• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

The Friday Report

April 21, 2017

Leading News

New NC Class Size Rules Could Cost Schools $388 Million More a Year, Report Says

New state-mandated smaller class sizes in elementary schools will cost North Carolina school districts as much as $388 million more per year in operating costs as well as significant capital costs, according to a new report.

Districts will need to find between 3,000 and 5,400 teachers to comply with smaller kindergarten through third-grade class sizes, which the liberal N.C. Justice Center’s Education & Law Project says is the equivalent of an unfunded mandate of between $188 million to $388 million.

Districts will also need to have more physical classrooms, which the “Class-Size Chaos” report says will often lead to elementary schools housing students in trailers and “other less-than-ideal temporary classrooms.”

“Every dollar invested in class-size reduction is one less dollar that could be spent on other initiatives that might have greater educational impact,” according to the N.C. Justice Center report released last week.

Lawmakers lowered maximum K-3 class sizes starting in the 2017-18 school year. School officials around the state say the changes remove their flexibility to pay specialists such as art, music, foreign language and physical education teachers out of the state dollars provided for regular classroom teachers.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

To read more about the class size debate, view the following articles:

Teachers call on lawmakers to relax class size requirements

Classes of 40 students, no art and music, reassignment among Wake County options

EdExplainer: Class size conundrum

Excerpt from:

Hui, T. “New NC class-size rules could cost schools $388 million more a year, report says.” The News & Observer. 4/17/17.

Forum News

This Weekend on Education Matters: Race – Are We So Different?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

This week’s episode of Education Matters has two segments focused on the issue of race. First is a preview of an exciting new exhibition opening this week at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh called Race: Are We So Different? The second segment is a story about a group of middle school students who are making an impact by spotlighting – and seeking to honor – a local pioneer in desegregation in our state.

For additional background on Joe Holt Jr and his story, view the News & Observer article “Students ask Wake to name school after black family who fought for integration.”

Guests Include:

  • Emelia Cowans-Taylor, Assistant Head, Communications, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
  • James White, Executive Vice President, Organizational Relations, YMCA
  • Joe Holt Jr.
  • Zack Boone, Exploris Middle School, Raleigh
  • Lev Cohen, Exploris Middle School, Raleigh

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)

Online at https://www.ncforum.org/

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

If you missed last week’s episode on the proposed Teaching Fellows program, you can watch it online at 

https://www.ncforum.org/education-matters-teaching-fellows-2-0/

Join the Public School Forum on May 18, 2017 for the Annual Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Gala

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Join the Public School Forum to honor former North Carolina Senator Howard N. Lee as the recipient of the 2017 Public School Forum of North Carolina Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award. Lee will be honored at a gala event on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

The Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award was established by the Public School Forum of North Carolina in 2000 to recognize exemplary leaders who have made outstanding contributions to public education in North Carolina. This year we have the privilege of honoring one of North Carolina’s finest leaders, Howard N. Lee.

Howard Lee has been a trailblazer his entire life. He may be best known as the first African-American to be elected mayor of a predominantly white southern town since reconstruction – Chapel Hill in 1969 – an office he would hold for three terms. He was also the first African-American to be named a cabinet secretary, serving as secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural Resources and Community Development under Gov. Jim Hunt, and the first to chair the State Board of Education.

In the North Carolina Senate, Lee built his reputation as a fighter for education reform, advocating for higher teacher salaries, increased funding for public and higher education and raising teacher and student standards. Howard Lee has dedicated his life to public service in support of children and education.

Event tickets can be purchased at

https://2017jayrobinsonawardgala.eventbrite.com.

To learn more about becoming a sponsor for the 2017 Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Gala, view the 2017 Jay Robinson Sponsorship Packet.

If you are interested in discussing a sponsorship, contact Keith Poston at kposton@ncforum.org or call 919-781-6833.

In This Issue

New NC Class Size Rules Could Cost Schools $388 Million More a Year, Report Says

This Weekend on Education Matters: Race – Are We So Different?

Join the Public School Forum on May 18, 2017 for the Annual Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Gala

NC Legislative Update

In New Court Filings, NC Superintendent Says State Board Has ‘Severely Limited’ His Authority

Black Issues Forum – The Future of Public Education

Senate Education Committee Takes On Isolated K-12 Schools

School Boards Couldn’t Sue County Commissioners Under NC House Bill

NC Charter Schools Don’t Get Money for Buses. A Bill Would Change That.

