Leaders in Charlotte public and higher education said Friday that there needs to be better collaboration between the two sides as early as elementary school to ensure students are ready to succeed in the next steps after graduation.
Top officials at Johnson C. Smith University, Queens University and Central Piedmont Community College all said they’re occasionally challenged by students coming in who need remedial work.
“There must be a seamless articulation between higher education and public education,” Johnson C. Smith University President Ron Carter said at the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club, a monthly networking group that features prominent speakers. “These problems will not go away if we continue to act like we are distinct.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison said that remediation is always a more expensive option than taking proactive steps. He said that’s why quality pre-kindergarten programs are important and why the district is also encouraging more students to take Advanced Placement classes.
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Morrison also called for the ability to be more flexible in school calendars to avoid learning loss over summer breaks, and to better align public education curriculum and standards with what colleges and universities are looking for beginning at the kindergarten level.
The schools leaders also asked for more communication with the business community about what companies need in a workforce. Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College, said he often hears complaints about a skills gap that can be reduced if businesses worked with the community college system.