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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jim Goodnight, July 22, 1999. Interview I-0073. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Business leader gets involved in promoting education

In this excerpt, Goodnight says that his primary loyalty as a business leader is to his employees, but concerns about the state of education in North Carolina is driving him to encourage businesses' involvement in that arena.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jim Goodnight, July 22, 1999. Interview I-0073. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JM: Let me ask you a couple of questions of a sort of broad--. These are more philosophically oriented. What's your personal perspective on the proper corporate role in relation to the community for the broader public good? JG: Well, I've not thought a whole lot about that. In essence, to me, my philosophy has always been to be very much concerned about the employees and look after the employees. The employees, if they're happy and making good money, they themselves will become involved with the community. We've got volunteer programs here. We actually have a head of volunteer programs so that people want to volunteer as a group and work together on that. Lately, though, I've felt that it's important that somebody's got to be involved in education. That's one of the things that I'm trying to spearhead right now, is more involvement of the companies in education. I'm trying to sort of set an example for that. Our schools are just falling further and further behind. Gosh, the taxpayers of Wake County just voted down a bond issue to improve the schools. The schools are just terribly overcrowded. That's one of the first things we need to try to do for the schools, is try to cut the class size down to a maximum of twenty kids. It's hard to be a nurturing teacher when you've got thirty-five kids in your class. You don't have time. You just become a disciplinarian. It's terribly unfair to the teachers of the state that we are forcing so many kids on them everyday. JM: So the things you've witnessed haven't diminished in any way your commitment to the public schools? JG: No. I've got about forty-five people right now that are working on digital computer-based educational materials that we are making available to public schools, not only here in North Carolina but all over the company. We're partnering with counties up in Virginia, Florida, Texas, California to try to get them to use the work that we've done. JM: I've seen SAS criticized in some press piece, somewhere on the Cary Academy front, saying that represented too great a step away from public education. I don’t know, it sounds to me as if you might see that as a venture to demonstrate a particular educational model, it sounds like. JG: That's certainly the case. I don't particularly worry about what's in the paper. I don't even read our local paper. I just refuse too. It's just so inaccurate over the years that I've read it. They've got such biases against things that they just come right out and are blatantly biased against stuff. I just quit reading the News and Observer many years ago and all of their associate papers, like The Cary News.