Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee Hears From UNC System President On myFutureNC Commssion
On Tuesday, the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee met to discuss the myFutureNC commission and program. Margaret Spellings, President of the University of North Carolina system and Co-Chair of the myFutureNC commission, presented the committee with a report on the commissions current timeline, goals, and commission structure.
According to Ms. Spellings, myFutureNC has one main goal: “to develop a multi-year education plan that recommends a robust attainment goal for the state and a broad-based agenda for a stronger and more competitive North Carolina.” The commission is comprised of a diverse range of experts, including leaders in education, business, philanthropy, faith‐based and nonprofit communities, ex‐officio representatives from the North Carolina General Assembly and Governor’s office, and North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson.
She presented the committee with some startling statistics about NC students. For example, of 100 ninth graders, only 72 typically intend to continue their education, but only 30 will graduate in 6 years with either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Ms. Spellings stated that North Carolina is one of “just five states without a statewide goal for how many of our citizens need some form of education beyond high school” and that we need to generate a plan for our students to go from Pre-K to post-secondary school in order to generate credentials for students and a viable 21st-century workforce to drive economic mobility in rural and urban areas in NC.
Ms. Spellings stated that the commission’s goal is simple but will be difficult to accomplish. They will work until the long session of the General Assembly in 2019 to generate methods of addressing some of the issues they find through research and to make recommendations to legislators. The commission will hold listening sessions that “are designed to hear from communities about what they perceive as their region’s economic strengths and identify the education opportunities that are most needed to capitalize on those strengths.” They also plan to release scholarly papers that outline the barriers NC students face and what improvements might be beneficial in overcoming them.
Committee members then asked Ms. Spellings questions regarding goals, methodology, and even how to help support our teachers in the process. Rep. Bobbie Richardson (D-Franklin) asked, “How do we support those teachers who are already in the classroom that may not have had that pathway to success?” Ms. Spellings stated that this commission is looking broadly at all the gaps and soft spots in our system and so far, they have worked to identify those issues. She also stated that in order to better serve our students, we need to have “super good data about our system.” Co-Chair Sen. Chair Barefoot (R-Wake) stated that the current General Assembly has worked very hard to improve education and will continue to do so.