The Intersection

Gov. Hunt Challenges Virginia to Lead the Nation in Education Improvements

August 17, 2012


Speaking at Virginia’s K-12 Education Reform Summit in Richmond, Governor James B. Hunt challenged the commonwealth of Virginia to lead the nation in improving education performance and shared insights from his experiences in education reform during his 16-year tenure as governor of North Carolina.

“You are doing Virginia’s most important work,” Gov. Hunt informed an audience consisting of more than 400 educators, policymakers, elected officials and thought leaders from the education and business community. “Education is economic development. It is the most important work in America and we can, should, and must do all that needs to be done to help our students succeed.”

Gov. Hunt also took the opportunity to share some of the lessons he learned from working with educators, business leaders, and other key stakeholders to reform education in North Carolina. Specifically, he cited two key areas that significantly bettered the chances for student success: improving teaching and placing a laser-like focus on early childhood education.

In his remarks, Gov. Hunt cited several initiatives designed to improve teaching across the state that achieved results in North Carolina, including:

  1. Raising the passing scores required for initial teacher licensing
  2. Launching the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, which provided scholarships each year for 500 talented high school graduates dedicated to the teaching profession
  3. Developing the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching to support and retrain the highly qualified teachers who will prepare students to meet the challenges of the 21st century
  4. Raising teacher salaries in order to attract the best and the brightest teachers to the state
  5. Encouraging educators to become National Board Certified Teachers

Additionally, Gov. Hunt credited investing more into early childhood education as vital to improving educational outcomes for American students, citing North Carolina’s Smart Start and More at Four programs as instrumental in shrinking the achievement gap. “If we’re going to work towards 100 percent graduation, we must start early,” he told policymakers and educators.

Finally, the governor concluded the summit by encouraging a nonpartisan approach to education reform, likening our unwavering support for Olympic athletes to the attitude necessary for reforms in education to take hold.

“For the past few weeks, we’ve been cheering American Olympians on to victory,” remarked Governor Hunt. “That same spirit is needed to help improve the lives of all students. Education is not a red versus blue issue, but a red, white, and blue one.”

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