The following is an excerpt from Governor Jim Hunt’s speech for The Thomas Willis Lambeth Lecture given on September 26, 2013 at The University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill.
Looking ahead, it is important for us in North Carolina to study and enact school reform ideas that are well proven. Setting high standards for our students makes sense. And I commend Governor (Pat) McCrory for endorsing the new college- and career-ready Common Core State Standards for North Carolina. Assessing teacher effectiveness, by means that include data on their students’ learning gains, makes sense. And some “pay for performance” as a part of compensation for teachers is a good idea.
Some charter schools in North Carolina are a positive development: good charter schools. They are public schools. And the original idea that charter schools would be innovative places developing ideas that traditional public schools could adopt is still valid. In my view, however, vouchers are not a good idea. But while we may differ on some of these matters, there are a whole host of things that we ought to be doing in North Carolina that should unite us:
• fully funding Smart Start,
• adequate funding of More at Four and Pre-K, which the courts say is constitutionally required – perhaps even statewide 4-year-old kindergarten,
• restoring the teacher assistants so badly needed in our schools,
• restoring the extra pay to teachers for their master’s degree,
• developing and funding a full program for the use of educational technology in our schools – including connections, devices, training of teachers and adequate staff to teach teachers and maintain equipment,
• providing the equipment and programs needed by our community colleges in this competitive economy, and
• funding the personnel and programs needed in our University of North Carolina (UNC) System and independent colleges across our state.
Our colleges and universities are where our students begin to really think and analyze, and to develop vision and values about what it is to be “fully human.” The arts and humanities are critical to that. Here at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and throughout the UNC System, good citizens are formed and business and government leaders are shaped and inspired.
To learn more about the genesis of Gov. Hunt’s passion for education – with a commitment to teachers, teacher pay, reading programs, and higher standards – read the full lecture here, or see the video here.