Commissioner Jerrell will fight to strengthen our schools, empower parents and provide educators the resources needed to effectively prepare our children for the jobs of tomorrow.
SUPPORT FOR OUR STUDENTS
To improve the quality of education for District 4 residents, we must start as early as possible. It is imperative that parents, particularly single parents, have access to quality early childhood education. We know that this is the foundation needed to prepare children socially, mentally, physically and emotionally for their future.
According to a study conducted in 2015, elementary school students in District 4 have a test proficiency of 38%. Middle School students in District 4 have a test proficiency of 30% while high school students have a test proficiency of 39%. A key component to providing a quality education is the accessibility of services including healthcare and mental health. Many of our children in low performing schools are coming from areas of high concentrations of poverty, crime and violence and their basic needs are not being met. We must have a targeted focus on low performing schools and push for access to mental health professionals for both students and parents in an effort to improve their quality of life.
Another major challenge is the growing epidemic of youth suicide. The youth suicide rate has increased in North Carolina since the start of the decade. Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults between the ages of 15 and 19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. LGBT youth are twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Organizations like the Child Fatality Task Force have offered policy recommendations and programs to prevent the rising teenage suicide rate.
I will work with the CMS Board to improve the quality of education for District 4 students and ensure the quality of education is not determined based on our zip codes
I will work with organizations and the newly developed Mental Health facility created specifically for children & teens in the heart of District 4 by Monarch Health to bring awareness to the growing trend of suicide among youth and teens and improve mental health access within CMS.