EDUCATION

EDUCATION

I am a product of and a strong supporter of public education. The long-term economic impact of a well-educated and prepared society is immeasurable, but improving education is complex and nuanced.

Issues with school funding and student achievement dropped North Carolina to 40th in the country in a new report card on public education, continuing a downward trend in the rankings for the state.

North Carolina received a C- grade and a score of 70.6 out of a possible 100 in the 2018 Quality Counts report released by Education Week. That’s below the national grade of C and score of 74.5

We are falling behind both nationally and internationally.

All public school students, pre-K through grade 12, need the best in technology, including high-speed internet and safe environments in which to learn. Many school buildings in our district are in need of repair. Some have no internet service or even running water! That’s an outrage.

We need safe schools, resources for students from pre-K through 12th grade, and better-paid teachers. Smaller class sizes and improved opportunities for those with learning differences are also essential. If we are serious about having an educated workforce and electorate, then community colleges and trades schools should be taxpayer funded. This means not diverting taxpayer dollars to private institutions.

Preparing the next generations for leadership—be it in public or private life—should not be done on the cheap. This experiment of choking off our schools in order to make them better must end. I am convinced that if we fund these things like we mean it, our country will be on much stronger footing, both intellectually and economically.

A bit of patience will be required before these changes bear fruit, certainly beyond the next election cycle. We as politicians need to muster the political will to sacrifice the here and now for a better tomorrow. The Greeks, who founded our modern education system, had a proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”  Let us plant those trees now!

I am a product of and a strong supporter of public education. The long-term economic impact of a well-educated and prepared society is immeasurable, but improving education is complex and nuanced.

Issues with school funding and student achievement dropped North Carolina to 40th in the country in a new report card on public education, continuing a downward trend in the rankings for the state.

North Carolina received a C- grade and a score of 70.6 out of a possible 100 in the 2018 Quality Counts report released by Education Week. That’s below the national grade of C and score of 74.5

We are falling behind both nationally and internationally.

All public school students, pre-K through grade 12, need the best in technology, including high-speed internet and safe environments in which to learn. Many school buildings in our district are in need of repair. Some have no internet service or even running water! That’s an outrage.

We need safe schools, resources for students from pre-K through 12th grade, and better-paid teachers. Smaller class sizes and improved opportunities for those with learning differences are also essential. If we are serious about having an educated workforce and electorate, then community colleges and trades schools should be taxpayer funded. This means not diverting taxpayer dollars to private institutions.

Preparing the next generations for leadership—be it in public or private life—should not be done on the cheap. This experiment of choking off our schools in order to make them better must end. I am convinced that if we fund these things like we mean it, our country will be on much stronger footing, both intellectually and economically.

A bit of patience will be required before these changes bear fruit, certainly beyond the next election cycle. We as politicians need to muster the political will to sacrifice the here and now for a better tomorrow. The Greeks, who founded our modern education system, had a proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”  Let us plant those trees now!

To support public education, we need to:

  • Reduce class sizes and assure that ALL classrooms are equipped with the tools necessary to promote learning.
  • Provide opportunities for those with different learning styles.
  • Abandon voucher systems that direct public dollars to private schools.
  • Fund low-cost/free technical colleges will have a long-term positive impact on our communities.
  • Increase funding for public education at all levels.
  • Offer universal Pre-K
  • Improve access to broadband internet both at school and at home
  • Foster innovation in technology use. The smart deployment of technology could empower teachers, engage students, customize learning, and make schools and districts more efficient. Smart use of technology can bring new resources to small/remote schools, allow collaboration, and give students flexibility to proceed at their own pace or delve more deeply on specific topics.

Accessible Higher Education

The cost of higher education is far outpacing inflation and is severely hampering the economic growth of the country. Recent graduates are stuck with an average of $37k in student loan debt, which means they can’t easily invest in larger expenditures such as buying a house or starting a business. The high cost of college is also pushing many people away from attending in the first place, which greatly hinders their own earning ability. Additionally, there are many for-profit colleges that have sprung up to take advantage of this system by preying on students, especially women and people of color.

  • Make all 2 and 4 year public colleges and technical schools tuition free for at least 2 years
  • Allow for student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy
  • Strengthen and increase public service loan forgiveness programs, especially those for teaching and serving in low-income areas
  • Set minimum standards for the student loan servicing industry