New report shows that only 31 percent of North Carolina 8th graders are proficient in reading
SPECIAL TO THE WILMINGTON JOURNAL
CarolinaCAN: The North Carolina Campaign for Achievement Now launched today as an education reform advocacy organization with the release of its inaugural ‘State of North Carolina Public Education’ report.
The 2013 report shows that a lot of work needs to be done for all of our children to compete. Key findings include:
- Only 60 percent of North Carolina’s low-income fourth-graders are meeting standards in reading. By the time they reach eighth grade, low-income students fall a full 26 percentage points behind their higher-income peers.
- North Carolina ranks 45th in the nation in our spending on public schools, at just $8,312 per pupil, compared to the national average of $10,560.
- Between 2008 and 2012, North Carolina’s ranking among states for providing access to high-quality pre-school programs fell from 16 to 23.
CarolinaCAN’s mission is to close the achievement gaps that divide our students by fostering a shared, ambitious vision of public schools across North Carolina. This vision will be based on trusted research and bipartisan policy work dedicated to providing every child in North Carolina with access to a great public school.
“There was a time when North Carolina led the nation in public schooling,” said CarolinaCAN Executive Director Julie Kowal. “But in recent years, we’ve fallen behind—in our support for great teaching, in public education spending and, as this report shows, in providing excellent learning opportunities for every child. We have a responsibility to bring data, reason and research to North Carolina’s education policies, to ensure that every child in our state has access to a great public school.”
David Gergen, a North Carolina native, professor of public service and a former presidential advisor, will co-chair the CarolinaCAN advisory board. “North Carolina’s prosperity as a state depends on cultivating a highly educated workforce,” says Gergen. “CarolinaCAN is leading the charge, using innovative research and bipartisan policy work to support the growth of high-quality public school options. With ambition and vision, CarolinaCAN is working tirelessly to close the student achievement gap.”
Eric Guckian, Senior Education Advisor to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, adds “North Carolina needs to renew a statewide conversation about education reform and to ground that conversation in the facts. We are committed to driving a bold agenda here in North Carolina, and CarolinaCAN provides the unbiased analysis of best practices and lessons learned that will help North Carolina go further faster. There is no other reform entity like CarolinaCAN in our state and it’s essential that this organization has a robust presence for many years to come. ”
Julie Kowal has been named CarolinaCAN’s founding executive director. Born and raised in the Tar Heel State, Kowal is a national education policy expert on charter schools, school turnarounds, and teacher and leader quality. She comes to CarolinaCAN from the North Carolina-based education policy and consulting firm Public Impact, where she consulted and led project teams on a variety of education issues. Prior to Public Impact, Kowal served as a research assistant at the UNC Center for Civil Rights and the UNC School of Government and directed an after-school writing program in 23 Washington, D.C. public elementary schools.
Kowal has also written and published widely on topics ranging from school turnaround strategy to effective educator evaluation to innovative teacher compensation systems. An alumna of AmeriCorps NCCC and Public Allies DC, Kowal earned her bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and her law degree with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.