Governor Pat McCrory vowed to reduce the amount of mandatory tests given to North Carolina students and announced a plan to award a $10,000 stipend to selected teachers to assist in the implementation of college and career ready standards at their school districts.
The governor also told the audience attending the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce's Conference on Education in Chapel Hill that students should be held to the reading and mathematics standards laid out in the Common Core curriculum. However, he noted improvement is needed in their implementation.
McCrory said the growing number of mandatory tests is getting in the way of classroom instruction.
"With this testing load we are in danger of turning our teachers into proctors," Governor McCrory said. "We need to slow down and regroup with all of these tests and let our teachers teach."
The governor also proposed the formation of a $30 million Education Innovation Fund which will finance innovative schools and new digital learning initiatives and invest in teachers.
If the federal government approves this program, it will invest a $10,000 stipend into at least 1,000 teachers who will be selected by their peers to implement North Carolina's Career and College Ready Standards.
These "Master Teachers" will be working and taking input from their colleagues and will serve as a direct conduit for North Carolina's education leaders as to what's working in our classrooms and what isn't and should be tossed aside.
The governor also reiterated that funding for K-12 education has not been cut. At $7.8 billion, this is the largest K-12 budget in North Carolina's history. This year's K-12 budget is $23 million more than last year's. During the second year of the budget, K-12 spending is scheduled to be increased by $200 million.
In all, 56 percent of our state tax dollars will go to pay for education.