University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings updated the joint legislative education oversight committee Tuesday on a new commission to develop statewide education goals.
The MyFutureNC Commission is comprised of a coalition of leaders in business and education. That includes the acting president of the North Carolina Community College system Jennifer Haygood, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and UNC-system president Spellings. It also brings together education researchers and thought leaders from business and faith communities.
Co-chair Spellings says the commission will ask specific questions about education benchmarks the state needs to hit, including:
“How many does this state need to educate, and to what levels, to be economically competitive? How many people in this state need education beyond high school to earn a good job?”
The commission will recommend a statewide goal for the percentage of North Carolinians who need education beyond high school. Then it will set a roadmap of benchmarks spanning pre-kindergarten through higher education. Spellings said specific goals could include measurable aims of how many North Carolinians are ready for kindergarten, proficient in later grades, or who complete college and professional degrees.
Spellings urged legislators that a focus on the full spectrum of education will help to increase college and workforce readiness.
“We've got to connect the hip bone to the leg bone,” Spellings said. “It doesn't make sense for you all to invest in things and then for us not to hitch up the other part of it, and really to get maximum benefit of those legislative prerogatives.”
The commission has met twice and will continue to meet until the legislature's next long session to make policy recommendation to the legislature to help achieve its benchmark goals. The commission will also hold a series of listening sessions throughout the state that are free and open to the public.