August 8, 2018
In my years as a school district leader in North Carolina, I was fortunate to witness many successes in our state’s K-12 education system. Those successes include a four-year cohort high school graduation rate that has increased every year for the last twelve years (now 86.5 percent) and a significant increase in the number of students taking and “passing” college-level courses while still in high school (NC students earned proficient scores of three or higher than on more than 71,000 advanced placement exams in 2016-17).
However, as you know, there remains room for continued improvement in the K-12 schools of our state. End-of-grade and-end-of course assessment data, especially when disaggregated by race and socio-economic status, reveal that we must increase our efforts to ensure that all students receive a high-quality education. In addition, while we strive to improve assessment results, we must also be sure to provide a well-rounded education for all students.
As myFutureNC Commissioners endeavor to create a coordinated plan to increase the educational attainment of our citizens, we must consider how policy and practice can address the following issues in K-12 education:
The individual and cumulative effects of these and other issues cause many students, especially students of color and low-income students, to lose momentum or drop off the path to postsecondary education. This negatively impacts our state’s attainment rate and, more importantly, hinders these students’ chances of earning a family-supporting wage.
Although these challenges cannot be understated, I think North Carolina would be better served to consider them opportunities for thoughtful, solution-minded, and collaborative efforts.
If we are able to capitalize on just one of these opportunities, myFutureNC will be a catalyst for significant change for North Carolina students. If we are able to capitalize on all three, the potential for our state is endless.
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