A moment of reckoning is coming up for some of our elected leaders at the highest levels of state government. A little more than a year from now, an assortment of politicians will defend their positions, and as of today, one of those politicians is Superintendent June Atkinson.
She announced today that she will run again for the office she has held since 2005, and if her press release is any indication, she thinks she has a pretty good shot at keeping her seat.
“When I was first elected state superintendent, the graduation rate in our state was just 68 percent, but it has increased to an all-time high of 86 percent over the past ten years,” said Atkinson. “I’m proud of the tremendous progress that we’ve made, but there is still work to do. We must continue to modernize our schools with new technology and support our teachers who deserve respect, resources, and more compensation for their work with students. We must change testing so that it will be more responsive to student, parent, and teacher needs. I ask the people of North Carolina to allow me to serve students, educators, and citizens for another four years.”
But her tenure has also seen its share of challenges — opposition to Common Core Standards, budget cuts to the Department of Public Instruction, the implementation of school letter grades that show high-poverty schools lagging behind, and concerns over the narrowing of the teacher pipeline.
If that wasn’t enough, Atkinson, a Democrat and first female superintendent of the state, has also had to contend with a a Republican-led General Assembly that has increasingly looked to charter schools and opportunity scholarships — also called vouchers — as alternatives to a traditional public education.
But the press release is positioning her as the right person to continue on with the job.
“During her year (sic) career in education, she has served as a high school business teacher, consultant and elected official,” the press release stated. “She has visited all school districts in North Carolina and knows the educational needs of our state.”
So education watchers — let the campaigns begin.