Is Voyager Learning System failing Richmond County students?

By: Laurie Ott
By: Laurie Ott

A system designed to help Richmond County students read may be failing them.

News 12 has a follow-up on a special investigation we aired April 27, 2006 on the Voyager Learning System in Richmond County.

They've been using Voyager since 2002, when Linda Schrenko gave the district $1.1 million to start it in some schools...and now it is in all the schools, at a cost of more than $9.1 million.

News 12 did some further checking after the company sent its own data on the reading program's effectiveness.

The company claims the district average has gone up--from 79 percent of third graders passing the state reading CRCT tests to 85 percent passing in 2005.

But there are no CRCT scores from 2002...because there was no CRCT testing for that year.

And that's not all. When we investigated each school's third grade reading levels, we found that 12 out of 35 Richmond County elementary schools had scores actually drop--some of them quite dramatically--after Voyager was implemented.

The most dramatic declines were at Bayvale Elementary School and Jenkins-White Elementary Schools. At Bayvale, test performance went from 20 percent of third graders failing state reading tests in 2003-2004 to 40 percent failing last year. That's double the failure rate.

At Jenkins-White, 12 percent of third graders failed the state reading test in 2003-2004, and then 35 percent failed last year. That's nearly 3 times as many children failing to read.

The other schools that saw declines of more than 2 percent were: Barton Chapel, Blythe, Copeland, Craig Houghton, Glenn Hills, Hains, Monte Sano, Milledge, Sue Reynolds, and Rollins Elementary.

To see the scores for yourself, click here.

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