N.C. Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger and House Republican Leader Paul Stam issued a joint press release today calling for education reform, following the announcement that the state ranked 30th in the nation in the “Report Card on American Education” released today by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
ALEC, a national nonprofit association of state legislators and policy advocates — considered to be ideologically conservative — issued their report based on fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores, as well as SAT and ACT college-entrance testing scores. The Joint Caucus press release notes that, according to extensive data going back to 1987, there is “no direct correlation between public funding and achievement.” North Carolina scores have ranged from 29 to 32 since 2001, down from a low of 40 in 2000.
Initiatives the Republican lawmakers are supporting include:
• Require the use of national normed testing to provide consistency in measuring academic progress.
• Reward our best teachers with merit and differential pay rather than the current system of pay based on longevity and credentials.
• Enhance career, technical and vocation programs in high schools.
• Eliminate the current cap on charter schools to allow families to exercise greater educational options for their children.
“North Carolina’s graduation rate is abysmal,” according to Berger. “When one-in-three students are failing to graduate on time from our public schools, the future economic viability of North Carolina is at risk. This survey confirms that despite huge public expenditures, North Carolina’s schools and North Carolina’s elected leaders are failing our parents and students.”
The Republicans plan to introduce their legislative initiatives over the next few weeks. To view a snapshot of ALEC’s N.C. report card, click here.
— Nelda Holder, associate editor