ACCESS: Restore schools to their communities and give parents a greater voice in their children’s education
North Carolina’s one-size-fits-all approach to education is failing both our state’s brightest and most needy students. These students require greater access to differing educational programs tailored to their individual strengths and weaknesses. In order to be responsive to the needs of our students, we need a school system that encourages choice, change and innovation. Instead of increased centralization and bureaucracy, we must transform our schools into diverse learning communities that can adapt to new challenges and create new opportunities for success.
ACCESS for Students and Parents:
– Develop intradistrict public school choice programs to encourage healthy competition among schools and provide students with more diverse educational opportunities. Under such programs, students would be allowed to attend any school in their district, with state money following the student when he/she changes schools.
What Voters Like:
|• Developing 9th grade transition programs to reduce the dropout rate (78%)
• Giving parents the right to choose which school their children attend (75%)
• Lifting the cap on charter schools (47% agree, 21% unsure)
– Partner with nonprofit and other organizations that have a proven track record of helping at-risk students succeed.
– Expand magnet school programs to offer opportunities for concentrated study in specific areas.
– Fully implement the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Charter Schools, including allowing new charter schools above the current 100-school cap. More than 5,000 children, many of them from low-income families, are currently on charter school waiting lists. Most U.S. states either do not cap charter school growth or permit a set number of new schools to open each year.
– Provide tax credits and deductions to parents or corporations who invest in approved education expenses, such as books, tutors, tuition, and academic afterschool programs. These changes will expand and improve educational opportunities for many middle- and low-income families whose children attend underperforming schools.
A Culture of Achievement
S-Cubed Team – Pickens, South Carolina. Pickens Middle School has developed an innovative plan to help low-performing middle school students succeed. Fifty-seven students who scored the lowest on South Carolina’s Palmetto Achievement Test (PACT) were selected to receive additional teaching help and resources. The program quickly became known among students and teachers as the “S-Cubed Team – Students Seeking Success.”