A recent report published by the NC Center for Public Policy Research concludes that North Carolina is facing a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention. But neither the data on projected student enrollment growth nor teacher retention rates justify such a harsh assessment. Clearly teacher recruitment and retention is a challenge that will always have to be met. The best approach is to reward those teachers who best foster achievement and to differentiate salaries among teachers according to supply and demand conditions in different disciplines.
A 2003 report from JLF and the NC Education Alliance looked at the availability and use of parental choice in the state. In 69 of 117 districts, parents had no public-school choice options. Eighty-seven percent of students in grades 3 to 8 attended public schools, with about 15 percent of all 3-8 students were enrolled in a public school of choice (including charters). About 6 percent of 3rd to 8th grade students were home schooled, and another 7 percent attended a private school outside the home.
This fifth annual report on schools from the North Carolina Education Alliance shows that many school districts in the state made progress in 2001-02. It also shows that many of the failing school systems from 2000-01 were still performing in the failing range again last year. Official results of statewide testing are reported annually in the Department of Public Instruction’s ABCs of Public Education. End-of-grade tests for elementary students and end-of-course tests for high school students are the only exams administered statewide each year. As such, information about public schools is focused on the results of these exams. Grading Our Schools offers a different lens for studying test results and other performance data. As an additional information tool, we hope it will allow parents and taxpayers to better evaluate student performance in North Carolina’s public schools.
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