Darts and laurels
Dart to higher teacher turnover rates across the state. The state Department of Public Instruction reported this week that about 14.3 percent of N.C. teachers left their positions in the 2012-13 school year. Thatís a five-year high in the turnover rate and 2 percentage points higher than the previous termís turnover of 12.1 percent. Locally, the Rowan-Salisbury district, at 14 percent, was slightly below the state average. Cabarrus Countyís turnover rate was 13 percent, while Iredellís was 12.6 and Kannapolis City schools 11.75. Many of the departing teachers remained in education but took jobs in other districts, according to the DPI report. You canít fault teachers for seeking promotions, exploring different subject areas or moving on for more money. But if the higher turnover rates persist, that could be a sign of bigger problems, especially in districts where the rate approached or even exceeded 30 percent. Workforce stability is important in any profession, and certainly for educators who need to have in-depth knowledge not only of subject matter but of their studentsí lives and the dynamics of their school communities.
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Laurels to students at West Rowan High who crafted a thoughtful tribute to classmate Makinzy Smith, who was killed in October when he was struck by car while crossing the road to catch the bus. As with any studentís death, this was a stunning loss for family, friends and the West Rowan school community. Coping with such heartbreak is never easy. But by completing a woodworking project that Makinzy was working on at the time of his death ó a pair of wooden plant stands ó students showed their appreciation for a friendís life and gave a sturdy, lasting legacy of love to his family.
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Dart to citizensí lack of information about requirements for government to be open and transparent. A recent Elon University poll indicated two-thirds of North Carolinians arenít aware the state has ďsunshine lawsíí requiring many records and government meetings be accessible to all residents. So long as citizens are unaware of their rights in this area ó and donít exercise those rights ó some public officials will be more emboldened to ignore sunshine requirements. The poll was conducted on landlines and cellphones and surveyed 732 residents between Nov. 15-18. It has a margin of error of 3.62 percentage points.