N.C. Chief Outlines Plan To Improve Schooling

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State Superintendent A. Craig Phillips of North Carolina last week unveiled a six-point plan to improve the state's schools over the next four years.

Mr. Phillips' plan for educational reform calls for increasing teachers' pay, funding school construction, decreasing the student-teacher ratio, and establishing day-care programs in the schools.

The superintendent urged the legislature to provide $200 million to increase the salary scale for teachers next year by an average of 15 percent.

If enacted, the proposal would raise the state's minimum base salary for a beginning teacher from about $13,800 to $16,000 and the maximum salary from about $22,700 to $27,000.

The plan for improving teachers' salaries "precedes all other recommendations" in the proposal, according to Dudley E. Flood, associate state superintendent.

Beginning in 1985-86, the 10 to 20 percent of teachers who assume additional responsibilities or exhibit excellence would be paid up to $35,000 annually, according to the proposal. An additional $50 million would be required to establish some form of a career-development program for teachers, Mr. Phillips said.

Mr. Phillips asked the legislature to allocate $10 million to support effective on-the-job training for teachers, beginning in 1985.

"Because teachers for the most part have 10-month contracts and administrators and others work 11 or 12 months, we realize there has been little opportunity to receive substantial training or participate in summer programs," according to Mr. Flood.

The $10-million would be needed to defray the expenses of teachers who want to return to school, and to develop new inservice programs.

Mr. Phillips also called for a reduction in the average student-teacher ratio and for state support of a $200-million school-construction and renovation program. The latter, he said, would correct the "deplorable" condition of many school buildings.

The state superintendent also called for the development of child-care programs in the state's schools by 1985.

There are sound social, economic, and educational reasons for a state child-care program, according to Mr. Flood. The state's changing economic base--from rural to industrial--requires that both parents in many families work, he said. In addition, he said, child-care programs would make use of under-utilized school buildings.

There are few child-care facilities now available in North Carolina, Mr. Flood noted, and most are beyond the price range of poor families. But research indicates that children who attend day-care programs and kindergartens are much better prepared for the academic and social demands of school, he said.

"In making our argument for school-sponsored child-care programs, the educational reasons will predominate," Mr. Flood said. "The legislature does not fund education programs for social reasons."--sr

Vol. 03, Issue 05

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