Need to invest in education
In this excerpt, Phillips argues for the importance of the state of North Carolina's financial support for education, but also for tuition hikes. He worries that skilled teachers, especially at community colleges, are leaving their jobs because they are not being paid very well. He believes that he speaks for the business community on this issue because the business community believes in the importance of an educated workforce.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with S. Davis (Dave) Phillips, January 27, 1999. Interview I-0084. 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: Another question. Does the state spend the right amount of, invest the right level of resources in education from a business leader's perspective and I'm thinking both at primary and secondary on the one hand, public schools, and then the higher ed level.
DP: I think they spend most of their money on education. I've forgotten exactly what the figures. Two-thirds of all the revenue come into education in North Carolina. It's probably the most important things obviously that you can put your money into. I think the universities could charge more tuition, and they're discussing all that. Some of the graduate schools are charging more, the business schools and things of this nature because they can get more. It's the pricing of their peer group. The university system itself is so highly regarded. It's such a value. The general feeling of people I've talked to in the state, we all know very well that you could charge more, and you're not going to have any problem whatsoever. That could help. If we're losing professors, then we're crazy not to charge more. It's so hard to get money out of the legislature. It's going to be hard now because the windfalls are over with. We've got to deal with an economy and certain situations that come up. We've got to hold on to the valuable resource of our really good professors. We're not doing it.
The high schools in North Carolina are getting better. We've got a long way to go. Jim Hunt is extremely concerned about all this stuff. So I became educated about all of this myself, which I had never totally appreciated. It goes back to even his Smart Start, which is a very creative idea. But we've got to pay our teachers more, and we've got to have higher standards. He's made tremendous progress in all that.
Our community college system is one of the jewels of economic development. It's a phenomenon. We have fifty-eight campuses. One of the key reasons we have been so successful in economic development the last fifty years is because we have such a fabulous system. However, we're not paying those teachers enough. There's a major article that came out this week that talked about we're losing a lot of them. They're frustrated, and they're banding together, and it's awful. So, to what degree we can charge more for community college, I don’t know. That's going to be tough. The high schools, you just got to put more money into them. Colleges can charge more. We want to be competitive and we want to provide what has been said for so long is the backbone of North Carolina is the reasonable priced education system. So it's got to be a balance. Education is a number one priority.
JM: And you think the business community will rally to that view.
DP: Exactly. If you don’t have education, you don't have economic development. There's educated workers. That's going to be more important in the future than it has in the past.