We need a qualified workforce to support business expansion and
secure the future growth of this county and the State as we improve
our economy. The marketplace will offer jobs in the trades and in occupations
that our current state structure does not sufficiently support.
Despite the fact that North Carolina has the highest number of National
Certified teachers (www.ncpublicschools.org) in the country and devotes 57% of it's budget to education ( over $12 billion this past year), we have a 30% drop out rate in our high schools that is among the highest in the nation. How is that possible with those kinds of outstanding resources? I do not believe that our teachers are at fault or that we are not sufficiently funding our educational system. Nor do I believe that more technology and after school programs are the answers.
The bottom line is that the results we are getting are unacceptable. The
solutions we are implementing are not meeting expectations. We should look
at the situation from outside the system and evaluate it objectively, set realistic goals, determine practical solutions, agree upon ways to measure performance and have flexibility to adjust.
How can we improve the State high school drop out rate?
We must acknowledge that not every student is college bound and
not every job in an emerging market will require a college degree. We must
provide an educational opportunity for all of our students to prepare them to
be productively employed citizens with the promise of a bright future. We
must offer educational opportunities that challenge and interest each student
not overwhelm them. The diversity in interests and career choices must be
acknowledged and provided for.
o The cap on Charter schools needs to be removed.
o Charter and traditional high schools should be held to the same evaluation standards.
o The State should consider converting low performing high schools into vocational schools, preparing students for career opportunities right out of high school in the trades. Electrical, plumbing, masonry,heating and air conditioning are among career choices that will always be in demand and not only are high paying but often lead to self employment and financial independence.
o Legislation providing protection and tax credits for Home-Schooled students should be passed.
o The General Assembly should pass a "bill of Rights" for parents, entitling them to enroll their child in any school, public, private or charter by attaching state funding to the student.