If This Congresswoman Gets Her Way, The Days of Federal Education Regulations Are Over

In Church-State Playground Brawl, Justices Lean Towards the Church

Applications Open for 2017-18 NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)

Women in Educational Leadership Symposium (WIELS) Call for Proposals

Public School Forum Programs

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

The frenzied pace at the General Assembly kicked into high gear this week with the Crossover Deadline looming next week, Thursday, April 27.  Crossover Deadline means that most bills must pass at least one Chamber and “cross over” to the other Chamber by Thursday night.  There are some exceptions to the deadline, such as bills involving appropriations, state fees/finance, redistricting, etc.  However, most bills are subject to Crossover which has lobbyists and legislators alike scrambling to get their bills through the ever-narrowing chute. There are other procedural tricks after Crossover that can involve “stripping” a bill that survived Crossover, then turning it into a different bill, but that lesson can be saved for another Friday Report.
While there was no public announcement on any Class Size Fix by the Senate this week, there may be a Senate solution perhaps as early as next week.  For now, the only Senate solution is Senator Horner’s bill, SB 541, which has been sitting in the Senate Rules Committee since April 3.  Regardless, the other key K-12 education bills seeing action this week are as follows:
HB 285/SB 316 Suicide Prevention/Awareness School Personnel
  • Requires suicide awareness and prevention training and protocol for school personnel.
  • Initiated and supported by the NC Child Fatality Task Force, among others.
  • House Education approved on Thursday; goes for House floor vote Monday.
HB 556 Office of Early Childhood Education
  • Creates this new Office located within DPI but exercising its powers independently of DPI.
  • This new Office’s Chief Academic Officer would run NC Pre-K and NC Infant-Toddler Program, among other responsibilities, and would be appointed by the State Superintendent.
  • House Education approved on Thursday; goes for House floor vote.
HB 634 Private Alternative Teacher Preparation
  • The State Board of Education would have to approve at least one alternative, private, for-profit, or nonprofit lateral entry educator preparation program based on set standards:
    • Competency-based standards for lateral entry teachers necessary to earn a teaching license.
    • At least 80 instructional hours of classroom readiness training.
    • A minimum of three educator coaching visits in the first year of teaching. 
    • All required pedagogy and subject-area content completed by the end of the first year of teaching. 
  • House Education approved Thursday; goes for House floor vote.
HB 725 Mental Health Support Finding/Study
  • Requires DPI to study the following related to funding for Mental Health support in public schools:
    • Personnel such as school nurses, psychologists, counselors, social workers, and special education teachers.
    • Their salaries, operational costs, and contracts for services.
    • At-risk student programs. 
  • DPI report due by December 15, 2018
  • House passed the bill on Thursday.
HB 838 Supt. Public Instruction Support Staff
  • Eliminates several vacant DPI positions, amounting to $596,586.
  • Authorizes the State Superintendent to use those funds to hire up to 5 new employees.
  • House Education approved Thursday; goes for House floor vote.

State News

In New Court Filings, NC Superintendent Says State Board Has ‘Severely Limited’ His Authority

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

NC Superintendent Mark Johnson. Photo Credit: WRAL.

In court documents filed last week, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson says the State Board of Education has “severely limited” his authority and has either ignored or denied his requests to make staffing changes at the state education department.

The superintendent and state board are involved in an ongoing legal battle over which one has constitutional authority to supervise the state’s public school system. The new court filings shed light on the internal power struggle since Johnson began serving as superintendent in January.

Among his list of complaints, Johnson said the state board routinely appoints committees to vet potential hires for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction instead of voting on his recommendations for the positions.

Johnson cited one instance in January when he asked the chairman of the state board “to hire a certain candidate who shares my vision” and would be “a positive change agent for DPI” for the chief financial officer position.

Instead of voting to approve or disapprove his candidate, Johnson said, the board posted an ad for the job and had a committee review the applicants. The committee then made its own recommendation to the state board, which the board supported.

