All middle school teachers in North Carolina have to teach physical science, which is required for middle school students in NC public schools. Unfortunately, over 80% have never taken a physical science course and many of those who have, have taken a course that is of no help to their students. Naturally, with their limited backgrounds, they hare heavily dependent on the materials they are given to teach from. In addition, in many instances these materials form the teacher’s own introduction to the subjects. It is especially important, therefore, that the textbooks and other materials that teachers and students are forced to use get it right.
North Carolina lawmakers are once again coming to Raleigh to grapple with a projected deficit exceeding $1 billion. A close examination of fiscal trends demonstrates that excessive spending, not inadequate revenue, is the cause and that the state budget continues to be bloated with wasteful or low-priority expenditures. Policymakers must show courage, be willing to apply fundamental principles, and target major areas of state spending for savings and reform.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a private organization formed in 1987 with the goal of establishing standards for teaching effectiveness and certifying those teachers it identified as especially capable. NBPTS has written standards that purport to show what accomplished teachers “should know and be able to do” and has established a certification procedure that relies on videotapes, portfolios and written essays. There are currently more than 16,000 National Board certified teachers in the United States, more than 20% of them in North Carolina.
By the Numbers 2003: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties is the fourth in a series of studies that examine local taxes, fees, and charges in every North Carolina communities. Charlotte ranks first among major cities in combined local government costs per person, with Hickory, Durham, Wilmington, and Cary rounding up the top tier. Among large urban counties, Durham and Mecklenburg have relatively high costs as a percentage of personal income.
Former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith said that one of the greatest challenges facing local government is how to do more with less. This is certainly true for local governments in North Carolina. In the past two years, they have had to adjust to significantly more stringent budgetary constraints. This was brought on, in large part, by Governor Easley’s decision to withhold state reimbursements to counties and municipalities. Because of this localities are being forced to find innovative ways to balance their budgets.