NEA honors N.C. governor as ‘greatest'

The National Education Association honored N.C. Gov. Mike Easley this week with its “America's Greatest Education Governor's Award.” Some critics of the governor might raise an eyebrow to that, but in fact he has committed enormous attention and resources to strategies to better educate the children of this state.

The NEA cites two of his most important initiatives, the “More at Four” program for at-risk preschool students and the Learn and Earn program, which allows high school students to graduate with a diploma and an associate's degree. Learn and Earn also was cited as one of the top 50 programs in the 2008 Innovations in American Government Awards sponsored by Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Gov. Easley also pushed legislators to provide more resources for high-poverty schools in low-wealth counties and continues to prod them to boost teacher pay to the national average.

“America's greatest education governor” may sound a bit hifalutin, but Gov. Easley has been good. Congrats, governor.

“Leave No Child Behind' shouldn't

leave common sense behind

N.C. education officials had hoped the U.S. Department of Education wouldn't count state reading scores this year in its annual tally for “adequate yearly progress” of school systems. N.C. officials have toughened standards and are setting new passing rates for the tests.

But the feds rejected the request not to count N.C. exams for elementary and middle schools. Since N.C. officials expect not enough students will pass the tests, the federal No Child Left Behind Act will require many school systems to offer special tutoring to those students.

That creates a problem. Recent evaluations of such tutoring show those programs aren't helping students perform better academically. Some critics complain the tutoring programs, which often involve private firms, take money from public schools that could be used to hire more and better teachers to help students so they wouldn't fail in the first place.

Geez. If education officials are serious about leaving no child behind educationally, this doesn't seem a good way to accomplish the goal.

Cheers to Davidson's Stephen Curry! He's among elite ESPY nominees

Everybody around here loves Stephen Curry, and apparently ESPN does, too. The Davidson College guard's play during the NCAA tournament led the Wildcats into the Elite Eight and landed him among the nominees for ESPN's ESPY awards as the best breakthrough athlete.

But to Michael Wilbon of ESPN's “Pardon The Interruption,” Mr. Curry deserves more. On Tuesday's show when the nominees were announced, he suggested a write-in campaign for Mr. Curry as Male College Athlete of the Year.

For both his play on the court and his conduct off it, he'd be hard to beat.