Good Work: James B. Hunt Edition

Jim Hunt served four terms as governor of North Carolina and has a beautiful library (pictured) named after him on the NCSU campus.  He’s the nicest guy I’ve ever met, but he’s angry.  In January, he said, “America and North Carolina must do better at educating our people–don’t ever stop thinking about it, don’t stop being mad about it.” Hunt noted the improvement in the North Carolina graduation rate to 83%–but not a level anyone should be satisfied with particularly because many graduates that go on to college require remedial education.
Hunt is the most important and longest serving advocate of national standards. “Common Core are high and rigorous standards that will help us compete with the rest of the world,” said the former governor.  He reminded the audience, “They are State Standards–developed by the states.” He’s angry these days about the disingenuous attacks on common reading, writing and math standards–barbs and backtracks that are purely politically motivated.
Referencing the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty, Hunt said we won’t win the war on poverty unless we embrace higher standards and take advantage of great potential of technology to help students learn, to measure learning, and to report on learning.  Common standards give all students a shot at college and family wage jobs.  They are a big improvement over the hodgepodge of expectations developed state by state. In addition to being a platform for equity, common standards are a platform for innovation–the first time that teachers in these United States have been able to share tools and resources across state lines.
Shout Outs. I talked with 9 extraordinary contributors this week:

These 9 are going good work and have made big contributions to better and more equitable schools and colleges for American students.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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