What Politicians in Raleigh Failed to Address in Education
While the state legislature may have wrapped up its 2015 session, one of the longest in history, they left several important items untouched. The continuous drop in teacher pay and career quality, and subsequently a drop in the number of Education majors, continues to plague our state. On top of these issues, teachers often lack access to technology, or to training which would allow them to utilize new and innovative methods of interaction with their students.The legislature also decided to leave issues in pre-K education, and private-school voucher accountability untouched. In short, there's a lot of work left to do.
Two indicators point to the daunting challenge still to be fully addressed. The UNC Educator Quality Dashboard shows that education majors across the state university system dropped from 23,641 in 2010 to 17,111 in 2014 – with declines among both undergraduates and master’s-degree students. And, just as the legislature neared adjournment, the WalletHub website ranked North Carolina below every state except West Virginia in its “2015 Best and Worst States for Teachers.” Argue with the methodology all you want, North Carolina should not absorb more such hits to its reputation.
Among the questions that define unfinished business in the digital sphere: Does state government, or local governments, pay for laptops and other devices? At a time when the state has diminished support for professional development, can it turn around and provide robust training for teachers in using technology to deliver content to students? And will the legislature fund the state’s overall ambition for “universal connectivity?
The unfinished business is to put vouchers to the rigorous tests of accountability and effectiveness expected for the use of public money in education.
The unfinished business in early childhood development is to bolster pre-K in age-appropriate ways to get young people ready for kindergarten — and on a glide path to reading to learn as they emerge from third grade.