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Charlotte-area school officials discuss test scores and other ongoing academic challenges

Sitting on rug first day CMS.jpeg
Nancy Pierce
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Charlotte-Mecklenburg students in class.

Since the pandemic began last year, schools were forced to make difficult decisions to balance safety and academics. Although Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools stayed mostly online, nearby districts returned to in-person learning for much of the year.

While nearly every North Carolina school district saw a drop in test scores during the pandemic, CMS often saw larger drops than those in nearby districts, according to a report from WFAE. Proficiency for economically disadvantaged fifth graders in CMS, for example, show a drop by 31 percentage points in science.

But many decisions were made last year in the interest of safety. Vaccines were unavailable and school boards received changing and sometimes contradictory guidance from health officials.

We speak to officials from Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Iredell-Statesville Schools, as well as WFAE reporters Ann Doss Helms and Steve Harrison, who analyzed two years of elementary school test scores resulting in a three-part series on the academic impacts of the pandemic on local public schools.


Dr. Matt Hayes, deputy superintendent of academics for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Dr. Jeff James, superintendent of Iredell-Statesville Schools

Ann Doss Helms, reporter for WFAE

Steve Harrison, reporter for WFAE

Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.