In the old North Carolina of tobacco farms and textile mills, a high school diploma for many young people ó and for employers as well ó amounted to a luxury. Steady work, even if onerous and low-paid, could be found in the fields and at the looms even if one hadnít finished high school in good standing.
A result was that the share of North Carolina students who went on to graduate was on the low side. But in recent years, with an evolving market for jobs and rising standards, the push has been on to improve that performance.
State officials said recently that for the first time ever, North Carolinaís high school graduation rate has edged above the national average. Can the momentum be sustained in the face of budget cuts that would drag the stateís per-pupil spending toward the bottom? If not, much ground gained in a noble fight will be surrendered ó and many lives will be affected for the worse.
ó The News & Observer of Raleigh