With grateful appreciation, I thank all who have supported our efforts over the past few years to strengthen the state’s largest school system and the 16th largest in America. Through strong leadership we chartered a course “from good to great” as we managed Wake County’s 165 schools, 18,000 employees, 147,000 students, and $1.5 billion budget. Together we trimmed tens of millions of dollars while we protected our dedicated teachers, raised academic outcomes, launched innovative programs and developed one of the largest parental choice assignment plans in our nation.
While these results have been good for the children and taxpayers of Wake County, community leaders from the coast to the mountains recognize that the state of education throughout much of NC remains significantly more challenged. In North Carolina we have had a proud historic commitment to education, however, over the past 10 years we have struggled to keep pace as the digital age unfolds. This reduces opportunities for our children and impacts the strength of our educated workforce. Too many of our NC children still cannot read and nearly 30% are not graduating on time. We rank 4th in the nation in suspensions while we continue to exacerbate a serious school-to-prison pipeline costing our state hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Over the last decade our educational outcomes continued to fall behind international standards and, at best by various selected measures, have climbed only to the middle of the pack among the states. In 2008, our newly elected Governor claimed to be the next “Education Governor”. During her first two years in office, with a Democrat controlled General Assembly by her side, we lost more teacher jobs in this state than we had in the previous quarter century. Short of lotteries and repeated calls for tax increases where our children are used as shields for political gamesmanship, we have seen no real leadership or solutions on these critical issues. The future of our children and our state is too important for gambling and games. More than ever we need real leadership and our teachers need our support. Our children deserve better and our state depends on it.
During recent months community leaders whom I admire and respect from across this great state have asked me to consider bringing my dedication, leadership, and lifetime of passion for helping children to the office of State Superintendent. I am honored by their belief in my tenacity and track record of success. I truly believe that together we can strengthen education in NC. We can and must produce significant measurable results for our students, support parents, empower teachers, reduce bureaucracy, and increase local controls.
In respect to these urgent matters I plan to announce my decision by Thursday, January 26th. Over the coming week my wife and I will be joined by family and friends in serious and prayerful consideration of this state-wide campaign to champion a better education for the children of North Carolina. As I consider this run for State Super-intendent I ask that you keep me and my family in your prayers as well.
Wake County Public School System
Board of Education Representative District 2
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