NC Teaching Fellows Program
Created in 1986 as a result of the first Forum study group, the Teaching Fellows Program remains the largest state-funded teacher scholarship in the country. Thanks to the General Assembly, Fellows receive $6,500 for each of their four years of college; in return, they must teach in North Carolina’s public schools for at least four years. Today, over 3,700 Fellows are teaching in schools across North Carolina. On behalf of the state, the Forum has managed the program since 1986; the program has been a model for other states that have begun similar initiatives.
The Collaborative Project, A 21st Century Initiative of the NC General Assembly
A three year pilot project that began in August 2007 and is administered jointly by the Public School Forum of North Carolina and the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center. The Collaborative Project seeks to strengthen participating public school systems serving low-income students in rural areas of the state. Currently the following five school systems with similar demographics and challenges are participants in the Collaborative Project: Caswell County, Greene County, Mitchell County, Warren County and Washington County.
NC School Improvement & Accountability Act of 1989
The beginnings of North Carolina’s drive to increase student performance by introducing statewide accountability can be traced to the recommendations in “Thinking for a Living: A Blueprint for Educational Growth,” the final report from the second Forum study group. Those recommendations and the omnibus school reform bill that resulted laid the foundation for today’s ABCs program.
Supplemental Funding for Small & Poor School Systems
In 1991, the General Assembly created supplemental funds for small and low-wealth school systems. The funds closely mirrored recommendations made in the Forum’s third major study group. As a result of the two funds, small and poor school systems across the state receive supplemental funding of nearly $100 million annually.
The School Technology Fund
The Forum’s fifth major study group recommended the creation of a School Technology Fund that would insure a steady revenue stream for schools attempting to harness the potential of technology. Such a fund was created in 1994 and continues to provide technology dollars to schools today.
Strengthening the Teacher Workforce
In 1996, the Forum issued “A Profession in Jeopardy,” a report that called on the state to dramatically strengthen its approaches to teacher preparation and support. The “Excellent Schools Act of 1997” addressed many of the recommendations included in that report and the state now has a funded mentor teacher program, formal orientation sessions for new teachers, and other programs that are strengthening the state’s teacher workforce.
Targeting State Resources
Last year, the Forum issued the results of its most recent study group in a document entitled “The Things that Matter” that focused on how North Carolina funds its schools. The major recommendation in the study was that “one size fits all” funding policies did not distinguish between the needs of schools or children and that the state should begin targeting its resources toward those that need them most. In 1999, the General Assembly earmarked $30 million in a program called NC Helps, specifically for students who are under-performing.