Growing up in North Carolina, I was fortunate to attend great public schools. At that time, North Carolina was a national leader in education. Our state leaders and educators embarked on crucial work to set ambitious learning standards, implement school accountability systems, increase access to quality preschool programs, and bring teacher salaries and education spending in line with the rest of the nation. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, our state made stronger learning gains than any other state in the country.
But in recent years, we’ve fallen behind—behind other states, and behind other nations. We’ve begun to unravel our own proud history of support for great teaching, public education spending, and most importantly, excellent learning opportunities for every child. An increasingly ideological and partisan conversation about public schooling across the state has led to fractured reforms that tinker around the edges but hold little promise to dramatically improve every student’s shot at a great education.
That’s why today I am excited to announce the launch of CarolinaCAN: The North Carolina Campaign for Achievement Now.
CarolinaCAN’s mission is to bridge the gap between North Carolina’s policies and students’ needs, to ensure that every child in the state has access to a great public school. We’ve formed to build on North Carolina’s great history by engaging today’s education leaders in a statewide conversation about North Carolina’s vision for public schooling, and to inform that vision with research, data and best practices that really move the needle for kids.
But we can’t reach our goals without your help. You can take three steps to start building better schools today:
- Get the facts: Take a virtual tour of North Carolina public schools in our interactive report, ‘The State of North Carolina Public Education.’
- Get involved: Visit www.carolinacan.org/yearoftheteacher to learn more about our policy recommendations to help make 2013 the Year of the Teacher, and how you can take part.
- Get the word out: Help spread the word and build North Carolina’s movement by liking us on Facebook and following @NCarolinaCAN on Twitter.
With your help, we can again lead the nation in education, driven by an ambitious vision for what we want all of our students to achieve in the 21st century, and the role that great schools play in that future. Because great schools change everything.