Northampton West

Washington: Plymouth

Wayne: Goldsboro

Copyright by The Associated Press.