March 5, 2014
Last month, Ginny Holshouser Mills delivered an impassioned welcome to North Carolina legislators during The Institute’s Holshouser Legislators Retreat – named in honor of her father, Governor Jim Holshouser. She recalled her father’s steadfast commitment to public education and bi-partisan collaboration as he worked tirelessly to improve the lives of North Carolina’s students. Her captivating remarks left all in attendance inspired and thinking about the importance of teamwork for the greater good. The following are excerpts from her speech. To see video footage of her full remarks, go here.
“When he was in office, dad was serious about education, rural healthcare, the environment, and economic development. But after leaving office, dad dedicated most of his public service time to the areas of education and economic development. Why? Because he believed that education mattered more to the future of our state than any other area, and without it, there would be no way to build the North Carolina economy for generations to come. In short, education matters. And, dad thought that there were some things that mattered more than others.
Ten key concepts that dad valued:
1. Public schools and universities matter.
2. Kindergarten and early childhood education matter.
3. STEM education matters.
4. Corporate partnerships matter.
5. Technology in instruction matters.
6. Community colleges matter.
7. Affordable public university tuition matters.
8. Protecting the distinctive character and culture of public universities matters – even though
9. Efficiency matters too.
10. And lastly, collaborations matter.
We have to listen in order to understand each other. We have to set aside our own agenda long enough to learn from others. And then when we learn about important initiatives that require money to bring them to fruition, or money to sustain them, legislators have to get creative to find solutions in a balanced budget, to find corporate partners, and to identify economies of scale so we can do more with less.
So yes, there ARE more things that matter than there are dollars to go around. But if we start abandoning things that matter instead of finding solutions, all of North Carolina suffers.
Be willing to come together for the next two days for the sake of education in North Carolina. Listen and ask questions without regard for party priorities. Listen to understand. Read the materials they give you. Think about how you want to impact education for the sake of children, for the advancement of technology in North Carolina, for the development of our economy, and for all of North Carolina. Because my dad would tell you, ‘they’re all connected to education, folks!’
We ask you to commit yourselves to collaborating for the success of every NC student and every NC family. Jim Holshouser’s values about education matter a great deal to me, and I hope they matter to you too.”