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Friday Report – April 7, 2017
This week in #nced: Roadmap of Need Released; K-3 Class Size Debate Continues; Teaching Fellows Bill Moves Forward
by Forum Admin
The Friday Report
April 7, 2017
New Report Highlights Where Young People Are Less Likely To Succeed in North Carolina
A new report released this week by the Public School Forum of North Carolina and its NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) highlights large areas of North Carolina where young people are at risk of not succeeding. The report, 2017 Roadmap of Need, was released this week at the Center for Afterschool Programs 14th annual Synergy Conference in Charlotte.
First published by the Public School Forum of North Carolina and NC CAP in 2010, the Roadmap of Need uses data on health, youth behavior and safety, education, and economic development to assess the relative well-being of young people living in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
According to the report, the five top counties where young people have the greatest likelihood for success are Orange, Union, Wake, Cabarrus and Watauga. The bottom five counties where young people are most at risk are Northampton, Warren, Halifax, Robeson, and Edgecombe. The makeup of the top five has Watauga County in place of Camden County, while Vance and Anson moved out of the bottom five this year.
“Our latest report, much like our Local School Finance Study just released last week, shows that North Carolina continues to be a state where opportunities for young people vary dramatically different depending on where they grow up,” said Keith Poston, President and Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina. “The Roadmap of Need report clearly shows there are far too many counties in North Carolina in economic decline, which typically means struggling and underfunded schools, few out of school opportunities and relatively unhealthy and unsafe places for children compared to other parts of the state.”
At first glance, the Roadmap points to counties in eastern North Carolina as those most at risk. However, the nature of county-wide indicators often masks the variation occurring within counties, particularly our most populous urban counties where neighborhoods that alone would be viewed as thriving on the Roadmap indicators exist in close proximity to neighborhoods with many young people in need.
“Our state continues to be two North Carolinas when it comes to opportunity, not just for children, but for all our citizens,” Poston said. “We must find better ways to bring jobs and economic growth to rural North Carolina which is the root cause of most of these other areas of need in these communities.”
Over the past several years, the Roadmap has been a key resource for afterschool providers and other education organizations in communicating with policymakers, funders, and citizens about the importance of their services, and to target areas for increased investment. School administrators, central office staff, nonprofits, community leaders, and parent advocates also use the Roadmap to demonstrate to others the needs faced by their community. Public education advocates have brought Roadmap data to the attention of school board members, county commissioners, and members of the General Assembly in order to inform their efforts to create state and local policies that address significant community needs.
This Weekend on Education Matters: School Building Needs and State Employee Benefits with State Treasurer Dale Folwell
This week’s episode of Education Matters discusses state employee and retiree benefits with guest State Treasurer Dale Folwell and we talk about the state’s critical school building needs and how to cover the $8 billion dollar price tag.
Dale Folwell, North Carolina State Treasurer
Leanne Winner, Director, Governmental Relations, NC School Boards Association
Kevin Leonard, Executive Director, NC Association of County Commissioners
When and Where to Watch Education Matters
Saturdays at 7:30 PM, WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)
Sundays at 6:30 AM and Mondays at 3:00 PM, UNC-TV’s NC Channel (Statewide)
The floodgates are still open for new bills, especially with the Senate bill filing deadline of Tuesday (for non-appropriations bills). The main events this week included:
SB 252NC Teaching Fellows – The Senate Education Committee amended the bill and passed the revised version this week; it next goes to Senate Appropriations. Amendments include the following substantive changes:
• Removed the $6 million appropriation and instead would make the re-creation of the program contingent upon a new appropriation in the 2017 budget, with the funds going to the North Carolina Education Endowment Fund; thereby proposing that the future Teaching Fellows Fund be funded by that Endowment Fund.
• Specified that the Director of the NC Teaching Fellows Commission would report to the UNC President.
SB 542Public School Building Bond Act would set up a $1.9 billion bond referendum for public school construction. The state’s public schools have a projected $8 billion need over the next 5 years. The last public school bond was in 1996.
HB 117Protect Students in Schools would enact a statewide system for criminal background checks for teachers and school personnel. The House Education Committee passed the bill this week.
• This would not attach the criminal background check to the state licensure process; rather, it would be controlled and paid for at the local school system/charter level, without the school employee-applicant having to pay for the cost.
• It would revise state law to require a school system/charter school board to report to the State Board of Education if a criminal history is relevant to a teacher’s resignation.
