As a businessman, Rick Catlin knows that strong schools are the foundation to a stable and growing economy. As a parent, he understands the challenges and concerns most parents experience in dealing with our public schools. As a county commissioner, Rick has worked to strengthen the public schools of New Hanover County and will take that commitment to Raleigh. Currently, North Carolina is spending nearly 2 out of every 5 tax dollars on public education. However, our dropout rates remain high and our schools remain less competitive than other states. Taxpayers deserve good value for the money we are spending and good teachers deserve the respect and reward for doing a tough job. Rick believes we need to create a vocational pathway as an alternative to having only one roadmap to a high school diploma. If we provide professional vocational programs we will produce a competitive workforce for attracting business and industry. Economic growth and stability cannot become a reality without our public schools being focused on educating our children with the proper skill sets needed to compete in an ever changing global economy.