Black Issues Forum – The Future of Public Education

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn
Public education and its efficacy have been a hot topic of conversation for a long time, but what is the future of public education under a private-education-focused Trump administration? Keith Poston of the Public School Forum of NC, Travis Mitchell of Communities In Schools Wake County, and Jason Franklin of Cary Academy weigh in on the prospects for NC education.

View the most recent episode at http://video.unctv.org/video/3000081439/

Senate Education Committee Takes On Isolated K-12 Schools

The Senate education committee discussed legislation that would grant extra classroom teachers to two K-12 schools in Macon County to accommodate their geographic isolation.

Sen. Jim Davis, a Republican who represents seven western North Carolina counties, including Macon, explained to members that it is normal for a class to only have eight or nine students at Highlands School or Nantahala School. But, Davis said, because of distance and weather conditions, the separate schools are needed to serve those students.

“To consolidate these schools would not be feasible,” Davis said. “So I’m requesting the opportunity to fund these schools at a different rate.”

Senate Bill 15 would make sure each grade has a classroom teacher, no matter the number of students in the class. Davis said the per-student expense for the K-12 schools in his county is about $2,000 more than the expense for schools in the county seat, Franklin. The funding piece — $1.5 million annually — is no longer a part of the bill. Davis said it is being added to the overall budget instead.

The third traditional K-12 public school is in Ocracoke on an island off the coast. That school received similar treatment, Davis said. “And I’m just asking for the same consideration for the two that are in Macon County,” he said.

To continue reading the complete article click here.

Excerpt from:

Bell, L. “Senate education committee takes on isolated K-12 schools.” EducationNC. 4/20/17.

School Boards Couldn’t Sue County Commissioners Under NC House Bill

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn
An N.C. House committee voted Wednesday to ban school boards from suing their county commissioners over funding disputes.

The bill’s sponsors say the change is needed to avoid costly lawsuits when school boards are seeking a bigger budget than county leaders are willing to provide. “I’ve found that cooperation works a lot better than intimidation,” said Rep. Larry Potts (pictured right), a Lexington Republican and former county commissioner who’s sponsoring the proposal.

Potts’ co-sponsor, Republican Rep. Debra Conrad of Winston-Salem, said that funding disputes arise because county commissioners have to balance the needs of a variety of county services, while school board members are focusing solely on education. “To let this go to a court level and have a judge and jury that does not understand the financial responsibilities of either group,” she said, “can make outrageous awards that county commissions cannot handle.”

The N.C. Association of County Commissioners says the bill is one of its top legislative priorities this year. Lobbyist Johanna Reese pointed to a lawsuit in Union County in which the court awarded the school board $91 million, although that award was overturned on appeal. She said the case required $2 million in legal fees that “did not go to education.” “We have had several cases where a school board comes in, says ‘this is how much we want, if we don’t get it, we’re going to sue you,’” Reese said.

But the N.C. School Boards Association is opposing the bill. Lobbyist Bruce Mildwurf said a legislative study is currently under way to recommend alternative solutions to funding disputes. “This is a contentious issue, it’s emotional,” Mildwurf said. “There’s no urgency here because it’s in a study committee. We just ask that you wait for the recommendation that the House unanimously asked for.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Campbell, C. “School boards couldn’t sue county commissioners under NC House bill.” The News & Observer. 4/19/17.

NC Charter Schools Don’t Get Money for Buses. A Bill Would Change That.

Many charter schools that serve low-income students provide bus service, even though it is not required. Charter schools receive transportation funds for every child, as do traditional public schools, but the state does not provide money to charter schools for the vehicles.

A House bill proposes to have the state pick up some of those costs for charters where at least half the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. The financial support would free up money that those schools could then spend on technology, teacher pay, or more and better buses, supporters said.

The bill sets up a $2.5 million program that would have eligible schools apply for reimbursement of up to 65 percent of their transportation costs. Marcus Brandon, executive director of North Carolina CAN, an organization that supports school choice, said the money would be enough to cover grants to 12 to 15 schools.

 

National News

If This Congresswoman Gets Her Way, The Days of Federal Education Regulations Are Over

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

House education committee Chair Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., stands to the right of President Donald Trump on March 27, 2017, as he signs a law repealing Obama administration regulations on K-12 education. Also pictured, from left, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, Lolita Zinke, her husband, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx wants the federal Department of Education to disappear. She wants Washington to stop passing down rules and regulations schools have to follow.

