The future of learning: Michele Morrow’s plan to revitalize public education in NC

By Gene Galin

Pittsboro, NC – In an unexpected political turn, Michele Morrow emerged victorious in the Republican primary in March for North Carolina’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, defeating incumbent Catherine Truitt. Morrow’s triumph, attributed to her grassroots campaign and strong stance on educational reform, highlights a growing demand for change in the state’s educational system. With her background as an emergency room nurse and experience in public, private, and homeschooling, Morrow brings a unique perspective to the table. I had a chance to sit down and speak with the candidate on Saturday afternoon at an event in Silk Hope. As she prepares for the general election against her Democratic opponent, Morrow outlined her vision for transforming North Carolina’s education landscape.

Education Reform: A Critical Issue

Education in North Carolina is at a crossroads, with rising concerns over the quality and effectiveness of the current system. Michele Morrow’s campaign tapped into these concerns, resonating with voters across the political spectrum. “Education is an issue that crosses all race, religion, and politics,” Morrow explained. “People are very concerned that our children are not getting the sound basic education they need to pursue careers that are not only financially lucrative but also personally rewarding.”

Morrow’s victory in the primary may signify a call for new leadership and innovative solutions. Her win over Truitt, the incumbent, was particularly surprising given Truitt’s established position and support. Morrow attributes her success to a widespread desire for change and a focus on fundamental educational values.

A Personal Journey to Public Office

Morrow’s decision to run for public office stems from her deep involvement in her children’s education and her firsthand observations of the system’s shortcomings. With five children who have experienced public, private, and homeschool environments, Morrow believes she has a well-rounded understanding of what works and what doesn’t. “I’ve been engaged for the last five years in what’s happening in our schools,” she said. “I realized this is a problem that’s coming from the top down, and we need to address it at that level.”

Addressing Political Agendas in Education

One of the critical issues Morrow aims to tackle is the infiltration of political agendas into the classroom. She argues that too much time, money, and classroom focus are being diverted away from essential educational elements. “We are spending too much classroom time on political agendas, which are not the basis of education,” Morrow asserted. “Children need to learn critical thinking skills, reasoning, and conflict resolution.”

Reallocating Resources to the Classroom

Morrow emphasizes the need to redirect educational funding towards the classroom, prioritizing essential subjects such as reading, writing, and math. Drawing from her experience as an emergency room nurse, she likens the situation to triage, where life-threatening injuries are addressed first. “We are at a crisis point in our educational system,” Morrow stated. “We need to focus on reading, writing, and math in elementary school, as these are the foundational skills our children need.”

Morrow’s approach involves evaluating the effectiveness of current programs and eliminating those that do not demonstrably improve academic achievement. “If you cannot prove statistically that any program or spending is helping our children academically, in career development, or character development, it needs to be cut,” she said.

Safety, Academic Excellence, and Career Preparedness

In her triage analogy, Morrow identifies three key areas: safety, academic excellence, and career preparedness. She has visited numerous Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs across North Carolina and beyond, recognizing the importance of practical skills and vocational training. “CTE allows kids to do something beyond book work,” Morrow explained. “It prepares them for careers they are passionate about, whether it’s mechanics, police work, cosmetology, or nursing.”

Morrow envisions expanding CTE programs and partnering with businesses to train future workers while they are still in high school. This, she believes, can revitalize local economies and provide young people with viable career paths immediately upon graduation.

Addressing Teacher Concerns

Morrow acknowledges the concerns of teachers, particularly regarding salary and discipline. She aims to provide better support and resources to teachers, ensuring they have the time and backing needed to teach effectively. “Teachers are leaving because they don’t have the time to teach and lack support in handling classroom discipline,” Morrow noted.

Her solution includes implementing a code of conduct that can be adopted by individual school boards, ensuring consistent standards across the state. Morrow also emphasizes the need for administrators to support teachers in maintaining classroom order and addressing disruptive behavior.

Parental Involvement and Transparency

A cornerstone of Morrow’s platform is increasing parental involvement in education. She believes that schools should serve families and that parents should have a say in their children’s education. “My opponent believes the system is working well and that we don’t need parental involvement,” Morrow said. “I believe the schools serve the families, and we need to involve parents in the educational process.”

The Challenge Ahead

As Morrow prepares for the general election, she faces the challenge of convincing a broader electorate of her vision for North Carolina’s education system. Her Democratic opponent advocates for continuing current policies, while Morrow calls for a complete overhaul. “We need to go back to when our literacy rates and academic performance were rising,” she asserted. “The system needs to be accountable and focused on results.”

Michele Morrow speaks to an audience at an event in Silk Hope, NC. (photo by Gene Galin)

A Vision for the Future

Michele Morrow’s unexpected victory in the Republican primary has set the stage for a contentious general election. Her focus on fundamental educational values, safety, academic excellence, and career preparedness resonates with many voters seeking change. As Morrow campaigns for the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction, she aims to bring a fresh perspective and innovative solutions to North Carolina’s education system.

In her own words, “I want every child to reach their greatest potential, and I want teachers to love their job and be able to provide for their families. We need to make North Carolina schools the best in the country and an example for everyone else to follow.”

The upcoming election will determine whether Morrow’s vision becomes a reality.