McCrory wants unified voice on education

Posted April 17, 2013

— The first meeting of Gov. Pat McCrory's education cabinet Wednesday had the vibe of a corporate start-up or maybe a newly elected city council, with the governor parceling out assignments and committee work to the seven-member panel.

Created in 1992, the cabinet is meant to ensure various educational institutions are talking to one another. Although Gov. Bev Perdue rolled out her cabinet's work to great fanfare, it did not meet during the last 30 months of her administration.

"We need to be all part of the same team because, to the public, we are," McCrory told the group.

During the meeting, which was mainly taken up with administrative matters, McCrory indicated he would like leaders of the public school, university, community college and pre-kindergarten systems to work together on budgets in the future, to share ideas about funding and policy priorities and to speak to lawmakers with one voice. 

"Wouldn't it be nice, down the road maybe, (if) we can help do the budget together ... have an education budget as opposed to a university budget or a K-12 budget," McCrory said. "I really found that to be a weakness in the budget process."

He expressed some befuddlement with the array of education working groups defined by law and why the cabinet hasn't worked together more often.

University of North Carolina President Tom Ross referenced the last round of education cabinet meetings "falling apart" and told the governor that his work would be key.

"You're involvement sends a great signal," Ross said. 

As McCrory was meeting with his cabinet, lawmakers were moving education reform legislation two blocks away. A bill that would do away with class-size limits in public schools cleared a Senate committee during the cabinet meeting. 

Asked if he thought lawmakers ought to slow their work, McCrory said no.

"I think there's a sense of urgency," he said. "I think part of the problem is we have not had a process within the executive branch, withing the education community, to work together and give feedback and facts to the legislature. The legislature has to do its work."

One of the biggest changes to K-12 education being debated right now deals with what is commonly known as "teacher tenure" or career status for teachers. A Senate bill would wipe out the career status system in favor of putting teachers on contracts that run a maximum of three years. A bipartisan House bill uses a probationary/non-probationary system that teachers groups say is better.

McCrory declined to weigh in on the debate, saying only that the current system needs to change. 

"I do believe that the current system is not as effective as it should be," he said. "If we don't change, we're going to get the same results. So, I'm looking at new ways to help evaluate not only individual teachers, but schools and universities."


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Apex E Apr 17, 2013

    Fair Play-Could it be that the students of today are raised in a different world and have different challenges to meet than the baby boomers? The expectations of schools today are high and our state is successful despite the ramblings of Governor McCrory and his merry henchman. Fourth Graders in our state currently rank 12th, top quarter in the country, when compared to students in other states using common assessments. If you had been tested and instructed like the students are today in school then you would have had teacher assistants in your classroom back when you had to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow. This administrations blatant attacks on public education are growing old and tired. Fortunately, I think that people are peeved enough that GA members like Jerry Tillman are going to get the boot in 2014 and McCrory isn't going to be far behind.

  • tracmister Apr 17, 2013

    FairPlay, we survived in the past because parents disciplined their students in schools and when they didn't, the schools did. In today's world getting rid of a disruptive student is harder than getting rid of a tenured teacher in New York State. That is the festering problem created by politics in the last ten years. Therefore smaller class sizes are needed unless you want to lead the charge on zero tolerance for behavior problems in the schools.

  • FairPlay Apr 17, 2013

    Teacher tenure needs to go on all levels and just like private sector pay and staying hired should be based on performance.

    On class size baby boomers did just fine in large classes and no teacher assistants. It can be done again. People have gotten wimpy at dealing with this and no good student improvement records have come from small classes with assistants.

    "silos" are a business term and it means there are different entities. All he is saying is they have to work together.

  • jason19 Apr 17, 2013

    I swear, it seems like McCrory totally does not understand that public schools, community colleges, and universities have different missions, different demographics, and different reasons for being. Stop with your "silo" nonsense. If they could share so many resources and budgets, THEY WOULD ALREADY BE DOING IT. Please please please move on to something worthwhile.

  • tracmister Apr 17, 2013

    It's amazing the damage that is being done to our children by thoughtless measures brought up by the current party in power. Really, eliminate class sizes?

  • babbleon1 Apr 17, 2013

    "A bill that would do away with class size limits in public schools cleared as Senate committee during the cabinet meeting. "

    Because who cares if there's 40 second graders and one teacher? It just makes Pope & Luddy's private schools more attractive.