Friday, June 24, 2016

Policy Position Overview, and Soliciting Feedback

Since I need a break from putting together the Campaign Finance post, I thought I would take a moment to outline some of my goals in pursuing this office, as well as solicit feedback both from Wake County residents and other interested parties anywhere who want to contribute:

1) High School: At the high school level, I want to see a 95% matriculation rate to 4-year colleges and universities for Wake County students. However, we cannot neglect those students who, for whatever reason, are not planning to continue their education past the high school level. Those students should have the opportunity to focus their studies on skilled or technical positions, if they so choose -- a high school education ought to prepare Wake County students for success and financial stability, whether those students pursue academia or enter the work force.

2) Middle School: At the middle school level, I would like the Wake County Public School System to strongly protest the teaching of abstinence-only sex education (see: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-81(e1)(4)-(7)), and the state-mandated inability of the school system to provide information to students about obtaining contraceptives or women's reproductive health referral services (Id. at (e1)(8)).

I am personally of the position that abstinence-only education is anachronistic in the age of Google, and that depriving students of information regarding their sexual health is a grave disservice to them. I also have an instinctive skepticism toward the 'Character Education' detailed in N.C. Gen. Stat. §115C-81(h), although since character education is to be influenced by "input from the local community," I would be delighted to hear from those persons who define 'character' differently from our North Carolina Legislature.

As a practical matter, since state Basic Education funds are intended "to supplement and not supplant State and local funding for public schools," (See: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-81.1), I suggest that funding be allocated within the Wake County Public School System to institute a sex-education policy governed by pragmatism and teaching students to embrace personal responsibility, rather than a policy which avoids the possibility that teenagers might have sex.

3) Elementary School: At the elementary school level, I want to see early childhood education prioritized. Most scholarly research about the outcomes of elementary school students in North Carolina tends to lead back to one source: The Abecedarian Project at The University of North Carolina. A surface search of the National Institute of Health suggests that -- aside from social, cultural, and economic gains made via elementary education -- the simple health benefits (Study from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, via the National Institute of Health) are worth the investment. 

I personally believe the steady use of public funds for education prevents the expansive use of public funds in other areas. However, I am soliciting feedback from those persons who are citizens of Wake County, as well as those who are not citizens of Wake County (or NC, or even U.S. residents): 

- Please tell me about how the school system works where you are.
- What do you believe should be prioritized in education?
- Is there a particular age where higher-level educational planning should be a part of the curriculum?
- Should an undergraduate education be a goal for all students?
- To what (if any) degree should sexual education be part of the Wake County Public School System (or your local curriculum), and what is your position on the currently sexual education curriculum?

I look forward to hearing from everyone everywhere. Please send along your thoughts, comments, and ideas to:

-James McLuckie

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