RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.--(’s dropout crisis and the importance of technology in education. At the NC Department of Public Instruction’s quarterly meeting of superintendents and education leaders, Goodnight emphasized the need to increase student engagement, highlighting current efforts under way in the state.)--SAS CEO Jim Goodnight today discussed the state
“It’s not just student competitiveness at stake; American competitiveness in a global economy is threatened”
North Carolina's 2008 graduation rate was 70 percent, leaving nearly one-third of students without a high school diploma, the essential credential for the workplace and for further education. Those students face an uphill battle, according to Goodnight.
“Statistics show that students lacking a high school diploma experience lower wages, higher unemployment, and increased likelihood of criminal activity,” said Goodnight.
High dropout rates also decrease the talent pool. Employers needing skilled workers in today’s knowledge economy must look outside the state or the country for qualified employees.
“It’s not just student competitiveness at stake; American competitiveness in a global economy is threatened,” he said.
However, there is good news. North Carolina ranks first nationally for number and percentage of national board-certified teachers, and seventh in Education Week’s listing of state efforts to improve teacher quality. Goodnight highlighted promising efforts to increase student engagement already under way.
For instance, the North Carolina 1:1 Laptop Pilot initiative provides 21st-century resources to teachers and students at several North Carolina high schools. Lessons learned in the pilot will be applied as the program is expanded. The initiative is a public-private partnership of the Golden Leaf Foundation, SAS, the North Carolina General Assembly, the governor, the New Schools Project, the NC Department of Public Instruction and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.
Goodnight also lauded the North Carolina Virtual Public School’s Learn & Earn Online initiative, the Performance Learning Centers established by Communities in Schools and the federally funded IMPACT program. All these programs integrate technology into education - the key to improving student engagement, he said.
“Where instructional and learning technologies are prevalent, students have a passion for learning,” said Goodnight. “They master the ability to solve complex problems and are better equipped with the skills that companies around the world need today.”
About NC DPI
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 100 charter schools serving approximately 1.4 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
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