37 and 44.
Those are North Carolina's numbers for education as of 2019. We are 37th in educational quality and 44th in Student Spending. These two statistics are inevitably linked. What that means is that:
Only 14 states/territories rank worse than NC on educational quality.
Only 6 states/territories rank worse than NC in student spending.
We spend $3,013 lower per student than the US AVERAGE.
These numbers are deplorable.
If you believe, as I do, that education is the bedrock of democracy, we must do better for
students and for our future as a county and a state.
Transparency & Communication
First, concerning parents, no issue of discipline should be resolved without being clearly defined to parents. No parent should ever say, “I was told there was a problem, but I don’t know how or if it was resolved.” Whatever the issue, parents should be in the loop from beginning to end.
Secondly, for employees, there should be clear and concise information especially in the areas of new or permanent employment. Part-time employees should be informed when full-time positions open in the county for which they are eligible. Only using email for this might not be the best way to communicate as some employees are not even aware that employment opportunities are communicated in this manner. How jobs are posted should be clearly explained to employees, so that they are prepared to find them.
Teachers who provide supervision and expertise to after school events such as Science Olympiad teams, clubs, STEM clubs in elementary schools, graduation advisor, prom advisor, etc., should receive additional salary.
These activities take many hours of teachers' time, effort, and often financial contributions. We need to provide a small supplement that shows that their efforts are not taken for granted or go unnoticed. Local counties like New Hanover already have these supplements in place, and we need to consider the ramifications of this as we often lose teachers to New Hanover County where their efforts can afford them many more financial gains. This effort could improve morale and build loyalty. Those are two things that automatically improve a school system.
School Safety focusing on bullying.
There should be an approved counseling program in place to be administered to participants in a bullying issue. The victim should receive help because research shows that the majority of school violence rises from a bullying situation. Also, the bully needs help, as well, as studies show that bullies do not stop. They grow up to be abusive in relationships.
Allow teachers to be the leaders in innovating our schools.
During this pandemic, Brunswick County teachers proved their flexibility, creativity, and leadership. As a board, we should trust teachers to be curriculum leaders in their schools. No county can be a one size fits all educator. Teachers know what their students need and can find innovative and definitive ways to deliver that knowledge.
Let teachers be teachers. Do not confine them to a scripted lesson. Working together, Brunswick County teachers can be leaders in our state in delivering curriculum. Encourage them to take the reins in their schools. You will see a rise in morale among staff, enthusiasm among students, buy-in from parents, and, I believe, improvements in test scores.
Support to our Administrations so that they can follow the rules the board has established for schools.
Administration should have full board support in following procedures in dealing with rules that are established by the board and not adhered to by members of the student body. Schools have spent hours in committee establishing matrices for handling behavioral issues. Each school has multiple levels of intervention to help students learn to comply with the rules. Administration should be supported in following these interventions. No administrator should be penalized for following the interventions set up by their school and approved by the board. Following these interventions should not reflect negatively on his/her evaluations or in any other area.