GOP governor candidates hit similar themes on education reform

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Republican candidates for governor are telling educators that they will work to reduce dropout rates and eliminate the cap on charter schools. Salisbury attorney Bill Graham, former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr and state Sen. Fred Smith sounded similar themes on several topics during a debate in Greensboro. The event is sponsored by the North Carolina School Boards Association. Graham says he believes more focus should be placed on improving middle school achievement and expanding vocational education to reduce the dropout rate. Orr talked about improving teacher quality through professional development to keep educators from leaving the classroom. Smith kept to his business background by saying children are customers of the education system and to stop spending money on programs that aren't working. Democratic candidates Richard Moore and Beverly Perdue also are scheduled to debate. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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