NEWS RELEASES 2009-10 :: APRIL 1, 2010


State Superintendent June Atkinson, along with members of her Career-Ready Commission, presented the commission's final report, A Crisis of Relevance: How N.C. Must Innovate to Graduate All Students Career- and College-Ready, to members of the State Board of Education at its meeting in Raleigh today. Governor Bev. Perdue charged Atkinson with forming the commission in May 2009 to study career-related issues in public education. The final report is the result of experience, ideas, collaboration and input from more than 40 representatives from the General Assembly, K-12 public schools, community colleges and universities, business and nonprofit education organizations, and government agencies.

"This report does not contain the silver bullet solution to the problems facing public schools today, but it is a collection of proven education reforms and innovative strategies that can help us better prepare all students for a future in the 21st century," said Atkinson. "I am confident that this document will be useful to state and local business and education leaders as we continue to work together to move public education forward in North Carolina."

Commission members participated in five meetings in which they worked to identify the most pressing challenges the state faces in producing high school graduates who are career- and college-ready. They examined the research, studied existing programs and resources, and heard from local, state, national and international education experts. When this initial work was complete, members agreed that students are facing a "Crisis of Relevance" and came up with a multi-pronged plan to address this crisis.

"Too many young people are failing to see that what they are learning in our K-12 public schools is relevant to their plans for future training, education and careers," Atkinson said. "This crisis is contributing significantly to other problems such as high dropout rates, low student achievement, student apathy and high school graduates who are unprepared for higher education and the workplace."

In its final report, the Commission has proposed the following six guiding policy goals and an additional number of corresponding and specific action recommendations:

  • Make Career and Technical Education (CTE) a valuable part of all students' overall high school experience and use it to help them prepare for postsecondary education and/or training and career success.
  • Drive innovation and creativity in the state's high schools by developing students' skills in entrepreneurialism to accelerate their career interests.
  • Transform the culture of education in North Carolina so every school produces lifelong learners who are both academically-skilled and career-ready.
  • Expand the assistance available to high school students to enable them to make both wise academic and career choices and achieve their goals for the future.
  • Connect business leaders with educators in a unified effort to help students understand the relevance of their education to their future goals and prepare them with the knowledge, talent and skills valued and needed in today's workplace.
  • Build on existing governance structures to bring state, regional and local leaders in education, workforce and economic development together to support and grow North Carolina's economy.

Commission members believe that these goals and corresponding recommendations (included in the full report) will help leaders ensure that every student who graduates high school in North Carolina is well-prepared for his or her next step, be it additional education, job training or a career. Atkinson has also shared the final report with Gov. Bev Perdue, Lt. Governor Walter Dalton and his JOBS Commission and plans to share it with members of the General Assembly next month.

To read the full report, visit For questions about the document or the State Superintendent's Career-Ready Commission, please call the NCDPI Communications and Information division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.