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We must care about the Chatham County Schools

By Mia Munn
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - The core business of our schools is educating students. On average, the test scores in Chatham County are within a few points of the state average. Last year, about 71% of our students in grades 3-8 were on grade level in reading and 80.4% in math. Our graduation rate equaled that of the state at 74.2%. That means one in four of our county’s students don’t graduate from high school. That's not good enough. Too many of our kids are getting a poor education.

Poor education hurts our whole country. Nationally, 7,000 students drop out of high school every day. In 2010, the unemployment rate for high school graduate was 10.3%, but for high school dropouts it was 14.9%. High school dropouts are more likely to be on Medicaid or are uninsured or live in poverty. Seventy-five percent of America’s prison inmates did not complete high school.

Poor education hurts our state. In North Carolina 53,800 students dropped out of the class of 2010. Like most states, NC projects the need for prison beds based on 3rd grade reading scores. The cost of a year of school in NC averages $8,300, but the cost of a prison bed is $33,000.

Poor education hurts our county. We need economic development to broaden the tax base in Chatham County. Without good schools, we are at a disadvantage in attracting new businesses.

Poor education hurts our families and our businesses. More costs for prisons and social programs lead to higher taxes. More crime makes you feel less safe. It’s harder to find qualified employees.

So, what can you do?

Talk about education. Find out about what our local schools do well and where they need help. Let our kids know we value their hard work and achievement at school. Let our teachers know that we support them and want them to be successful. Let our elected officials know that you are watching the decisions they make.

Help one child. Volunteer through the schools to help a child on an ongoing basis. Mentor an at-risk student. Start a tutoring program at your church or organization.

Advocate. Go to school board meetings. Attend public meetings about the schools. Contact school board members with your concerns. Write letters to the editor. Run for school board in 2012.

Mia Munn is a former educator who ran for the Chatham County school board in 2008.

e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page
We must care about the Chatham County Schools
Volunteer through the schools to help a child on an ongoing basis.