Education and Training
North Carolinians have a right to a quality public education. Our State must have an outstanding educational system in order to produce an informed community, to promote economic development, and to build for an economic future characterized by high-skill, high-wage employment. We agree with Thomas Jefferson – a founder of our Party - "any nation which expects to remain both ignorant and free expects that which never has been nor ever shall be."
As a first order of priority, Democrats stand against the draconian cuts that have been made by Republican legislature and their leadership during their time in the majority. It will be a top priority of North Carolina Democrats to stop and reverse these cuts and fully invest in our state’s public education system.
We demand educational excellence for all persons- regardless of their race, age, gender, national origin, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, economic status, developmental disability, primary language, location, or station in life.
North Carolinians should be guaranteed a full and unfettered opportunity to develop their abilities to the greatest possible extent, including access to lifelong educational opportunities. We continue to support efforts to strengthen academic standards and close achievement gaps for all North Carolinians.
We recognize the many outstanding public and private schools, colleges, and universities in our State and believe that these institutions should strive to be models for education and economic growth in the state.
We encourage and support efforts of school systems to promote and maintain diversity. We support decision making at the classroom level in our public school system so that educators will have the flexibility to adapt and react to changing circumstances without undue bureaucratic interference. Local parents, teachers, and administrators deserve a stronger voice in the establishment
of educational priorities in their schools.
COMMUNITY COLLEGES: North Carolina's community colleges – begun by and fostered by North Carolina Democrats - play a vital role in enhancing the lives of all people and in paving the way for a brighter future for our State. We support adequate funding for all community college programs, such as basic literacy programs, technical and vocational programs, new and expanded industrial training, small business centers, and occupational retraining, and the timely transfer of university research into the curricula of community colleges. Furthermore, we believe that free community college tuition is a worthy goal for our state to ensure we are able to keep college costs low and train our workforce.
PRESCHOOL AND AT-RISK CHILDREN: We support the principles behind Head Start, Smart Start and More at Four programs: Our young deserve the tools they need for success in school and in life. We also support expanding access to our early childhood education programs with the goal achieving universal Pre-K.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: We support superior educational opportunities for all North Carolina children, including efforts to reduce class size, and increased support for home-to-school transition programs. We support emphasizing the fundamental skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic while exposing children to innovative ideas, information about other cultures, and advancement in technology.
We applaud the teaching of effective citizenship, civic involvement, and legal and social responsibility. We believe that every child in North Carolina should have equal access to all educational opportunities and well-rounded education. We support the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education and believe that racial segregation of our schools is incompatible with equal opportunity for all.
We support adequate funding for construction and maintenance of school facilities, as well as equipment, instructional supplies and support services for at risk students and for after school programs in our public schools. We oppose any underfunded or unfunded federal and state mandates. All children have the right to a public education that respects their religious freedom and traditions.
Furthermore, we support the Leandro decision and support full funding by the General Assembly to implement all provisions laid forth in the court’s decision.
High stakes testing preparation and administration takes away weeks from instruction and encourages teachers to teach to the test, narrowing the curriculum. High stakes tests attempt to measure student achievement by requiring them to sit still for four hours to take tests that encourage the notion that for every question, there is one right answer and three wrong answers. These tests do not measure skills that are more applicable to the work place such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. That is why our students should take as few high stakes tests as is required by the Every Student Succeeds Act.
We oppose the erroneous practice of measuring teacher quality from
the results of high stakes tests.
SCHOOL SAFETY: We believe that every child and educator has a right to be safe when attending school, and to be safe from bullying.
PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS AND CHARTERS: We oppose the implementation of private and religious school voucher programs. Such programs harm our traditional public schools by diluting the financial support for those institutions, making our system less socio-economically diverse and encouraging families to abandon the public school system that serves everyone. We oppose the use of charter schools to re-segregate our student populations.
We support the money following the student to whatever public school they attend.
TEACHERS: We believe good teachers - including college and university professors, instructors, and licensed classroom professionals - are among North Carolina's most valuable resources. We support continued efforts to produce, recruit, and retain highly qualified educators at all levels to ensure that our citizens receive an outstanding education and oppose efforts to that remove career status or tenure from our education professionals. The way in which we compensate our educators should reflect our respect for the teaching profession.
We recognize diversity in our society and believe our educational systems should reflect and honor that diversity, and to provide appropriate role models for our students.
We believe the North Carolina State Board of Education should annually review the compensation level for entry-level and veteran 2016 North Carolina Democratic Party Platform teaching professionals to ensure competitive salaries to recruit and retain the very best talent available.
Our children deserve the best and brightest, and we must provide competitive compensation packages to recruit the best educators.
UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES: North Carolina's universities have achieved an international reputation for excellence in many fields. We wish to preserve this important part of our State's educational environment. We do not support ending programs based on job availability in the economy. Consequently, we support adequate funding for our public university system, the preservation of academic freedom at those institutions, equal access for all North Carolinians, maintaining low tuition for in-state students and the availability of financial aid for all qualified students with low and moderate incomes. Furthermore, we believe that students who are undocumented immigrants should receive in-state tuition if they graduated from a North Carolina high school.
VOCATIONAL EDUCATION: We support vocational education, including high school career and technical education programs as well as post-high school high-tech studies under the leadership of the North Carolina Community College System, as an important initiative to prepare a skilled workforce for the future.