State News

N.C. Chamber asks how business can improve education

Posted August 5, 2010 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated August 5, 2010 12:33 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina’s business, political and education elites huddled Thursday to talk about how business could help schools do a better job of developing better workers.

North Carolina Chamber of Commerce President Lew Ebert said the goal of the summit in Durham is to explore how the education and business communities can "improve the learning experiences and job outcomes for students."

Jim Hunt, who was governor from 1977-1985 and 1993-2001, urged the N.C. Chamber to support four efforts to improve schools:

  • "rigorous and accurate" testing of student learning throughout the year
  • "fair" pay for teachers based, in part, on "how well their students are learning"
  • better training, mentoring and professional development for teachers
  • "reasonable diversity" in schools

A panel discussion about how business can promote K-12 education followed Hunt's remarks.

Discussion also centered around North Carolina's graduation rate, post-high school education and American education's global ranking.

Dennis Bega, a senior policy adviser with the U.S. Department of Education, said that further academic or vocational training after high school is increasingly necessary for North Carolinians to "take advantage of the opportunities that the new economies are creating."

Scheduled speakers at the daylong conference include Gov. Beverly Perdue, Cynthia Marshall, president of AT&T of North Carolina and chair of the N.C. Chamber, and Stan Litow, IBM's vice president of corporate citizenship and president of the IBM International Foundation.