By Damon Circosta | Executive Director, A.J. Fletcher Foundation
“If there aren’t great public schools, it doesn’t even make the list.” That’s what my new bride said in 2005 when we were making our first big family decision. We hadn’t been out of law school all that long and didn’t even have kids. After spending some time in San Diego, we decided we needed to find a new place to set roots. We were willing to pick a destination without having a job lined up, or family close by, or even having visited, but we had criteria. First and foremost, our new home needed to be in a community that values its schools.
That’s how we moved here. Like so many people and companies, our relocation decision didn’t just ‘factor in’ the quality of the public schools. We weren’t even willing to consider a place that didn’t prioritize education. A school system is the sine qua non of attracting energy and talent. Without it, nothing. You don’t even make the list.
Wake Education Partnership understands this. They, along with partners in other communities across North Carolina, strive to ensure that we don’t slay the golden goose that is our public education system. They work locally to be a champion for our schools, but also to be a ‘friendly critic’ when our education system needs to be better. They understand the monumental role that state government plays in funding our schools. More than a third of our state taxes go to funding K-12 education, so it is paramount that WakeEd not only focuses its efforts here in the county, but also at the state level.
I am very pleased that WakeEd sees the education picture globally and is willing to stand up for our schools in various forums and halls of government. I am also pleased that they have the talent, personnel and relationships to understand our schools beyond the latest headline. They dig deep. They know what is going on, and they help break down walls between the business community and our talent pipeline.
In 1900, we were lucky if 10% of our kids graduated high school. Now more than 80% do. In this globally competitive marketplace, 80% isn’t going to cut it and we must do more. Our graduates must be greater in number and better equipped to handle the demands of a fast-moving world.
What schools teach, how they go about it, and the community demands from our education system are all changing, rapidly.
Whether we have children in public school system, or not, we all have an interest in making sure they are top notch.
I’m glad to live in a community that takes pride in its education system, and happy that both my children attend a fabulous Wake County Public School. WakeEd is a big part of that, and it is why I am pleased that the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, and my family, support WakeEd.