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The Friday Report

June 7, 2019

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Virtual Pre-K Still on The Table at General Assembly asEarly Childhood Experts Raise Red Flags, Caution Against More Screen Time

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By Lindsay Wagner

Among the many education proposals that have surfaced during the 2019 legislative session, few have provoked as much heated debate as this idea: to enact a 3-year pilot program that would provide low-income and military families in ten districts across North Carolina with a virtual preschool platform known as UPSTART.

Rep. D. Craig Horn’s (R-Union) endorsement of the computer-based early learning application has sparked an intense backlash from early childhood experts and practitioners. They say enabling 4-year-olds to move independently through educational sequences on a screen at home for 15 minutes a day cannot replace the social-emotional learning and interactions with peers and caring adults that takes place in high-quality brick and mortar pre-kindergarten classrooms.

Rep. Horn, the primary champion of the program, has been in discussions with representatives of UPSTART’s Utah-based company, Waterford.org, for years, he said. By backing a virtual pre-kindergarten option, Horn has said it’s not his intent to supplant access to high-quality school- or center-based Pre-K with UPSTART. Early childhood education advocates say thousands of North Carolinian children either wait for NC Pre-K spaces or simply have given up trying to access this program. Instead, Horn says he wants to provide a high-quality supplementary program for those children who are going without this kind of formal education.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Public School Forum Honored Jim and Barbara Goodmon with Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award: Video and Photo Gallery Now Available

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Last week the Public School Forum recognized Jim & Barbara Goodmon at its annual Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Gala for their incredible contributions to public education in North Carolina. If you were unable to attend the gala, the full program video and a photo gallery are now available. The video can be accessed here and the photos can be viewed here.

To learn more about the Goodmons’ support for public education in North Carolina and past recipients of the Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award, please visit https://www.ncforum.org/events/jay-robinson-education-leadership-award/.

To read more about the 2019 Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Gala, see the following article from EdNC: Public School Forum honors Goodmons for impact to community and education.

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Legislative Update

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Legislative Update

House Bill 664: myFutureNC/Postsecondary Attainment Goal

Sponsor(s): Fraley (Primary); Brockman; Fisher; Gailliard; Gill; Harrison; Horn; Hunt; Logan; Willingham

Status: Passed House, PCS Re-Ref to Com on Rules and Operations of the Senate on 6/5/19

Summary: House Bill 664 would set a postsecondary attainment goal for North Carolina in order to ensure that the state “remains economically competitive now and into the future.” The bill would establish that the state should make significant efforts to increase access to learning and improve education so that 2,000,000 North Carolinians between the ages of 25 and 44 will have completed a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by the year 2030. As of now, less than half of the workforce between the ages of 25 and 44 hold a postsecondary degree or certificate.

The bill states that beginning September 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, the myFutureNC Commission must report to the General Assembly and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the progress of the State reaching the postsecondary attainment goal and the activities of the Commission to further the State towards the goal.

The myFutureNC Commision brings together top North Carolina thought leaders from the education, business, philanthropy, faith-based, and nonprofit communities and ex officio representatives from the North Carolina House of Representatives, Senate, and Governor’s office to discuss state education and training needs, identify obstacles to meeting those needs, and generate policy recommendations.

HB434: Suicide Risk Ref./Mental Health/Teen Violence

Sponsor(s): Horn; Cunningham; Murphy; White (Primary); Adcock; Autry; Ball; Batch; Beasley; Belk; Black; Brockman; Carney; Clark; Clemmons; Dahle; Fisher; Garrison; Gill; Harrison; Hawkins; Henson; Holley; Insko; Jarvis; John; Kidwell; Logan; Majeed; Martin; Montgomery; Potts; Quick; Ross; Sasser; Strickland; Terry; R. Turner; von Haefen; Willingham; Wray

Status: Passed House, Ref To Com On Rules and Operations of the Senate on 4/29/19

Summary: HB 434 would require each local school board, charter school, regional school, innovative school, laboratory school, and the renewal school system to adopt and implement a suicide risk referral protocol, a mental health training program, and a dating violence and abuse policy.

The proposed protocol and mental health training program would be in place for school personnel that work directly with students in grades k-12. The bill establishes minimum requirements for content of both the protocols and training and would require local school boards to review and update them periodically.

In addition, HB 434 would require the adoption and implementation of a dating violence and abuse policy and instruction on dating violence and abuse as part of schools’ reproductive health and safety education program.

This bill could address critical needs around policy and training for addressing mental health challenges within schools. However, there are some potential concerns in that it leaves the responsibility of the creation of the protocols and training with the local school boards but does not provide additional resources for the implementation or training.

While this would allow schools and district to tailor their protocols and training to the population of students they serve, it would not ensure that every educator receive the same level and quality of training. The lack of consistency in training and resources could therefore continue to leave some districts ill-prepared to address students’ mental health needs.

Senate Bill 219: Modify Teacher Licensing Requirements.

Sponsor(s): McInnis; Tillman; Johnson (Primary); Edwards; Perry

Status: Passed Senate, Re-ref to Com. on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House.

Summary: Senate Bill 219, which we covered in our legislative update on April 26, 2019, passed in the Senate in early May and moved through the House Education- K-12 committee this week.

In addition to creating a limited license that will allow teachers more time to meet the requirements for their Continuing Professional License, a Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) for Senate Bill 219 introduced this week adds language from House Bill 521: Transitional License/Teachers from other States. However, language from earlier versions of the bill that would give priority to out-of-state teachers who provide evidence of their effectiveness was removed in the PCS.

This raises potential concerns in light of conversations held among members of the State Board of Education and others who have stressed the importance of ensuring that out-of-state teachers seeking licensure in North Carolina are held to the same standards as in-state teachers.

House Bill: 924: Teacher Contract Changes.

Sponsor(s): D. Hall; Horn (Primary) Cunningham; Gill; R. Smith

Status: Passed House, Ref to Com on Rules and Operations of the Senate

Summary: HB 924, covered in our May 10, 2019 legislative update passed the Senate’s Education/ Higher Education Committee with some notable changes. In addition to the teacher contract changes proposed in earlier versions of the bill, the Proposed Senate Committee Substitute adds text from Senate Bill 134, which would require that all North Carolina high school students complete an economics and personal finance course as part of their graduation requirements.

This course, titled Economics and Personal Finance (EPF), would be required for any student entering the ninth grade in school year 2020-21. The EPF course would include lessons around home mortgages, credit scoring and credit reports, choosing and managing a credit card and planning and paying for postsecondary education.

Following language used in SB 134, this component of the bill also states that teachers teaching the new course will receive training by the N.C. Council on Economic Education, a nonprofit led by representatives from financial institutions. There is $1.06 million allocated in the next fiscal year to fund the Council on Economic Education’s training program, and teachers who complete the program would receive a $500 stipend.

Education Matters

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Education Matters is preempted this Saturday on WRAL-TV due to national NBC Sports programming.

We will air an encore of our Teacher Rally Recap and State Budget episode on FOX 50 and UNC-TV’s NC Channel. This episode features interviews from the May 1st teacher’s march in Raleigh and a discussion of the education portion of the House budget with two of the state’s leading education policy experts: Matt Ellinwood of the North Carolina Justice Center and Dr. Lauren Fox from the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

When and Where to Watch Education Matters

Sunday at 8:00 AM, FOX 50 (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

Sunday at 6:30 AM and Wednesday at 9:30 AM, UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel (Statewide)

The North Carolina Channel can be found on Time Warner Cable/Spectrum Channel 1276 or check your local listings and other providers here.

Watch online at www.ncforum.org.

Education Matters is also available as a podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Overcast, and Google Play Music

State News

NC Surpasses 200 Charter Schools as State Board Approves 10 More

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Photo Credit: WRAL.

The State Board of Education has approved 10 new charter schools to open during the 2020-21 school year, including three in Wake County. Thursday’s vote means the state has now approved more than 200 charter schools since the program began in 1996.

Charters, which are publicly funded and privately run schools, have been booming in North Carolina with more than 109,000 students currently enrolled at 184 schools across the state. Twelve more charters will open this fall, followed by 10 the next year – putting the state’s count at 206 charter schools.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “NC surpasses 200 charter schools as state board approves 10 more.” WRAL. 6/6/19

House Committee Approves Bill Giving Teachers More Time to Pass Licensure Exams

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Photo Credit: WRAL.

A bill that would give teachers more time to pass licensure exams passed a House education committee Wednesday. The bill would also allow school systems to give limited licenses to teachers who fail their exams and give three-year transitional licenses to qualified out-of-state teachers.

Senate Bill 219, which has undergone some revisions, now heads to the House Rules committee.

“There is a teacher shortage in North Carolina, as we all know, and part of it is by our our making and our own design,” Sen.

Tom McInnis, R-Richmond, told House K-12 Education committee members. North Carolina “has created a monster” by allowing licensure tests to put teachers out of the classroom and make money for companies that design the exams, McInnis said. He gave an example of an unnamed teacher who performed well in the classroom and whose students’ succeeded but who then lost her job when she couldn’t pass the test due to testing anxiety.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “House committee approves bill giving teachers more time to pass licensure exams.” WRAL. 6/5/19.

Some NC Schools Pay Thousands to Monitor for Social Media Threats 

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Photo Credit: WRAL.

Sometime last fall, Sherita Cobb’s phone lit up with an urgent alert, the way it does several times a week.

Students were fighting on social media, the alert indicated, an important kernel of information sifted and plucked from thousands of online posts specifically for the administrator of Orange County Schools in North Carolina.

Her phone lights up when certain keywords or other indicators are posted publicly.

“Death, shootings, murder, kill – things like that,” she said.

As director of student support services, Cobb doesn’t scour the social media accounts of Orange County’s 7,000 students, much less posts from the broader community, herself. She relies on a social media monitoring service the school system pays to scan it all. For nearly $12,000 a year, she can get email and text alerts about potentially problematic posts that may affect Orange County students and schools.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “Some NC schools pay thousands to monitor for social media threats.” WRAL. 5/3/19.

‘Resegregation Will Not Happen on Our Watch.’ Wake School Board Sets Diversity Goal.

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Wake County school board member Christine Kushner thanked the school system on Dec. 4, 2018 for helping her children become “anti-racist, anti-misogynist, anti-homophobic fully formed adults.”
Photo Credit: Wake County Public Schools.

In the face of growing school resegregation, leaders of North Carolina’s largest school system made a commitment Saturday to try to make school enrollments more diverse.

The Wake County school board agreed to set a goal of trying to reduce the vast socioeconomic diversity gaps that exist where 40% of the district’s elementary schools are either extremely affluent or extremely high poverty. It’s a decision that will test the school system’s political will at a time when families who don’t like their school assignments can opt for alternatives such as charter schools, private schools or homeschooling.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Hui, K. ‘Resegregation will not happen on our watch’. Wake school board sets diversity goal.” The News & Observer. 6/1/19

Many Bright, Low-Income NC Kids are Kept Out of Advanced Classes. Delay Could Continue

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In North Carolina public schools, low-income children who score at the top level on end-of-grade math tests aren’t getting an equal chance at gifted classes, a News & Observer/Charlotte Observer investigation reveals. In this video, we explain how.

Photo Credit: Patrick Gleason, Sohail Al-Jamea, Rachel Wise, Travis Long, The News & Observer.

North Carolina school districts could get a one-year delay from having to follow a new state law that requires them to place high-achieving students in advanced math courses.

Last June, state lawmakers overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation to require schools to place in advanced math classes any students who scored a Level 5 — the highest level on state math exams. Republican and Democratic lawmakers credited the law to the 2017 News & Observer and Charlotte Observer “Counted Out” series that showed that thousands of bright, low-income students were being excluded from advanced classes.

But on Wednesday, the House Education Committee backed a bill that would delay implementation of the advanced math requirements for the 2019-20 school year. Lawmakers said they want to give school districts more time to see how to carry out the legislation’s requirements.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “Many bright, low-income NC kids are kept out of advanced classes. Delay could continue.” The News & Observer. 6/5/19.

More Money for Teachers on County Commissioner Minds in Forsyth

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Photo Credit: Winston-Salem Journal.

Forsyth County Commissioner Don Martin has proposed spending an additional $3.7 million to increase teacher-salary supplements in the 2019-2020 budget.

The $3.7 million in county “pay-go” funds would be the equivalent of a 1-cent tax increase to improve the supplement for teachers in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Pay-go funds are used, when possible, for debt avoidance, projects with a positive return on investment, capital projects and economic development.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Daniel, F. “More money for teachers on county commissioner minds in Forsyth.” Winston Salem Journal. 6/4/19

National News

Map: How Much Money Each State Spends Per Student 

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Photo Credit: Education Week.

As part of each state’s overall school finance grade, Quality Counts 2019 looks at per-pupil spending adjusted for regional cost differences across states. It captures factors such as teacher and staff salaries, classroom spending, and administration, but not construction or other capital spending.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Quality Counts “Map: How much money each state spends per student.” Education Week. 6/6/19

Forty Percent of Elementary School Teachers’ Work Could Be Automated By 2030, McKinsey Global Institute Predicts

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Photo Credit: Education Week.

The impact of automation will vary for male and female workers, with women likely being more susceptible to partial automation of their current occupations, according to new projections from the McKinsey Global Institute.

One big example: elementary school teachers, roughly 80 percent of whom are female. In the coming decade, McKinsey Global predicts, more than 40 percent of what these educators do during a current workday could be automated, resulting in the need to develop new skills and become more comfortable collaborating with algorithmic systems.

And teachers could be the lucky ones: Overall, as many as one-fourth of U.S. women in the workforce today could need to find new occupation categories by 2030, MGI concludes.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Herold, B. “Forty percent of elementary school teachers work could be automated by 2030, McKinsey Global Institute predicts.” Education Week. 6/4/19.

What Budget Cuts During the Great Recession did to Pupils’ Test Scores

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Photo Credit: The Economist

Lawmakers sometimes cut education budgets in the hope of forcing schools to become more efficient. Given the difficulty of measuring the effects of education spending on test scores, it can be hard to know whether this is as bad an idea as, at first glance, it might seem to be. Yet America ran a large, albeit unintended, experiment along these lines in 2007-09, when school budgets were cut during the recession. What happened to the pupils?

According to a study by Kirabo Jackson of Northwestern University and his colleagues, recession-era budget cuts did lead to lower math and reading scores. Imagine that a school district replaced all its average teachers with near-bottom-quality teachers. Mr Jackson says that the recession had a similar effect on pupil scores. The researchers also found that the budget cuts during the recession reduced graduation rates. A 10% reduction in spending per-pupil in all four years of high school reduced the likelihood of a student graduating by 2.7 percentage points.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

“What Budget Cuts During the Great Recession did to Pupils’ Test Scores.” The Economist. 6/6/19.

Opportunities

Applications Open for 2019-20 NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)

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The Public School Forum is accepting applications for the 2019-20 cohort of the North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).

The North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program is the only statewide program of its kind that focuses on leadership and professional development in the context of education policy. Fellows come from public schools, higher education, community colleges, and a diverse array of education organizations across North Carolina. Each class includes a cohort of fellows who focus on education policy issues and the wide range of factors that influence education in North Carolina. Fellows will increase their awareness of how public policy is made, learn whom the key players are in the formation of this policy, and become more confident and involved in the policy-making process.

Application information for both EPFP Central and EPFP West can be found online at https://www.ncforum.org/education-policy-fellowship-program/

Applications are due by June 30, 2019. Contact Lauren Bock, Director of Policy & Programs, at [email protected] with questions.

The Governor’s Educator Discovery Award

This program provides a stipend of up to $1,000 for preK-12 traditional public and public charter school teachers to pursue a professional development experience of their choosing.

To apply, submit a proposal detailing your teaching experience and how your professional development experience will enhance your ability to create a work-based learning activity for your students.

Apply for the Governor’s Educator Discovery Award by July 8!

Call for Papers: Online Teacher Leadership Journal

The Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership, an online scholarly publication of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership, announces a call for papers for its next issue to be published in December 2019.

We are most interested in manuscripts that address educational leadership specifically how teachers can grow their influence without leaving the classroom, the interdisciplinary nature of STEM, project- and inquiry-based learning, science literacy, and education policy and advocacy.

We welcome articles on research, case studies, analysis, and literary reviews. We will also accept evidence-based essays and editorials that are not simply personal accounts or strictly opinions.

Full manuscripts must be submitted through our website kenanfellows.org/journals by Aug. 30, 2019.

Submissions will undergo a blind peer review. Please, direct questions to Amneris Solano, managing editor, at  asolano@ncsu.edu.

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.

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The Public School Forum of North Carolina, Duke Policy Bridge at the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, are proud to announce that award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates will headline “Color of Education 2019” the second annual summit focused on race, equity and education in North Carolina.

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