• 5-page bill on local school finance reform that would authorize boards of county commissioners to determine the method of providing county funds, including capital funds, to charter schools.
• As seen in recent years’ charter school bills, this also seeks to revamp Fund 8 and G.S. 115C-426.
SB 603Exceptional Education for Exceptional Children seeks to set up the controversial “Personal Education Savings Accounts” that have been touted by voucher supporters, and would:
• Appropriate $20 million over each of the next 2 years to the State Treasurer’s Office to establish the program and for “scholarship funds” for a qualifying student and his/her parent’s “Personal Education Savings Account.”
• Award “scholarships” to eligible students in an amount equal to the statewide average per pupil allocation for average daily membership for charter schools plus the State allocation per funded child with disabilities for the fiscal year.
State Senate Tangles with School Districts Over K-3 Class Sizes
Cedar Fork Elementary in Wake County would have to add three more kindergarten classrooms under the class-size change scheduled to go into effect in the fall. Photo Credit: Jess Clark, WUNC.
Public-school officials are panicking ahead of state-mandated class-size reductions in kindergarten through third grade. School systems say lawmakers gave them an unfunded mandate when they demanded schools cut K-3 class sizes starting next school year.
Lawmakers in the Senate say they already paid for class size reductions, and have even accused districts of financial mismanagement. So what’s the real story?
Smaller K-3 classes could mean more ‘trailer’ classrooms, fewer arts and P.E. teachers
Cedar Fork Elementary in Morrisville is surrounded by a fleet of trailers. These trailers, which the district calls modular spaces, are where the school puts thirteen classes of students that don’t fit inside the large brick building. And unless the legislature acts, there may have to be even more modular spaces at Cedar Fork. Assistant principal Jena Kehler said the K-3 class-size change means adding another three kindergarten classrooms.
“We are currently at capacity, so we would have to look at how we would create locations for the learning environments,” she said.
On top of the space issues, Wake and other school districts across the state say they’ll need millions of dollars to hire more K-3 teachers, or they’ll have to fire teachers in music, art and P.E. to make it work.
Meanwhile state senators are balking at school districts’ concerns.
“This was not an unfunded mandate,” said Republican Chad Barefoot, who chairs the senate education committee and represents Wake and Franklin Counties. “We sent them tens of millions of dollars to hire new classroom teachers, and all of a sudden they’re telling us that arts and P.E. teachers are going to have to lose their jobs—it’s just not adding up.”
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Senate Education Committee Votes Yes on Teaching Fellows Program
A Senate education committee gave unanimous support yesterday to a bill that would re-establish the once-popular Teaching Fellows Program.
The original Teaching Fellows Program, started in 1986, gave scholarships to students to attend college and train to become a teacher provided they were willing to teach in North Carolina schools for at least four years after graduation. Funding was ended in 2011 by the General Assembly.
The revamped program provides up to $8,250 to teachers in science, technology, education, mathematics, or STEM, and special education fields.
Teachers who participate in the program will have a year of their loans forgiven for every one year they spend at a low-performing school or two years at a non-low performing school.
Doug Cutshall isn’t sure he could have afforded college without the N.C. Teaching Fellows Program.
“I would have been drowning in debt,” he said recently. Cutshall is in his third year teaching at Erwin Middle School.
Under the teaching fellows program, graduates agreed to teach for four years in a North Carolina public school in exchange for scholarship money offered through the program. By teaching at Erwin, he’s paying back the financial assistance that helped him get his degree at UNC Asheville.
More than 8,500 students like Cutshall graduated from the N.C. Teaching Fellows Program since it started in 1987. But in 2011, with the state facing a budget shortfall, the popular program fell under the budget ax.
Now, some North Carolina lawmakers are hoping to bring back a scaled down version of the program. Bills introduced in both the N.C. House and Senate would help pay college costs for about 160 budding teachers who plan to teach in special education or in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.
Once they graduate from college, those new teachers would be able to pay back that financial help more quickly if they teach in what the state has deemed a “low performing” school.
“We need to get quality teachers, creative, innovative teachers into our highest needs schools and particularly in STEM subjects,” said Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, primary sponsor of the legislation.
The legislation already has more than 70 House sponsors and Horn said there’s also support in the Senate. The proposal has backing from both Republicans and Democrats.
“I know that we particularly need teachers in struggling schools, in schools where the resources may not be quite what they are in other areas. We need to give incentives to teachers to teach in those areas as well,” said Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe, who has signed on as a co-sponsor.
If approved by state lawmakers, the teaching fellows opportunity would be put in place at five college campuses, which are still to be determined.
The legislation would provide a larger scholarship or forgivable loan per year than the previous program, increasing the amount from $6,500 a year to $8,250 a year for up to four years. And it would be open to those already enrolled in college who decide they want to pursue teaching in those approved subject areas.
For every year they get financial help, participants would agree to teach for a year at a low performing school or for two years at any other public school.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Wake County Superintendent Wants $56.6 Million More in Local Funding For Schools
Wake County Superintendent Jim Merrill wants $56.6 million more in local funding to help offset the state’s upcoming cuts in school class sizes and to hire more counselors and social workers and raise pay for bus drivers.
In presenting his $1.6 billion operating budget Tuesday for the 2017-18 school year, Merrill said the large increase in funding from the Wake County Board of Commissioners is needed because the public wants an “exemplary school system.” Merrill’s wants a 14-percent increase from the county after two years of large increases from commissioners.
“It would be tempting for others to look at these needs as a ‘wish list,’ ” Merrill said. “But our community does not just wish for an exemplary school system. They expect to find it today in Wake County, one of North Carolina’s wealthiest counties.”
Merrill said most of the additional money is needed to deal with state legislative increases and new and expanded local programs.
Merrill is projecting $28.2 million in legislative increases with $13 million to deal with the impact of savings arts programs at a time when the state is set to cut class sizes in kindergarten through third grade.
Merrill is also calling for $20.1 million for new and expanded programs such as hiring more counselors and social workers, expanding the Office of Equity Affairs and funding an alternative school program for middle school students. Merrill also wants to increase salaries for support staff, particularly in hard-to-fill positions such as bus drivers.
The budget proposal comes as school districts around a state are facing a legislative mandate to reduce class sizes sharply in early elementary school grades. Wake is the largest school system in the state with 159,549 students.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
NC Schools Superintendent Announces Plan for New Literacy Program
N.C. schools Superintendent Mark Johnson reads a book to kindergartners during his visit to East Garner Elementary School in Garner, N.C. Monday, April 3, 2017. Photo Credit: Aaron Moody, The News & Observer.
During a visit to East Garner Elementary School on Monday, the state schools superintendent announced a new literacy plan that aims to ensure students are reading at grade level.
Mark Johnson, who was elected in November, said NC Reads will expand and promote preschool literacy and kindergarten readiness. The plan is to consolidate the efforts of donors and volunteers, and to maintain literacy support for students through high school.
“NC Reads is going to be a statewide initiative where we connect book drives and volunteers, and preschool programs and parents, and other stakeholders all around ideas supporting you,” Johnson told kindergarten students.
Part of the program’s goal is to help students retain what they learn during the school year over summer break. Initial steps include collecting books to donate to young students to read over the summer and providing elementary school students with free access to myON, an online program that offers literacy tools.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
Divided Board Approves New NC Guidelines for Reading & Writing
State-approved guidelines that teachers will begin using in 2018 aim to help public-school students learn to read, write and interpret literature.
The State Board of Education approved the new grade-by-grade guidelines for English/language arts in an 8-4 vote Thursday. Some in the minority pushed for an outside assessment or more work on details.
Lisa Godwin, an Onslow County Kindergarten Teacher, Named 2017 NC Teacher of the Year
Lisa Godwin, an Onslow County kindergarten teacher, was named the 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year during an awards luncheon Thursday in Cary. Godwin was selected from a field of nine finalists representing the state’s eight education districts and charter schools.
Godwin is now in her third year teaching at Dixon Elementary School in Holly Ridge, where she returned to the classroom in 2014 after working as an assistant principal for four and a half years in Onslow and Lee county schools.
State Superintendent Mark Johnson, who announced this year’s winner, said Godwin represents the very best talent in North Carolina’s schools, measuring her own success by that of her students – regardless of where they start – and seeing public education as the nation’s open door to opportunity and life success.
“Every day, Lisa gives her students the support and encouragement that lay an essential foundation for them to keep learning across the grades and beyond,” Johnson said. “She reaches out to their parents to build trust and reinforce learning in the home, and she leads her colleagues with respect and by example.”
As 2017 Teacher of the Year, Godwin succeeds last year’s recipient, Bobbie Cavnar, an English and journalism teacher at South Point High School in Gaston County. The teacher of the year is chosen by a committee of professional educators as well business and community leaders. The state selection committee members are chosen based on their active public record in support of education.
John Burris, president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, said the foundation is proud to support an award that recognizes an education professional who has risen to the top of the field by a passionate commitment to his or her students. “The recipient of this award serves as a role model to students and peers in this critical professional field,” Burris said.
Godwin finished high school thinking she wanted to be a nurse, and attended Sandhills Community College in pursuit of that goal. But it wasn’t until her twin sons were starting school several years later that she decided on teaching instead, taking a job in 1997 as a teacher assistant at Tramway Year Round Elementary School in Sanford. She later earned her teaching degree from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg and taught kindergarten for three years at Deep River Elementary School in Sanford.
After earning a master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009, she served as assistant principal at J. Glenn Edwards Elementary School in Sanford and Meadow View Elementary School in Jacksonville.
She explained in her nomination submission that she chose to return to teaching from administration because she believed she could have a greater impact in the classroom. “I truly missed the daily, positive interaction with my own classroom of students,” she wrote, “and knew that I could be a greater change agent from within.”
Godwin is a mentor teacher at Dixon Elementary, supporting new teachers, and serves on a number of Onslow County Schools groups, including the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, the Every Student Succeeds Act Committee and the district’s Quality Council. She’s an active member of the Surf City Baptist Church and is involved with a number of community organizations and charitable events, some sponsored by the surf shop that she and her husband own in Surf City.
As Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Godwin will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She will receive the use during the year of a state vehicle, leased from Flow Automotive, LLC, the opportunity to attend a seminar at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT), a mobile device from Lenovo valued at approximately $1,600, an engraved vase, a one-time cash award of $7,500, a trip to the National Teacher of the Year Conference and International Space Camp, and the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment sponsored by Go Global NC.
Godwin also will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years and as a board member for the NC Public School Forum for one year. In addition, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will sponsor her enrollment and completion of the Public School Forum’s Education Policy Fellowship Program.
NC DPI. “Onslow County Kindergarten Teacher Wins Top Honors.” 4/6/17.
DeVos Promotes School Vouchers During Fort Bragg Visit
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Photo Credit: Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images.
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, while visiting a primary school on the Army base, voiced support for allowing some children in military families to use federal vouchers to attend schools they choose.
During her meeting with parents and teachers at the Kimberly Hampton Primary School, at least one parent told her he would welcome the chance to send his older children to a private high school that matches the quality of the base schools.
The Department of Defense runs eight schools on and near Fort Bragg that enroll 4,044 children from pre-kindergarten to middle school. High school students enroll in public school in surrounding districts.
The local high schools “don’t necessarily work for every child,” said DeVos, an ardent school-choice supporter.
DeVos mentioned a bill filed by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina that would start a pilot program to allow children on Department of Defense bases that do not have schools run by the department to use federal vouchers worth up to $8,000 a year for elementary school and $12,000 a year for high school.
“We’ll be looking very closely at supporting policies like that,” DeVos said.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
One Black Teacher Can Improve Outcomes for Black Students
Having at least one black teacher in elementary school significantly increases the chances that low-income black students graduate high school and consider attending college – and, for poor black boys, it decreases the risk of dropping out by nearly 40 percent.
The finding, from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, headlined a study released Wednesday looking at the long-term impact of students taught by teachers of the same race.
The researchers studied approximately 100,000 black students who enrolled in third grade in North Carolina’s public schools between 2001 and 2005 and found that the risk of dropping out for black students decreased by 29 percent if they had at least one black teacher in third through fifth grades. And for persistently low-income black boys, the risk decreased by 39 percent.
Among that cohort of students, about 13 percent ended up dropping out of high school, while about half graduated but with no plans to pursue college. However, low-income black students who had one black teacher were 18 percent more likely to express interest in college when they graduated, and persistently low-income black boys were 29 percent more likely to say they were considering college.
“We think it’s an eye-popping result,” says Nicholas Papageorge, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University and one of the co-authors of the research paper.
Papageorge cautions that the result could be reframed by saying that the impact is simply a 9 percent increase in high school graduation for black students who had a black teacher. “Even so,” he says, “39 percent is massive, and we did all the things one would do to make sure the findings are robust.”
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Student Science Enrichment Program
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has opened its application for the 2017 Student Science Enrichment Program (SSEP) grant awards. SSEP supports diverse programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate in creative, hands-on scientific activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in BWF’s home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. The application deadline is April 18, 2017.
The Friday Report is published weekly by the Public School Forum of NC and is distributed to Forum members, policymakers, donors, media, and Forum subscribers. Archived editions can be found at www.ncforum.org.