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EdNC: News for the community of engaged citizens

Gerry Hancock, co-founder
Gerry Hancock, co-founder

On behalf of my friend and co-founder Gerry Hancock, welcome to EducationNC, a digital news service for the people of North Carolina.

We invite you to visit the www.ednc.org website regularly to read our coverage and commentary on elementary, middle, and high school education.  And you will receive news and information from us from time to time through email and social media.

We launch EdNC in an era of disruption and debate — disruption in the world of mass journalism that has resulted in the downsizing of newspapers and significant reduction in the scope of reporting on the education enterprise so vital to the future of our society; debate in state government and in communities across North Carolina over the future of preK-12 public education.

EdNC begins with ambitious aspirations and two broad, interlocking missions:

  1. To produce high-quality journalism to provide North Carolinians with reliable information and analysis that they should have to exercise their responsibilities of citizenship in the governance and day-to-day conduct of public education.
  2. To enrich the debate and discussion of the huge enterprise that is education, through forging a community of well-informed engaged citizens.

This twin mission, ultimately, has to do with expanding the life prospects of our state’s young people and assuring the future well-being of our state and its communities. Our basic governing principal is that North Carolina should extend a meaningful opportunity to all its children to reach their full potential and to obtain an education that prepares them for active citizenship and success in a competitive economy.

We have formed EducationNC as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. EdNC is an independent, nonpartisan organization, not the house-organ of any advocacy or interest group. We pledge transparency in reporting on our sources of funding and in identifying our board, our staff, and contributing writers. We pledge to demonstrate fidelity to pursuing the truth, to verifying facts, and to treating different points of view with respect.

Here are ways in which EdNC will go about providing you with news and information on our state’s schools:

  • We will tell stories about students, teachers, and principals, about what’s working in our schools, and about what needs improvement and policy change.
  • We will report — and demystify data — so that citizens can know more about the challenges facing schools and how they are performing.
  • To give citizens more insight into how policymakers are performing, we will cover the governmental institutions that set policy and adopt budgets for public education: the Governor’s Office, the state Board of Education, the Department of Public Instruction, and the General Assembly.  

Our website will serve as a place for articles of ideas and opinion by leaders in business, education, and government, by scholars in academia, and by parents and principals, teachers and staff.

Mostly, we will do professional journalism in the grand American tradition of a free press. At the same time, EducationNC will have elements of a think tank, offering access to research, providing background explainers on major topics, examining court cases and legal issues. Our website will serve as a place for articles of ideas and opinion by leaders in business, education, and government, by scholars in academia, and by parents and principals, teachers and staff. We will offer a place to tell stories that arise from the 115 local districts across North Carolina.

In today’s environment of disruption, EducationNC faces a challenge confronting both old and new media: how to build and/or sustain an audience. We seek a statewide audience, including farmers and foundation staffs, leaders of religious organizations and political parties.  We want to serve the information needs of business leaders who have an influential role to play in helping support and shape public education. We want to be read by public officials and policymakers, as well as by teachers and school administrators. We also welcome an audience of parents, whom we intend to serve by giving them greater access to the policymakers and policy discussions that bear on their children’s education. 

Mebane_Rash
Mebane Rash, CEO and Editor-in-Chief

To meet our challenges and to carry out our twin missions, we have appointed Mebane Rash, who has deep experience in thinking and writing about North Carolina policy issues, as EducationNC’s CEO and chief editor. Mebane will write her own regular column for EdNC, as will I. Gerry Hancock serves as chairman of the EducationNC board.

Despite all the downsizing of the printed press and the rise of social media, we still need professional journalism as a key component of a democratic, capitalist society. Amid all the political controversies and debates surrounding the functioning and financing of education, we still need strong public schools as an integral, binding force for our communities, the places where the vast majority of our children are, and will continue to be, educated. We welcome you to join us in the conversation of a community of informed, engaged citizens.

Ferrel Guillory

Ferrel Guillory is the Director of the Program in Public Life and Professor of the Practice at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and the Vice Chairman of EducationNC.