North Carolina Case Study: New SLDS, Existing Partnerships*
The connection between education and workforce has always been acute in North Carolina. North Carolina is the tenth largest state in the nation by population, and it continues to grow. This growth offers many benefits to the state’s economy; however, it places strain on the state’s educational system. The state sees the connection between its educational system and its economic future: A strong educational system provides a strong knowledge workforce for the years to come. In the latest round of NCES SLDS grants, North Carolina received $3 million to link its K–12 data to higher education and workforce data to further this link between education and whatever comes next for students, with the intention of using it as a more effective gauge of what’s working and what’s not in education. Though the grant is welcome and appreciated, it’s a drop in the bucket beside the $18 million grant the state applied for in the previous round of SLDS grants. North Carolina is a Race to the Top state, though none of the $400 million over four years it is receiving through that program is to be spent on this initiative. Pulling together an SLDS on a shoestring budget with a large group of stakeholders will be a challenge, but one that is a necessary evil if this resource is to be established.
North Carolina is unique in that it has very strong institutions with good working relationships that haven’t been able to seal the deal ...