As the new chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, the seven-term North Carolina congresswoman has a powerful forum to talk about all that.

Trouble is, she probably doesn’t have the votes to do much of what she wants. It takes 60 to get most legislation through the Senate, where Republicans control only 52 seats, and she’s up against a powerful education lobby that resists sweeping change in federal policy.

She’s trying. Foxx, who helped lead the writing of the 2016 Republican Party platform and served in House leadership, figures she’ll have to dilute Education Department power bit by bit. Already, she’s championing the use of a rare legislative tactic in Congress to eliminate some Obama administration regulations.

And Foxx is putting pressure on her colleagues in Congress to write the sort of legislation she wants, contending that some past laws were written sloppily and left too much leeway for federal departments to fill in gaps with rules and regulations.

Any federal educational policies, she told McClatchy in an interview, should come from lawmakers – not bureaucrats.

“We’ve got some good laws in place – let Congress do its oversight,” she said. “Sometimes doing nothing from the federal level is good.”

Foxx and her Republican congressional allies have a new favored tool for walking back regulations: Congressional Review Acts, which allow Congress to overturn specific federal rules and regulations and prevent them from coming back up.

In Church-State Playground Brawl, Justices Lean Towards the Church

A clear majority of justices at the U.S. Supreme Court seemed troubled Wednesday by a Missouri grant program that bars state money from going to religious schools for playground improvement.

Thirty-nine states have state constitutional provisions that bar taxpayer funds from going to religious schools — provisions that have been a major obstacle for the school choice movement. The Missouri case is an attempt to lower that wall separating church and state.

The Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., owns and operates a preschool learning center. It applied for a state grant to rubberize its playground surface, using old and discarded tires.

But because the school’s mission is avowedly religious, the state turned down the application, citing language in the state Constitution that explicitly bars state funds from going directly or indirectly to any religious sect or denomination.

The church challenged the denial in court, appealing all the way to the Supreme Court. “Safety shouldn’t hinge on whether a child is religious, or if they are playing on a playground at a religious school, or a secular, or a public institution,” school Director Annette Kiehne said on the steps of the high court on Wednesday.

But James Layton, representing the state of Missouri, countered that the Supreme Court has never required states to provide direct government grants to churches. “Almost 200 years ago, the people of the state of Missouri, adopting language” used by the Founding Fathers, “decided that we were not going to tax people in order to give money to churches,” he said.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Totenburg, N. “In Church-State Playground Brawl, Justices Lean Toward The Church.” NPR. 4/19/17.

Opportunities

Applications Open for 2017-18 NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

The Public School Forum is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 cohort of the North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).

The Public School Forum has led the North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program since 1992, and it has continued to be the only statewide program of its kind that focuses on leadership and professional development in the context of education policy. Each new class continues the trend of high caliber participants and is rich in its members’ range of experiences, both professionally and personally. Fellows come from public schools, higher education, community colleges, state agencies, 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. The program is designed for Fellows to learn about issues and perspectives in education that they don’t always encounter in their daily work so that they can be more informed, rounded contributors to the critical education debates that shape the quality and focus of schools. Fellows 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. Leadership development is a key focus of the Education Policy Fellowship Program.

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

Women in Educational Leadership Symposium (WIELS) Call for Proposals

The second conference of the Women in Educational Leadership Symposium (WIELS) will be held at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina on September 22 through September 24, 2017. The purpose of WIELS is to bring women together to share, learn, and grow in leadership. Women who are interested in learning from others and those who are willing to share skills and expertise are urged to attend. This conference aims to provide personalized learning and mentoring opportunities for those who aspire to become or currently serve as educational leaders. The conference theme is Advancing the Leader Within: Building Capacity. Attendees are urged to submit proposals on salient issues, skills, and experiences affecting women leaders.

Conference proposals are due by May 31, 2017. Visit https://wiels.appstate.edu/about-us/call-proposals to submit a proposal. 

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.

©2017 Public School Forum of North Carolina. All Rights Reserved.

Public School Forum of North Carolina

919-781-6833

Follow us at @theNCForum

www.ncforum.org

Donate to the Forum!

Share This