NC Policy Watch is talking with nominees for the State Board of Education to give our readers a sense of their backgrounds and philosophies on education policy in the state of North Carolina.
The three open slots on the State Board of Education were slated to be filled under Governor Perdue back in 2011. Her nominees were ignored by state lawmakers until the end of her term, and the nominees we have today are Governor McCrory’s picks. Three additional slots are expected to open up this year as well. Stay tuned for their profiles.
Name: Rebecca H. Taylor
Occupation: Owner of five Sylvan Learning Center franchises in Eastern North Carolina
Education and training: Undergraduate and graduate degrees in special education from East Carolina University and taught special education in public schools for 10 years. Also taught special education at ECU for two years.
Current residence: Greenville, NC
From: Jacksonville, NC
Family: Married for 33 years, one son aged 31.
Hobbies: “I work all of the time but I love reading and learning – they are my passions.”
Why are you interested in serving on the State Board of Education? “I have taught in schools myself, and I know what parents and teachers are dealing with and that students have many challenges. I have walked in all of these shoes, and I feel that this is a unique time in my life to give back and contribute to all of those individuals in a positive way.”
What do you see are the major issues facing public education this year? “We need to make sure we are providing the appropriate education for all students. It’s not a one size fits all. We need to look at different alternatives to educating our students. Not all students are great candidates for four-year universities but will be successful in our communities and we need to start providing them for that life after high school.”
What is your position on:
- Online virtual charter schools: “I am in favor of charter schools, but we have to be careful in which ones we are approving. Charter schools do provide benefits to our community. Online virtual charters I would need to learn more about because at this point I can’t say it is something I would encourage.”
- Vouchers and education tax credits: “We need to look at this. Many families choose to go to a private school because they are trying to give their child the best education available to them, and I do think we should provide vouchers or tax credits to those families.”
- Current funding for public schools: “This is a tough one. I do think that there are funds that are often not used in the most efficient manner. We do need to look at it carefully. Local districts should be held accountable and held responsible for how they are spending their money. I won’t say there is a shortage of funds – we must look at effectiveness and efficiency and how we are spending our money.”
- Merit pay for teachers: “I am all about merit pay as long as we can measure that appropriately. I know that some educators are giving more than 100% and they do need to be rewarded for their efforts just like people in business are rewarded for their efforts. Educators need that same opportunity.”
- A-F grading system for schools: “This is definitely controversial, and I need to learn more about it. I have heard lots of pros and cons. In the end it all goes back to accountability. Accountability is what we do need.”
How do you describe your politics? “I am definitely a conservative individual. I am conservative in my beliefs and practices. But at the same time I am open-minded and want to think out of the box.
Something about you most people don’t know: “I came from a family of six children, and I grew up in a family that struggled financially, so I have lived the life of so many families who are in public schools. I have been there.”