Partners In Education  is gaining daily momentum within Carter County. Through PIE, business and industry, educators and the local community are coming together to close the education gap. One may wonder why it is important to work as a community to support our local schools, creating a community driven initiative to foster active collaborations and partnerships to identify creative, out-of-the box solutions. The ever growing education gap should be the concern of every citizen of Carter County.
To fully understand the impact of this community driven initiative, one must first understand what the widening education gap is. The simple definition is of all students enrolled in school, as they progress through their education, more and more fall below average in skills, creating a gap in those who have mastered skills versus those who have not.
This is problematic, as for those who have fallen below the gap, the energy it takes to overcome the gap greatly increases. While students are attempting to overcome this gap, new skills are being taught. These skills are not mastered, either because of lack of mastery of the previous skill or because of the energy being placed into mastering the old skill.
The local schools are at the forefront of this battle. The schools are more aware of this challenge than any other entity, and are actively looking for solutions. The schools are more challenged than ever. In addition to yearly curriculum changes, the ever increasing number of tests, and the shortage of staff and growing class numbers, schools must overcome a 27 percent budget cut for the 2016-2017 school year.  This budget cut will result in fewer teachers, larger classes and extremely limited resources. What this means is of 50,220 kindergarteners who began school together, only 13,439 will complete higher education. That is only 27 percent. What happens to the other 73 percent?
This is where community-driven initiatives, such as PIE, become vital to the success of a community’s students. As one may recall, PIE has six goals:
1. Every child is prepared for public/private schools
2. Every child supported in and out of school
3. Every child succeeds academically
4. Every child enrolled in a post-secondary or industry credential program or enters military service
5. Every child attains a post-secondary degree, industry credential or military credential
6. Every child is equipped to become effective and productive citizens
These goals reflect the importance of our schools and students to the community. Through PIE, the growing needs of the students can be met, the schools can be supported and business and industry will gain employable staff. Local jobs will be filled by homegrown employees.
If you are interested in more information about PIE or ways that you can become involved, please contact me, at the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce at (580) 223-7765.