08/20/04 — Duplin schools receive lion's share of grant

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Duplin schools receive lion's share of grant

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 20, 2004 2:02 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County public schools, which will receive the lion's share of a $150,000 grant, are impressing educators in other states.

A federal grant is coming to Duplin and Mecklenburg-Charlotte school systems to identify new forms of civic education.

"There's another part of education we're missing if we only focus on test scores," said Debra Henzey of the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium, a nonpartisan partnership in the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill.

"I think Duplin County has a chance to develop some new models in education that other school systems can replicate," she added.

The school system is holding a public forum at 6 p.m. Tuesday at James Kenan High School for citizen input to help the school system build an agenda around what matters most to the people in the community.

Ms. Henzey said Duplin's work of involving citizens, educators and business people to help prepare kids for citizenship is important.

"There are a lot of pressures to do well on these tests," she said. "To step back and say, 'That's not all there is' takes courage. It's very significant.

"If I had $100 for each time I've heard an educator say they feel like there's something missing but they feel they lack the power to change things, I could retire. ... I don't know a single teacher who entered the field of education to make sure a kid got a good test score. ... To make a difference in a child's life is bigger than a test score."

The announcement was made Thursday by the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, a national initiative to prepare America's young people to be informed and active citizens.

It is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and managed by the Council for Excellence in Government in partnership with the Academy for Educational Development.

The $150,000 grants were awarded through a rigorous national competition. The six winning coalitions were selected from 36 state proposals. Each grant covers a two-year period beginning in November and will help support the work of the state-level coalitions to advance the cause of civic learning.