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Governor James B. Hunt Jr.
North Carolina
Chair, Board of Directors

Governor Jim Hunt has dedicated his historic fourth term as Governor to improving the lives of North Carolina's children, and is committed to ensuring that every child gets a quality public education.

Governor Hunt believes a good education is the foundation of North Carolina's success, and that all North Carolinians -- educators, business and community leaders, policymakers and parents -- must rededicate themselves to meeting that challenge and responsibility.

As Governor from 1977 through 1985, Governor Hunt led North Carolina's education reform efforts. He set up the primary reading program, reduced class size, created dropout prevention programs and established the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics. As Lieutenant Governor from 1973 through 1977, he successfully pushed to make kindergarten available to every North Carolina child.

Governor Hunt is currently serving as the Founding Chair of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to ensuring educational opportunity, affordability, and quality in American higher education. The Center provides action-oriented analyses of state and federal policies affecting education beyond high school.

In addition, Governor Hunt chairs the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, which is looking for ways to bring the nation's best and brightest into the teaching profession. This 26-member commission brings together leaders from higher education, business, labor, and state government, as well as teachers and administrators.

Governor Hunt helped establish and serves as Founding Chair of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which is working to boost excellence in teaching. North Carolina leads the nation in the number of candidates and the number of National Board Certified teachers, the nation's top measure of professional expertise.

Governor Hunt has also served on the National Education Goals Panel, which was set up in 1990 to monitor the progress of "Goals 2000," an achievement plan developed during a summit of the nation's governors. The 1997 National Education Goals report, issued by the panel, showed that North Carolina had the most impressive improvements toward reaching educational goals outlined by the panel, and made significant progress in math and science assessments.

For the next four years, Governor Hunt has laid out an Agenda for Action that focuses on giving children a healthy start in life and making North Carolina schools the best that they can be. Smart Start, the Governor's early childhood initiative, is providing higher quality day-care, more day-care slots, better trained teachers and preventive health screenings for thousands of North Carolina children.

The Excellent Schools Act -- which Hunt built as the cornerstone of his 1997 legislative agenda -- will help North Carolina get and keep good teachers. It will raise standards for students and teachers and hold them accountable for meeting those standards; and it will raise teacher pay to the national average, using performance pay to ensure that the best teachers get the best salaries.

Governor Hunt's commitment to children and their education has seen results. North Carolina ranked among the top 12 states in the nation in a report card on education developed by Education Week and the Pew Charitable Trusts, which was released in January of 1997. North Carolina's fourth-graders are performing above the national average in math, having posted the highest gain in the nation in the 1996 results of the National Assessment of Education Progress. Eighth-graders in North Carolina showed the highest gain in the nation since 1990 and the second-highest since 1992 on the NAEP math test, and posted scores well above the Southeast average.

To help prepare North Carolina's work force for successful careers, Governor Hunt has pushed to keep North Carolina's universities and community colleges strong. He has worked to support teachers, facilities and worker training programs at community colleges and universities. In addition, in 1993 Governor Hunt led the effort to pass a statewide referendum that included over $500 million in bonds to boost universities and community colleges.

Governor Hunt's dedication and commitment to improving education has been recognized on the national level. The Governor has been awarded the prestigious James B. Conant Award, honoring him as the public leader in America contributing most significantly to public educational progress. He has also been named a National Education Association Friend of Education, past recipients of which include Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Bill Clinton. In addition, he has received the Horace Mann League's "Friends of Public Education Award" for his strong commitment to public schools and his significant contributions to improving public education on a national level.


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