PhilKirk-Pblock

Pope beneficial to state

Art Pope is to be commended for his many years of public service, especially for his 20 months as the state’s budget director.

When Gov. Pat McCrory wisely persuaded Art to assume the most important appointive position in state government, several asked my opinion, probably thinking I would be critical. I responded each time that the governor could not have found anyone who knew the budget, state government and the legislative process better. This was especially important because of the administration’s lack of experience in state government.

PhilKirk-Pblock

Focused On Getting It Right With Wake Schools

What would make more than 700 people gather on a Wednesday night to sit at small tables and talk about their aspirations for public education?

This is not a hypothetical question. This is what happened in Wake County the first week of August when the Wake County Public School System convened a town hall new strategic plan. Plenty of people have blamed public education for all sorts of society’s ills and have little good to say about a system that is still a community’s best path to prosperity. They might say it’s easy for a system the size of Wake’s to gather that many people. That it’s no big deal.

PhilKirk-Pblock

Necessary Accountability

The political debate over the Common Core State Standards is more riddled with ironies and myths than any issue I have been involved with in 50 years.

These standards are a set of clear, consistent goals and expectations that describe what students should know in math and English, no matter where they may live in the United States. That is critical for many reasons but especially because of the mobility of families, including the mil-dent in Colorado need to know more or less than one in North Carolina?

PhilKirk-Pblock

Energy Efficient Schools Improve the Learning Environment

When it comes to construction, renovation and the operation of K-12 schools, it seems that the adage “do more with less” is a way of life. The public is resistant to tax increases. Local and state governments are cash strapped and are often calling for across-the-board cuts in spending. Voters are wary of new bond issues and increasing government debt. All the while, these same groups are demanding improved test scores and graduates who have strong language, math and technology skills to be ready to enter the workforce or higher education programs. Attention to the energy efficiency of the learning facilities is a “do more with less” strategy that can help in balancing both sides of the equation.

PhilKirk-Pblock

How Technology and Design Can Improve School Safety and Security

Student safety and security have been a concern for school administrators for decades. Gun violence, like what we witnessed in Newtown and Columbine, has made it center stage. Administrators are concerned about external threats, such as kidnapping or the abduction of students, but also concerned about internal dangers such as gang activity, fighting, sexual assaults, bullying, weapons, drugs, alcohol, theft and vandalism.