The North Carolina Chamber has spent several years fighting for high academic standards in our public schools. For the business community, career and college readiness start with high expectations for students.
The recent success story of North Carolina teacher Michael Bonner got our attention, along with millions of people across the country. South Greenville Elementary is a Title 1 school with 100 percent of students at or below the poverty level. Many students enter Bonner’s second grade classroom hungry and falling far behind grade level.
“Poverty has its way of disrupting the brain” says Bonner. “When [poverty] shows up in your classroom you have to find a way to continually fight and persevere.”
When 80 percent of his class failed a recent assessment Bonner made a commitment to improve results. His commitment: when fourteen of his twenty students passed the next assessment he would make his class a music video. The video went viral and the rest is history.
Bonner has since appeared on the Ellen Show twice. The second time with his whole class. He has also appeared on Lester Holt’s Inspiring America and been recognized by the N.C. State Board of Education.
More important than the recognition is the improved academic achievement of his students. They are achieving higher academic standards to prepare them for the jobs of the future. As Bonner says, “teachers like me, we find different ways to be creative, innovative and engage them and teach them the instructional content that will make them productive global leaders.”
Achievement in his class has improved so drastically that the class is now filming their fourth music video. And a Go Fund Me page established by the Ellen Show has raised more than $87,000.
We look forward to bringing you more examples of teachers who succeed in teaching higher academic standards by expecting great things from their students.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber