Local Tech Wire STEM News

DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue highlighted the initiative to more than 200 business and education leaders last week at the N.C. Chamber Education Summit at the Sheraton Imperial in Durham.

During her 10-minute talk on Thursday, Aug. 5, she touched on the importance of collaboration among the business and education communities and highlighted her education agenda aimed at helping students graduate high school with what it really takes to succeed in a career, in college, or in technical training – regardless of zip code.

Gov. Perdue initially announced “Career and College – Ready, Set, Go!” in a speech to a Joint Session of North Carolina’s Educational Governing Boards in Kannapolis in January.

The framework for this program addresses key educational challenges currently facing North Carolina with the overarching goal of preparing every student for the 21st century.

Perdue’s plan focuses on three key milestones in every student’s career:

Ready: Enter school healthy and ready to learn through good early childhood programs – like “Smart Start” and “More at Four” – and make progress year after year – until they master reading and math by the end of third grade.

Set: Raise expectations for students and raise the bar for academic success in this global economy.

Go: Students must graduate high school with a firm foundation and clear pathway to success in a career, college, or technical training.

“I’ve said it again and again – my No. 1 priority is saving and creating jobs – and I will continue to do everything I can do to help all of us create jobs here in North Carolina,” said Gov. Perdue during the Education Summit. “But, no matter how much we focus on jobs, we can never forget the quality of our workforce and our recruitment efforts are linked inextricably to the quality of our education.”

By tying the success of our children in public schools to their ongoing success at the post-secondary level and in the world of work, the governor reiterated that education is an economic issue.

North Carolina’s graduation rate increased slightly this year – from 71.7 percent to 74.2 percent. That’s a positive step, Perdue said, but it doesn’t address the need to increase the quality of a North Carolina high school diploma.

Perdue also noted that North Carolina universities and community colleges spend more than $30 million on remediation for students coming from high school and that too many North Carolina businesses have trouble finding employees with the skills they must have today to go straight to work.

Perdue explained the value of North Carolina’s adoption of a set of “Common Core Standards” along with 48 other states, as a key move to help the state education systems prepare a globally competitive workforce. She also said reallocation of resources will be necessary to fund this initiative and hopes federal stimulus money will help.

“Every kid – no matter where he or she lives in North Carolina – must graduate from high school with what it really takes to succeed in a career, in a two-or four-year college, or technical training,” the governor reiterated.

Read a full transcript of Gov. Perdue’s speech on .

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