The Governor and the current legislative leadership have an interesting slant on education. When the national No Child Left Behind program revealed that our state educational establishment has been exaggerating about graduation rates, the governor's main idea to improve high school graduation rates was to spend more money on More at Four! High School graduation rates had been bragged on at over 90% but in actuality are closer to 70%.
In addition to improving teacher pay as described below, we must improve the vocational educational opportunities for our young people, many of whom have no interest in college but want to start earning a living immediately after graduating from high school. We also need to provide computers with on line capabilities for all of our students. Not only are they a very effective way of teaching but computers retain students' attention and make learning fun!
The problem is we are missing the mark in compensating the best teachers. Would you like to be in a field that compensated the worst of your contemporaries with the same pay you received? That's exactly what we do in our public schools in North Carolina. For two sessions in a row, Neal Hunt has introduced legislation which would allow school principals to pay the best teachers in their schools more than the worst teachers. This legislation would also allow differential pay for teachers in critical fields like math and science and more pay for teachers to go into low performing schools.
We are also spending too much of our precious school dollars for busing. The idea of course is to improve performance for low income children by moving them to more affluent schools but in this is an inefficient use of money. Senator Hunt sponsored SB 1386 which would allow children living within a one and one half mile radius to attend their neighborhood school. If some of our best teachers are encouraged to teach in low performing schools that would definitely improve those schools performances. Once that is the case, why would anyone want to ride a bus out of their district to go to another school? If children were allowed to attend neighborhood schools, another benefit would be more parental involvement.