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Training helps parents fight for a better education

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. – Education advocates are giving parents and teachers the tools to fight for a better education for their students. The North Carolina Justice Center's Education and Law Project is hosting a training program in New Hanover County. The group is focusing on the message that every child deserves a high quality education.

For Chris Hill, with the NC Justice Center, this project is all about empowering parents and arming them with education. One topic, letting them know the Personalized Education Plan has changed.

"They no longer have to wait till the end of grade testing before they can advocate for their child to get a plan so they can succeed academically. In fact it is the responsibility of the teacher," said Hill.

For parents like Sonya Bennetone, they are at the meeting to learn how to get involved. Over the past year re-segregation in the schools is an issue drawing major concerns.

"The answers I am looking for is how can parents advocate their rights and how can I assist other parents that may not know their rights. How they can advocate for their child therefore they can work with the school system and their teachers to better help the school system," said Bennetone.

Hill said a study done in Maryland shows the achievement gap closes when minority students have access to influential peers.

The state's multi-billion dollar budget deficit is also causing a big concern. According to the state's Public Schools Budget, if schools saw a 5 percent reduction, funding for school technology would be gone along with the dropout prevention and teachers would see an almost 7 percent reductions.

"We want excellent education and that isn't going to happen with re-segregation or cutting funding for education," said Hill.

According to the Department of Public Instruction Public School budgets have been cut for three consecutive years.

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