Wake and other school districts released the preliminary "Adequate Yearly Progress" scores earlier this week. In Wake, just 22 of the school system's 163 schools - or about 13.5 percent - met federal standards for reading and math test scores under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. AYP is the percentage of students who performed at or above grade level within a school.
Given Wake's excellent reputation as a school district, many who spoke with ABC11 Friday said they were surprised at the results.
"Kind of am surprised, kind of am surprised - all these school systems out here - swear they have the best programs - with numbers like that, I don't think they do," said Rheda Denning of Raleigh.
And while the AYP numbers don't look good on paper, Superintendent Tony Tata is encouraging people to look at the bigger picture.
He says the federal requirements have jumped up over last year and teachers and principals are working hard to get results.
"We will be pulling together a team of principals from elementary, middle, and high school levels to help us examine what went wrong and what went right in our approach this past year to AYP," he said.
AYP's all or nothing' standard is important because, for schools receiving Title 1 funding, it means sanctions.
In fact, 20 schools in the system failed for a second year in a row. Which means parents can now choose to leave those schools no matter what assignment plan is put into place.
"We provide the information and parents are at the end of the day gonna determine what's best for their child," said Tata.
School officials say they're not that concerned since other numbers show success.