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EdNC turns 1: Why your voice matters

535,859 pageviews since we launched one year ago on January 12. And you, our readers, are scattered all across the state. On behalf of EdNC’s board of directors and team, our sincere and humble thanks.

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With the support of our funders, we launched EdNC with one core belief:

Our work is all about the children.

We believed then, and believe now, that nothing is more important to the future of North Carolina than their education.

We believed too many stories were going untold – stories of teachers, leaders, programs, and schools doing incredible work each and every day.

We believed every citizen deserved to know more about the budget, State Board of Education, charter schools, homeschools, and the day-to-day activities at the legislature.

The EdNC team has worked tirelessly to tell those stories, elevate voices, and create impact – and we have had a lot of fun along the way.

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EdNC team on retreat.

More than 800 articles.

More than 200-plus voices from across the educational and political landscape of North Carolina, effectively giving each voice a platform to be heard that did not previously exist.

Last week, we published an article – “The real problem with teaching in North Carolina” – written by a teacher. Nancy Snipes Mosley made recommendations based on her experience in the classroom. And policymakers listened. As she says in the article, “There ARE real solutions to the problem with teaching in North Carolina. Progress will require the active involvement of invested educators and concerned citizens throughout the state.”

Consistently, our most read articles are written by teachers and policymakers.

This is EdNC’s architecture of participation.

The Future of EdNC

Transparency.

Trends.

Engagement.

You will see more independent news and analysis from our team in 2016 with a focus on covering the elections. We expect education to be an important issue for those running for office, and we want it to be easy for you to know where policymakers stand on the issues.

We will continue to underscore the issues that matter most.

What are the problems with our teacher pipeline and how do we fix them? Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) says, “The truth is we either need to fix our schools of education in North Carolina or scrap them in favor of new and different approaches to teacher preparation. It doesn’t make sense to do both.”

 

Where are our children being educated — traditional public schools, charter schools, private schools, and homeschools — and what are the implications of the shifting market share for each sector?

Charter schools will celebrate their 20th anniversary across North Carolina in 2016. What have we learned?

How do we educate children in poverty? Tammi Sutton, the executive director of KIPP:ENC, says, “Is it hard to educate kids in poverty? Yes. So what? Let’s do it.”

A data dashboard we are building will allow you to track demographics, market share, funding, and data on students and teachers with ease.

Trust me, we are just getting started.

The State of Our State

I started working at the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research in 1994. It was my first big job after law school. Remember the elections of ’94 – Republicans won 92 of the 170 seats in the legislature. One of the first articles I wrote for the Center was about the evolution of party politics, and I asked whether the wins were reactionary – anti-Democrat, anti-tax, anti-big government; revolutionary – a changing of the guard from Democrats who governed for most of the 20th century to Republicans who were hoping to govern for much of the 21st century; or evolutionary – a single step towards becoming a competitive, two-party state. In many ways, we are still as a state trying to figure out where we are in this evolution, and the elections in 2016 and 2020 will become an important part of our state’s story.

I love our state. I want the students across North Carolina to grow up wanting to call this state home as they become our leaders of tomorrow.

We look forward to working with you to make a difference in 2016 on behalf of our students, educators, schools, and all of our communities across North Carolina.

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Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.