02/22/12 — Another one: Enough with so-called education politicians. Let's get a real one.

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Another one: Enough with so-called education politicians. Let's get a real one.

It never fails. If there is an election in the offing, there is bound to be an education politician running for office.

The problem is, these wanna-be saviors of the state and local schools often have no idea what it will really take to fix North Carolina's schools.

In fact, all they really know is that there are certain groups and some voters who will rally behind anyone who talks about more money for schools.

The truth is that reforming education is not about money -- although anyone who says they can do it without investing some money is simply telling a fib to pander to taxpayers who are tired of watching millions of dollars circle the drain.

And we certainly do not need any more czars, state superintendents or other bureaucrats, either. They are already part of the problem.

What we do need is real reform. We need more resources for teachers and schools. We need better facilities and more encouragement for those who work hard for their students' success.

But what we need most of all is the courage to say no. We need to keep students back who can't read and to demand performance and scores from those who want to receive a high school diploma. We need to make education a priority and insist that students and parents do as well, and tie privileges to completing schoolwork.

We need to reward student achievement and to try to find ways to make college possible for those who word hard and to find alternatives for those who could excel on a different path.

We need to encourage fair evaluation and to acknowledge the influence of environment and family on a child's goals and ability to succeed -- and then work on that side of the equation, too.

And all that takes an honest look and courage to tell it like it is.

That is how you take education to the next level in North Carolina.

We will see if any of this year's crop of education candidates has the chops to make that happen or if it is going to be another year of meaningless talk.

Published in Editorials on February 22, 2012 11:10 AM