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:
- Judy Rizzo directs the Hunt Institute (@Hunt_Institute ), the leading voice for consistently high college and career ready expectations.
- Former NYC Chancellor Harold Levy recently took over the helm of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, one of the few foundations focused on college access for talented low income students.
- Bryan Hassel, Public Impact, the Malcolm Gladwell of education and whose team is thinking hard about next gen school designs.
- Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates, one of the fastest growing EdTech companies harnessing for-profit power with nonprofit purpose.
- Marcy Driscoll, Dean, College of Education, Florida State University, who is leading a focus on innovation and edupreneurship.
- Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators and Global Achievement Gap.
- New Hampshire commissioner Virginia Barry, is a leading advocate of competency-based education.
- Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University which launched competency-based LMS Motivis last week.
- Austin Sarat is an associate dean at Amherst and the kind of humanities teacher you hope your kid gets for spending the big bucks on college.
These 9 are going good work and have made big contributions to better and more equitable schools and colleges for American students.