Minorirty Leader Joe Hackney released the following statement, after it was reported this week that graduation rates in North Carolina had risen to over 80%.
After firing more than 6,000 educators in the past two years, Republicans are now unbelievably trying to take credit for the remarkable improvement in our state's graduation rate. North Carolina's graduation rate has improved 17 percent since 2006 as a result of long-term effort and investment in education. This year's rate passed an important milestone, but it is part of a six-year trend, not an overnight improvement. Dropout prevention is the product of many years of effort, often beginning in middle school or earlier. Under Democratic leadership, our state invested in dropout prevention programs and improvements to public education that have resulted in these tremendous gains. Astoundingly, Republicans this session abolished the successful Dropout Prevention Grant program, an innovative program that put small grants into community-based dropout prevention efforts across the state. This legislature has stepped backwards on public education, yet it now wants the public to believe that cutting $650 million in funding has somehow strengthened our schools. Their efforts have diminished public education in North Carolina and unless reversed will continue to damage public education for years to come.