by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
This press release from Greene County Schools is a bit much.
When in the right hands, great challenge can bring great gifts. As a high poverty district in North Carolina, Greene County Schools confronts funding and equity issues constantly. Yet, they have been fortunate to have leadership relentlessly committed to serving all students. The spirit of Greene County Schools is one of “together, we can do it” optimism and resolve, as well as one of great inspiration to schools that feel stuck or blocked by resource limitations.
The innovation it unleashed, caught the eye of AASA (The School Superintendents Association) and SPN (Successful Practices Network), who selected GCS as one of the most innovative school districts in the United States. In a newly released case study, educators can read how GCS has unlocked—from leadership all the way to students—an unyielding commitment to and talent for finding a way.
In 2017, AASA and SPN joined forces to search nationwide for the districts challenging the status quo to find groundbreaking and original ways to meet students’ changing and complex needs. The intention is to celebrate bold innovators in education and report their experiences in case studies to benefit of all educators. Throughout 2018, all 25 case studies will be released to educators wanting to learn from the successes of these districts.
While I applaud their inclusion on the AASA and SPN list, the district does not have funding “issues.” In 2017, the total per-student expenditure was $10,246.63, which is over $1,000 higher than the state average. The design of our public education funding system ensures that districts in low-income counties receive a disproportionate amount of funding from the state and federal government.