by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
From a Winston-Salem Journal editorial:
Sometimes when the legislature passes a bill, we just have to ask: What took them so long?
North Carolina’s “Career Ready Education” bill isn’t law yet, but after unanimous state Senate approval and Gov. Pat McCrory’s endorsement, it appears on the fast track. The bill would direct school districts to develop curricula for students more interested in technical and trade jobs after graduation.
Better vocational education has been on the state’s political agenda since at least the 1950s, when the state’s community college system was created to meet the need.
But North Carolina has never followed other states that developed either vocational high schools or rigorous vocational programs in regular high schools.
If there’s been so much discussion but so little action, there must be a reason.
That reason is money.
Former governor Mike Easley (see mugshot photo below) spent eight years trying to convince parents, students, and teachers that all kids needed to go to college. Not only did he write a children’s book about it, he worked with legislative leaders to shift funding to programs with the “college for all” goal in mind. Unfortunately, Governor Bev Perdue never distinguished her Career and College Promise from the Easley plan.