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Hunt-Lee Commission Report Calls for Implementation of Proven Solutions

NC Chamber CEO Gary Salamido and Senator Michael Lee, Commission Co-Chair

On April 25, 2022, the Hunt-Lee Commission’s final report was released with recommendations for how North Carolina can strengthen its education systems. The Commission, named after North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., and The Hunt Institute Board Members Senator Howard Lee and Senator Michael Lee, was formed to activate solutions for advancing student success in early childhood, K-12, and higher education. As a member of the Commission, NC Chamber President and CEO Gary Salamido provided the voice of our business community as the diverse group of legislators and leaders from the academic and philanthropic communities convened to address the challenges impacting early learning through higher education – including improving outcomes for adult learners. The report, described as a road map, received “bipartisan blessings” from state lawmakers as well as Governor Cooper.

During the course of four meetings, the Commissioners collaborated with local and national experts to establish common ground and shared goals on key themes: transitions, structure and alignment, funding, and access. The NC Chamber believes in the report’s focus on implementing proven solutions. From the report: “we have data to show what works, but as a state, we have chosen not to implement those strategies for one reason or another. For every “piece” within the continuum, Commissioners pointed to research studies and data as evidence that a particular program or effort worked.”

The NC Chamber Foundation Institute for Workforce Competitiveness will also convene North Carolina’s leaders from business, economic development, government, and education to identify successful workforce programs that can be scaled to serve more businesses, communities, and families statewide. The Institute will engage employers, educators, and workforce experts across North Carolina to spotlight solutions: how companies are creating talent pipelines, collaborating with educators to close skills gaps, and strategically planning for future workforce needs.

The Hunt-Lee Commission’s final report includes the following guidelines:

Build On What We Have
* Strengthen our data information and sharing
* Model potential enhancements to our school finance system
* Increase the availability of child care subsidies
* Reduce barriers to access for NC Pre-K
* Incentivize excellent teachers to work in high-needs schools
* Expand the Advanced Teaching Roles pilot
* Grow the school leader pipeline
* Improve schools’ and districts’ ability to respond to student needs

Invite and Test New Ideas
* Identify opportunities to make early child education a financially viable career
* Incentivize providers to open more spaces for infant and toddler care
* Bridge student transitions from middle to high school

Implement Proven Solutions
* Expand home visiting programs
* Renew and sustain the state’s financial support for students pursuing two-year degrees
* Expand eligibility for in-state tuition
* Increase non-academic supports for postsecondary students
* Increase support for FAFSA completion