RALEIGH – At the Emerging Issues Forum 2018, Kidonomics on Monday, former Governor Jim Hunt summarized the purpose of the meeting.

“We are focusing today on the most important topic there is: Education and building North Carolina,” he said as he prepared to introduce Gov. Roy Cooper.

Cooper continued the discussion on the importance of education to North Carolina’s history and future.

“To meet my mission for the state, we have to emphasize quality education,” said Cooper. “North Carolina could and should be a top ten educated state by 2025.”

To meet this goal, Cooper said the state must focus on getting good teachers in the classroom and good principals at every school.

He also underscored the importance of early childhood development.

“We need to remember, overall, we have to start at the beginning,” said Cooper. “Research time and again tells us early education matters. It matters a lot. There is a demonstrable, quantifiable difference between kids who get it and those who don’t.”

Cooper also stressed the importance of the business community as an important partner in improving education.

“We need the business community to say to the legislature, education is a number one priority, our workforce is a number one priority and investment in pre-k, schools and universities has to be priority over everything else,” he said.