As mourners gather in Chapel Hill today to remember UNC President Emeritus Bill Friday, we thought it appropriate to share a few word by Friday from a 2003 report by the Wake Education Partnership:
‘For more than 100 years, public education has helped to shape the backbone of growth and progress in North Carolina. Our public schools have tackled some of the greatest challenges of a state successfully making the transition from a farm and manufacturing economy to one based on technology, services and education.
A major accomplishment that may be attributed to the public schools is the successful desegregation of our society and the civility we enjoy every day. The public schools, and especially our classroom teachers, served on the front line as we marched through the barriers of races and class to overcome a history of separate and unequal educational systems.
Today, public schools thrive in our state as academic standards continue to increase and more students achieve proficiency than ever before. Our public schools continue to serve a unique role in fostering unity and strength within communities. The choice before us now is whether we will renew a commitment to diverse public schools for the benefit of all children and the larger community.
I urge that each of us become actively involved in understanding the value of healthy and diverse public schools that succeed with all children. Our commitment to diverse public schools is a commitment to each other and to the future of North Carolina.’