Education

NC superintendent shares predictions for public schools in 2018

Posted January 4, 2018 5:00 a.m. EST
Updated January 23, 2018 6:07 p.m. EST

— As State Superintendent Mark Johnson begins his second year in office, WRAL News asked him to look ahead and share his predictions for North Carolina public schools in 2018.

1) NC educators will see more salary increases.

The salary increases passed in 2017 will continue for the 2018-19 school year. That means raises for teachers, principals, and assistant principals. Educators at all levels also have opportunities to receive additional compensation based on student success and working in hard-to-staff positions.

2) We will set forth on public education’s transformation into the Digital Age with personalized learning and career pathways for students.

Our society uses adaptive technology to personalize our news, shopping, social media, entertainment options, and even fast-food orders. In 2018, we continue the journey of adding the right amount of adaptive technology to schools to reduce burdens on teachers and reduce over-testing in classrooms.

We will lead the transformation from one-size-fits-all, Industrial Age practices of providing all students and educators with the same inputs and opportunities to Digital Age practices in which students and educators have access to unique learning experiences based upon their individual needs and aspirations.

To further personalize education for students, we will eliminate the false notion that only students who go to college can “succeed.” Through initiatives we championed in 2017 such as Future Ready Students, we will increase awareness of all pathways to success such as a career after graduation, military service, or attending college.

3) Early childhood literacy support, including the NC Reads program, will expand.

In 2017 we launched a statewide reading initiative, NC Reads, that targets reading support to preschoolers and students. NC Reads highlights community literacy programs and connects volunteers and donors to local opportunities to get books in children’s hands so that they learn the joy and importance of reading from an early age. Ensuring all children can read is a moral, societal, and economic imperative.

We have very exciting plans for 2018 to increase early childhood literacy success. Stay tuned.

4) The My Future NC Commission will mean more collaboration and better plans.

We are working with the UNC system, the N.C. Community College system, and education, philanthropy, and business leaders to analyze education opportunities and goals from birth to beyond high school. We will provide a report on the educational attainment goals North Carolina must pursue. We will also make recommendations on how to overcome obstacles and meet the goals. The foundation we are laying in 2018 will guide collaboration among education leaders over the next generation and advance our work in early childhood literacy and career pathways.

5) We will make NC’s school report cards even better and more useful.

One of the things I have heard from parents and educators on my tour of North Carolina’s schools is that while the state’s report cards for schools and districts could contain a lot of good information, they were hard to understand and difficult to compare schools. We completely revamped the report cards at www.schoolreportcards.nc.gov to make them more user-friendly and better tell a school’s full story. We have gotten good reviews on the redesign, but expect even more improvements in 2018.

6) Public education governance will receive a much-needed shot of accountability.

The State Board of Education’s wasteful lawsuit will finally come to an end this year. I am optimistic the North Carolina Supreme Court will uphold the unanimous decision of the three-judge panel so that a new era of accountability and leadership can begin for our education system, which is what voters demanded over a year ago.