The Education Ensemble
August 28, 2015

One of DPI’s core areas of work is standards development. Our staff members work with many other partners across the state and nation to determine what students should be expected to know and do at each grade level and in each course. We take feedback on standards from many stakeholders and revise when necessary to make sure that we get it right. As a result, North Carolina’s current statewide Standard Course of Study is one great tool teachers have to ensure that their students are on track for the next step in their educational careers and life after high school graduation.

Yet our statewide Standard Course of Study is just one player in North Carolina’s education ensemble. Just as one actor or actress cannot carry an entire play, our standards alone are not enough to secure every student’s academic success. Our standards are most effective when they are taught by qualified, well-trained and committed educators. These teachers are most effective when they are working in schools with supportive, knowledgeable and talented principals. And schools operating at the optimal level are those that have adequate resources, including classrooms supplies, training and technology, to support learning.

There has been much conversation around North Carolina’s Standard Course of Study, but little recognition that this topic is much broader than a set of standards. Expecting one set of standards to secure our students’ success is like using a computer without an operating system, a lamp without a lightbulb or an air conditioner without electricity. It is simply not enough. Rigorous learning standards, high-quality teachers, strong principals and adequate resources are each equal parts of a school’s formula for success. Taking just one component of this equation away is a disservice to our schools, our teachers and our students.

June St. Clair Atkinson
State Superintendent