Gardenhire said educational reforms, including not promoting third-graders to the fourth grade if they do not read at grade level and requiring students pass End of Instruction tests to be awarded a diploma, will improve the educational rankings.
The End of Instruction tests, in which high school seniors must pass four of seven tests in order to receive their diploma, were approved in 2005 and went into effect with the just concluded school year.
It was projected in 2005 that about 78 percent of the seniors would pass the tests, Gardenhire said.
“Now flash forward to where we are in 2012, we’re at 93-plus percent of students who have met the requirements. We’ve well exceeded the expectations the reformers had when the requirements were passed,” he said.
Terrell said she hopes to take the information to elected officials to persuade them to approve programs that will benefit children.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” she said. “I know that our elected officials at all levels care about children.
“We have to, as a state, decide to tackle this situation, to mitigate this situation we have to provide innovative, evidence based public systems to keep children connected to their families,” Terrell said, while acknowledging that such programs cost money during economically depressed times.
“It’s about prioritizing our money,” she said.