Local News

Think tank: Invest in NC's teachers, increase graduation rates

Posted February 28, 2011 6:38 p.m. EST
Updated March 19, 2012 5:51 a.m. EDT

— A nonprofit think tank of business, education and government leaders say North Carolina needs to focus more on improving the quality of the state’s teaching force and reducing the high school dropout rate.

The Public School Forum of North Carolina on Monday released a report that resulted from a year-long study of state education policies.

Among its recommendations is establishing a consistent approach to teaching.

“Right now, we have 2,500 schools,” the Public School Forum’s executive director, John Dornan, said. “We have literally hundreds of different approaches to teaching reading and math. Some are good; some are terrible.”

Dornan said the group believes the state also needs to make teaching a more attractive profession.

“I'm saying: Run it like a business,” he said. “There is such a thing as supply and demand. Math and science people are in high demand. We're going to have to pay more to get them.”

On improving graduation rates, Public School Forum’s report suggests lengthening the school day in elementary and middle schools that feed into high schools with below-average graduation rates.

Citing the success of early-education programs such as Smart Start and More at Four, the group also recommends putting more resources into pre-schools and elementary schools up to grade three.

It cites studies that show that if students are falling behind by third grade their chance of catching up is slim, unless schools act.

The group now plans to send its recommendations to state lawmakers and state school officials for review.