Other than winning the lottery against the odds, landing an acting or pro sports career, a breakthrough to a singing career like my fellow Congressional candidate Clay Aiken or simply suddenly coming up with a game changing innovation, a high quality public education that extends through a community college or university is essential for a path toward financial security and a good life. Especially in the 21st century, a high school education provides preparation for the next step. Beyond a chosen vocation, higher education helps students know themselves better, develop communication skills and engage in higher levels of thinking.
In Sunday's N&O, former Governor Jim Hunt who is fondly remembered as the Education Governor requests a commitment to three things when the General Assembly reconvenes in 2015:
1) Restoring longevity pay for our most experienced teachers along with the minimum 5.5% raise they were promised.
2) Move North Carolina back up to the national average in teacher salaries.
3) Improve working conditions, sending a loud message about how much we value teachers in North Carolina.
While these kind of education issues are typically settled at the state and local level, leaders in Congress can add their voices. Governor Hunt laments the abolishment of a Teaching Fellows Program that attracted the best and brightest students into teaching careers. Perhaps Congress can resurrect some of those scholarships through a federal grant program or more loan forgiveness programs for professionals in the essential service sectors like education and health care. Believe me -- with my background in workforce issues, I know if we do not invest in our future workforce now, we will pay a very high price down the road. Another reason to vote Cleary for Congress in NC 13.
I am honored to be pictured here with Governor Hunt, arguably the most prominent North Carolinian in Congressional District 13 and Cleary for Congress supporter.