Education reform in North Carolina has a long history, but has shown mixed results at best. Despite recent improvements in some test scores, the state's public schools still deliver poor-quality services at excessive cost to large segments of the student population. Under the state's new ABC plan, nearly half of all public schools in 1996-97 failed to provide a year's worth of educational progress for a year's schooling. Only 26 percent of N.C. 4th-graders are proficient in reading and 21 percent are proficient in math.
Health and human services has become an important government responsibility, second only to education in terms of budget authorization. The disability services system, which serves North Carolina's mentally and physically disabled, receives approximately 17 percent of the funds of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), for a total of $1.25 billion in fiscal 1996.
By N.N. Fullwood, Ph.D.
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