During a presentation about how to position North Carolina as a global leader in education to Governor Pat McCrory’s education cabinet members today, new gubernatorial education advisor Eric Guckian called for an aggressive K-12 charter school environment in the state.
Today’s meeting was the second of McCrory’s recently-formed education cabinet, which is tasked with developing concrete policies to improve education in North Carolina and ultimately promoting those policies to the 2014 legislative session.
Guckian, a Teach for America alum and former director of the New Leaders program in Charlotte,laid out his own vision for the state’s education system, in which he called for North Carolina to become the “education leader of the world.”
Guckian presented five pathways for education in North Carolina that included a call to dismantle walls and textbooks for “digital online solutions;” having the business community play a larger role in developing educational pathways; job-embedded professional training for teachers; and basing teachers’ salaries on their “outputs in the field.”
Guckian also hailed Governor McCrory’s early learning agenda, emphasizing the need to support Smart Start and pre-K programs.
McCrory chimed in to agree with Guckian, but cautioned against the use of the term “pre-K,” which he described as “too confusing.” Instead he encouraged saying “early education” when referring to any program that educates children before they enter kindergarten.
Guckian, who most recently led the Charlotte-based New Leaders program that recruits “transformational leaders” to fill principal positions in struggling public schools, said “I’ve been out of the classroom for ten years, I don’t claim to know what’s happening in the classroom.” Relying on community input, he said, was critical to the success of the cabinet’s work.
McCrory’s education cabinet includes university leaders, State Superintendent June Atkinson, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos, among others, but the cabinet does not include any rank and file teachers, counselors or other frontline educators.
Each of the cabinet members is responsible for leading focus groups related to five key areas outlined here. The cabinet will reconvene sometime this summer to discuss the progress made by the focus groups.