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Expanding educational opportunity in North Carolina: Action plan and recommendations

On October 21, 2015, North Carolina leaders in education, business, and government convened to kick off the Public School Forum’s sixteenth biennial study group, focused on educational opportunity in North Carolina. The yearlong study group process involved the work of three committees focused on topics related to expanding educational opportunity in the state: addressing the impact of childhood trauma on learning; increasing racial equity; and supporting low-performing schools.

We are pleased today to share the study group’s final Action Plan and Recommendations.  This document is the product of the collective efforts of more than 175 committee members across the three committees. The Public School Forum’s Board of Directors endorsed the publication last week. Afterwards, Chairman Dr. Michael Priddy, who also co-chaired the study group, spoke about the process.

“Study group committees met over the course of the year to learn from experts and to work collaboratively to generate practical strategies for addressing the challenges we face in our state related to expanding educational opportunity. We are grateful to all those who contributed to this work, and we are eager to build on their efforts. We invite all those who care about education in North Carolina to join us in moving this important work forward.”

More than a “report,” the publication released today sets the course for the Public School Forum and its partners to continue addressing educational opportunity in the years ahead. New programs and policy initiatives introduced in the publication will be the work of the Forum’s new North Carolina Center for Educational Opportunity.

Keith Poston, the Forum’s president and executive director, emphasized the crucial role of the study group’s report and the new Center. “We find ourselves at a unique and pivotal moment in the history of education in our state. The challenging topics taken up by the study group—trauma, racial equity, and low-performing schools—have been at the core of educational opportunity for decades, and they aren’t going away any time soon. By learning together, having the tough conversations these issues require, and developing the creative solutions our children deserve, we can meet the challenges head on. That’s what the study group has been about, it’s what you see in the Action Plan and Recommendations, and it’s what we will build on through the North Carolina Center for Educational Opportunity.”

Last Friday, study group co-chairs Dr. Priddy and Dr. Dudley Flood, published a preview of the publication, launching a week-long series of articles by committee co-chairs, published on EdNC, culminating in today’s release:

The Action Plan and Recommendations consists of four sections. The first contains a letter from the co-chairs, an Executive Summary, and an introduction to the study group process and the publication. The remaining three sections represent the work of each of the three committees. You can link to these sections directly here:

The study group’s work will also be the topic on this weekend’s edition of Education Matters, the Public School Forum’s weekly television program on WRAL-TV. Education Matters airs on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. The program will move to its permanent time slot, Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., beginning November 26, 2016.

Education Matters is viewable online at and (search for Education Matters).

Public School Forum of North Carolina

Since 1986, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of better schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education, and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers.