Gov. Bev Perdue today issued the following statement:
"Senator Berger's "education reform" package is nothing more than an attempt to distract attention from harmful budget cuts that forced schools to cut nearly 915 teachers, over 2,000 teacher assistants, and nearly 5,000 total education jobs this year.
"In order to prepare our children to compete for high-paying 21st century jobs, we need both to invest necessary resources in our schools and implement innovative strategies to transform them. Politicians that pit investment against reform, as though they're mutually exclusive, are offering a false choice.
"We already have an education plan in place. We are implementing innovative tools to help teachers ensure that children can read by the end of third grade. We launched North Carolina's Career & College Promise Program, which allows eligible high school students to earn college credit or career training credits while still in high school at no cost to the student. And we are expanding early childhood education. In fact, our transformational changes have helped the state earn two competitive education grants from the federal government under the Race to the Top program.
"But we also must invest. We can't starve our schools of resources and then expect reform efforts magically to produce results. It's only through the combination of reform and investment that we'll achieve the dynamic results we all want.
"The Republicans in the General Assembly are taking steps that are weakening the foundation of our public schools. I call on them to change course. I invite them to join with advocates for strong public schools as we continue implementing reform, and as we seek to increase our investment. Our children are worth it."