RALEIGH – More attention should be paid to what happens inside Wake County’s classrooms, and not only to how or where we build more classroom space, according to an annual independent review of the public’s schools from Wake Education Partnership. Wake Ed, a local education advocacy organization, released Quality Matters 2006 today at a meeting of elected officials and other school leaders at Kilpatrick Stockton. The report has been issued annually since 2001.

“Most of our community’s attention in 2006 centered on constructing schools and adding seats for new students,” said Jay Silver, chair of the Quality Matters Committee and partner with Kilpatrick Stockton. “While these issues are important, they draw public attention away from critical issues related to student performance. The next level of success will not come easily. The challenges on the horizon require time, attention, and even money—all of which are in limited supply.”

Despite past successes in Wake County public school performance, significant challenges continue to confront our schools, including enrollment growth, student achievement and school funding. Among the findings in Quality Matters 2006, supported by data and research included in the report:

  • WCPSS should utilize all available data that can provide meaningful and powerful information about our schools, including the results of the N.C. Teacher Working Conditions Survey.
  • WCPSS should provide teachers with the opportunity to grow in their profession and utilize their talents to bring up the next generation of teachers, while still making a difference in the lives of students.
  • The state of North Carolina must fully fund extra resources for all identified special needs students and should extend to school systems the same tax benefits it extends to other state agencies and education entities.
  • WCPSS must make sure that education dollars are being used in the most efficient and effective ways.
  • WCPSS should conduct periodic assessments of the magnet programs to ensure that the policies and programs are meeting the needs of the community.
  • Our community and WCPSS must provide learning environments that are safe, healthy and supportive of instructional excellence.
  • Our community, along with WCPSS, must ensure that all students are encouraged to achieve at high levels and provided with appropriate resources and opportunities.

“We hope that Quality Matters will refocus our community’s attention on questions we need to be talking about in 2007 such as: How successful are our students? What should we be doing to strengthen teaching quality? How well does our community fund the needs of our schools?” Silver said.

Members of the Board of Commissioners, Board of Education, and the Superintendent’s Leadership Team attended the briefing, as well as members of the Partnership’s Board of Directors.

Quality Matters is the result of a year-long study of key issues related to academic performance and funding of the Wake County Public School System. It provides data, research and recommendations for what we must do as a community to ensure that students can learn better, teachers can teach better, and how school leaders can be more effective in building a system where quality truly continues to matter. The report is a collaborative advocacy effort researched and written by business, civic, and education leaders convened by Wake Education Partnership.

To download a copy of the full report or the executive summary, please visit www.WakeEdPartnership.org.

Wake Education Partnership is an advocacy organization dedicated to making world-class schools possible in Wake County through business and community involvement. We play a critical role in bringing people together, raising the level of discussion through capacity building, and brokering information and relationships around key issues in public education. Founded in 1983 by Raleigh’s leading business, civic and political leaders, Wake Education Partnership serves as an independent link between the school system and the community to promote public responsibility for globally competitive schools in Wake County. Programs for 2006-07 focus on retaining effective teachers, developing effective education leaders, and ensuring healthy schools for all students. For more information, please visit www.WakeEdPartnership.org.

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