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State of Our Schools: Solutions

READ MORE: State of Our Schools: Solutions
We continue our in depth look into the state of our schools. The current state has some education leaders worried about the future of our country. More students are dropping out, and experts say education isn't a priority in some homes. But, there are steps being taken to reverse this situation. WWAY spoke with educators and education leaders to find out what is really going on within the school systems. John Fischetti, UNCW Education Professor, said, "What we're seeing is a laissez faire type attitude toward schooling while the rest of the world is working harder than us and dangerously economically we're in peril." One of Fischetti's many concerns is students dropping out. "When we lose one individual today we're going to be putting them in the state pen instead of Penn State," said Fischetti. We compared graduation rates of three very different school districts in our area. In New Hanover County, about 86 percent of students get a high school diploma. In Pender County, 76 percent graduate, and in Columbus County nearly 69 percent of students graduate high school. So what are our local schools doing to get these numbers up? We spoke to principals, parents and students from Hoggard, Pender and East Columbus High Schools in search of an answer. Each principal says their school is taking steps to improve. Pender High School Principal Robbie Cauley said, "We're going to add a couple of technical ed. Course offerings. We're going to add a social studies class and we're also looking for other opportunities that we can fit into our schedule with limited resources in order to provide some kids some real world type things." Dave Spencer, Hoggard High School Principal, said, "Those kids who feel like college, community college, or the military may not be what they want to be doing, we want to show them the importance of a basic education." Don Hill, East Columbus High Assistant Principal, said, "We've done many things to try and curtail the drop out rate, we have a dropout coordinator here that stays in touch with students that are at risk and tries to have them come back to school." Professor Fischetti said while these changes are good, they're not enough. "One of the things that we have to do right away is intervening with reading and computation. Algebra is the gateway for the future, and if you don't succeed in algebra you're cut out of the information age that we're in," said Fischetti. "You're not going to go to a four year university. You're not going to be able to get a job in the math, science, technology infrastructure that is the future if you look at all the jobs that are in the United States." Father and former New Hanover County School Board Member, Steve Bilzi agrees. "They say 90 percent of our technology changes every 10 years, so we have to be ready to not only change with it, but have the educational system meet that challenge and change," said Bilzi. Education leaders believe, while the schools are in need of improvement, overall, it's what a student puts into it, is what they, and their community will get out of it. "The thing we need to do most is rearrange our value system so that the community, parents and school districts view the school as an integral part of the community and not just as a microcosm into itself," said Bilzi. Professor Fischetti said, "We've got to look internally in our families making sure that we re-instill that education is the perquisite for success in our family and in the country." Fischetti adds, these changes should start when the students are young.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



I am the parent of a student at James Kenan School of Engineering in Duplin County. Our BOE has just closed our doors. This is the first year of a promised 4 year STEM school for our kids. STATS: 97% of our students were proficient this year. 14 kids began this year NOT proficient in computers. Thru regular instruction NOT remediation, all 14 passed the first time. This school's first year has been a giant success. We are desperately searching for any and everyone who can lend guidance or direction in who and where we can turn to save our school. Our local BOE is no help. Prayers welcomed!

State of our schools

If you want to improve the schools in Brunswick County, get rid of Katie McGee and get someone with at least one brain cell in their head. She is worthless.

AMEN to that, too bad it

AMEN to that, too bad it won't happen. We got rid of Ray Gilbert though, that was a step in the right direction.


KICK OUT all of the illegal immigrants children...THAT in itself would be a HUGE step in a positive direction!!

As a teacher, I can assure

As a teacher, I can assure you that many of the children of illegals are hard-working and value education. It is the children of families who do not value work and opportunity who cause the problems in today's classrooms. If you want your children to succeed in school, make them responsible and polite. Give them chores and ask them about their dreams for the future. Buy them books, not four wheelers. Make them WANT to learn.

Are you suggesting?????

Oooh, Guest Turnip! Are you suggesting that parents actually play a role in their children's education by, say, teaching them manners, responsibility, self-respect - things maybe they used to learn AT HOME????? As a broken-done retired school teacher, I remember how that used to be. It didn't take ANY MONEY to do that, either. I know, I know all you know-it-alls out there, people have to work. But I also know my parents did, too! I know how much tougher it is to try to teach when students don't want to learn, feel they don't have to listen, parents will take up for them no matter what, etc. I've been there and done that. Until you earn the degree, you go in there and try to do it, don't think you know how it goes because you don't. It is not just you and the children. There are sooo many levels of people telling you what and how to do - and many times they don't have a clue. Now as to testing. Please. First, all children are NEVER going to be at the same level at the same time at the same age, I don't care WHO says so. GOD didn't make everybody the same and schools cannot perform miracles. The United States is the ONLY country in the world who take ALL the children and put them through the same education system and test them. Then those scores are COMPARED to test scores from other countries where they either DONT't test EVERY student or teach their children in tracks according to abilities and test only those in the higher tracks. It's like comparing apples and oranges. Only those folks in Washington don't bother to tell that part. A parent was complaing on here the other day because her son couldn't get training in a trade. No, he is not in school in a place like Japan or England were such life skills are taken into account and students are allowed to be placed where they can fit into society. Like it or not, we don't do that here. If you want to really be concerned, think about special abilities (whatever we call them now like we're so concerned) children where we force them to take these same tests each year and then expect them to attain scores like everybody else. How do you think it makes them feel? Jeez, people! We let the federal government slop around where they have no idea what they're doing, don't listen to teachers - what do THEY know? Then we have the nerve to wonder why things aren't working. The tests, the way they are now, do nothing but put undue pressure on everybody and really measure nothing. How would you as adults like to be paid based on what you manage to do three days a year out of all the time you work?

Are you suggesting???

Here, here!!! As a parent of a child with a reading disability I can certainly relate to the stress and pressure you speak of putting on our children. My daughter passes her classes with good solid average grades, but because reading is her challenge, when it comes to taking a test that is time limited...she panics! And even if they ace their core classes...if they don't pass these EOG's they will be held back!! What's up with that???!!! Doesn't the everyday (important) work really count for anything anymore???

"If you want your children

"If you want your children to succeed in school, make them responsible and polite." Two Amens To That!