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Architect Turned Lt. Governor Wants to Take Education Back to Drawing Board

North Carolina Lt. Governor is tired of the bureaucracy

Dan Forest, an architect by trade, has served the state of North Carolina as Lieutenant Governor since 2013. As one of the state’s leaders, he is candid in his observation that the education system in America today is a broken system based on a 100-year-old industrial model designed to prepare students for factory work.

He points to the complex bureaucracy of government controlled education, and how the culture of protecting jobs can be more important than preparing students for the world they are going to live in tomorrow. He doesn’t think it has to be that way, and he thinks the government should borrow from the private sector to find ways to innovate.

Vintage manual typerwriter“Corporate America is a bureaucratic organization,” he says. IBM doesn’t do a lot of innovations internally; CISCO doesn’t do a lot of innovations internally. They go out and buy nimble, innovative companies and introduce them into their model.”

“Education is the same thing. We can’t do it all internally within a government bureaucratic model. We have to partner with the innovators, and we have to allow a platform at the state level that allows those local schools to go find the innovation they need to improve the quality of success for their students at the local level.”

Dan believes that protectionism of the status quo is so ingrained in the system, that radical changes are necessary. “Let’s blow up that system and figure out what it should be for this 21st-century world that we’re moving into,” he says. “Let’s look at the high tech jobs and the types of jobs that are going away and the types of jobs that are coming that we don’t even know about yet. Let’s focus that system on the student.”

About Dan Forest

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan ForestDan Forest has served as Lt. Governor of North Carolina since January 2013. Prior to becoming Lt. Governor, he received two degrees from the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC). After college, Dan became a leader in the business community for over 20 years, having served as Office President and Senior Partner of the state’s largest architectural firm – Little Diversified Architectural Consulting. Dan has been designated as an Architect Emeritus. A father of four, he and his wife, Alice, reside in Wake County.

As Lieutenant Governor, Dan serves as the President of the North Carolina Senate and serves as a voting member of the State Board of Education and the State Board of Community Colleges. On the State Board of Education, he is the Chairman of the Special Committee on Digital Technology at the State Board of Education, which is tasked with the implementation of the state-wide digital technology plan. He is also a member of the NC Advisory Commission on Military Affairs, the chair of the Energy Policy Council, and Food Manufacturing Task Force.