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How Does North Carolina Match Up to the Competition on Education and Workforce Readiness?

For job creators and other stakeholders invested in supporting a statewide pipeline of premium talent here in North Carolina, it’s essential to be able to accurately measure and assess how our state’s students – the workers of tomorrow – stack up with their peers, both nationally and globally. To that end, last month saw the release of the latest data from the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) comparing countries’ standardized test performance on the vital reading, science and math skills which are so fundamental for future career and life success.

North Carolina was one of just two states that participated separately from the rest of the nation in this global assessment. The NC Chamber applauds this decision, as it will provide us with more data we can use to continue improving student performance and benchmarking North Carolina’s progress toward closing our skills gap compared to the rest of the global economy. Among numerous takeaways, the data reinforces one key point we were already aware of: that our state, and the United States as a whole, must continue to improve in math proficiency.

Besides North Carolina, Massachusetts was the other U.S. state participating as its own entity, and it is interesting to note their high math performance. For two decades, Massachusetts has been a leader in consistently raising its academic standards, and their strong model for success is one we are beginning to emulate here. Just this past year our state once again raised the bar on high school math standards through a review process which included strong participation from leaders in both the education and business communities.

Like any national or international data, the PISA scores present a complex picture. But for a state competing in a global race for economic growth, it is a good sign that North Carolina’s policymakers want to know how we stack up in this important area. Clearly North Carolina is taking the right steps to increase opportunities for our students to succeed, and the NC Chamber believes these efforts will be a key factor in helping our state continue to compete globally in the coming decades. For questions on how the NC Chamber plans to further bolster support for education and workforce development initiatives in 2017, contact Government Affairs Manager Meaghan Lewis.

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber