Every child has the potential to achieve great things. It is the duty of the school system to provide a quality education to help them reach those potentials.
Expect Excellence in Education – Wake County Public School System is the 15th largest in the nation, with a budget of $2.1 Billion. Graduation rate is over 90%, yet reading and math proficiency scores are actually declining. We need to raise the level of expectation for academic performance, so that children will be ready for whatever the future holds.
- Fund early literacy programs that use evidence-based reading instruction methods.
- Bring back textbooks, which can be used to reinforce learning at home.
- Provide after-school tutoring programs to overcome learning loss.
- Return to time-tested curriculum like classic literature, cursive-writing, and traditional math, along with civics, and a balanced account of history.
Support and Retain Teachers – These last few years have shown that teachers need our support more than ever. Teachers are passionate about their profession. If they are to prepare the next generation for success, we need to provide them the tools to do so.
- Provide resources for classroom improvement and allot time and funding for continuing education.
- Allow teachers to focus on teaching. They are more effective when they don’t have to be social workers, mental health workers, or healthcare specialists as well.
- Advocate for competitive teacher pay that adjusts to cost of living increases.
Empower Parents – One of the best predictors of student academic success is to have parents be involved in their children’s education. Many parents are eager to play an active role.
- Allow parents back in the schools as volunteers and helpers
- Let parents have advanced access to curriculum outline
- Engage parents to partner with teachers to find solutions and opportunities for improvement
Increase Transparency – There has been an erosion of mutual trust and respect between the school system and the parents. An atmosphere of openness will help begin to rebuild that trust and respect.
- Maintain parents’ final authority to opt-out of course material that they find objectionable.
- Respect parents’ right to know about the health of their children. Medical decisions that have lasting impact on children are best left to the parents
Promote Special Education Reform – Special education has been impacted dramatically by the pandemic, but in reality the cry for improvement has been going on for many years.
- Reexamine the IEP process. Greater collaboration between parents and schools at the outset can reduce frustration and improve outcome.
- Address the chronic underfunding problem. Staffing shortages in teachers, assistants, and transportation services are undermining the children’s right to an education as stated in the North Carolina Constitution.
Ensure School Safety – Parents, teachers, and students all need to feel that schools are a safe place to learn. The school board should empower and support principals, teachers, and parents to come up with solutions that address each school’s unique safety concerns.
- Expand funding of School Resource Officers to cover all schools.
- Provide regular drills and tabletop safety training for school teachers and staff
- Shore up school structural safety with the latest security solutions.
All of these goals will cost money, but I believe we can achieve them by Reimagining the WCPSS Budget through reviewing program efficacy and recalibrating priorities.