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The Friday Report

August 25, 2017

Forum News

This Week on Education Matters: UNC President Margaret Spellings

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This week’s show features a one-on-one conversation with UNC President Margaret Spellings. We discuss Charlottesville and UNC-Chapel Hill’s “Silent Sam” Confederate monument, her first year on the job, college affordability and access, state support for UNC, teacher preparation and much more.

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When and Where to Watch Education Matters

Saturdays at 7:30 PM, WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

Sundays at 6:30 AM and Wednesdays 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 local listing and other providers here.

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

Education Matters Coming to FOX 50 in September

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Education Matters is expanding! Education Matters will begin airing on FOX 50 on September 10th at 8 AM in addition to the established WRAL and North Carolina Channel airings. 

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State News

Enrollment Up in UNC System Teaching Programs after Years of Decline

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Paige Christianson, a junior education major at N.C. State University, works with a student at Conn Magnet Elementary School on Oct. 12, 2016.​

Photo Credit: Kelly Hinchcliffe, WRAL.

After years of declining enrollment in its teacher preparation programs, the University of North Carolina system saw a 6 percent increase in students studying education last school year, according to new data released by the system. This marks the only time the system’s enrollment has increased since at least 2010.

More than 14,000 students studied education at 15 of the system’s campuses last year, but that’s still below the levels from seven years ago, when more than 18,600 students were enrolled. Locally, North Carolina State University and North Carolina Central University were among the seven campuses that saw increases last year.

UNC system education leaders attribute part of the turnaround to increased recruitment efforts at the campuses and say they’re optimistic even more students will enroll in the coming years due to recent boosts in teacher pay and the return of the state’s Teaching Fellows scholarship program.

Alisa Chapman, UNC system’s former vice president for academic and university programs, has studied North Carolina’s education enrollment trends for years. In February 2016, she presented a report to the State Board of Education showing that enrollment in the UNC system’s teacher education programs had declined 30 percent from 2010 to 2015. The latest 2016 data shows that overall enrollment is down 25 percent since 2010.

The declines have slowed over the years, “but we still have reason to be concerned,” Chapman told state board members last year. Now a senior fellow at the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapman still follows education trends and said she is watching for improvements in specific areas, not just overall enrollment increases.

“I think we’ve bottomed out in declining enrollments in education,” Chapman said. “(But) just increasing enrollments in education and in initial licensure doesn’t do it for me. If we’re over-preparing teachers for areas where we don’t have shortages, that doesn’t help supply and demand … We really need to see increases in math, science, middle grades and special ed.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe​, K. “Enrollment up in UNC system teaching programs after years of decline.” WRAL. 8/22/17.

In This Issue

Public School Forum Programs

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Nominate an Outstanding Education Leader!

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The Public School Forum is seeking nominations for education leaders to be profiled on our weekly TV show, Education Matters.
Do you have a great leader in your local school? Nominate them today! We are seeking leaders who make a difference in their school each and every day.
This includes (but is not limited to) principals, superintendents, teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, parents, students, community volunteers, afterschool providers, and the list goes on!
To nominate an education leader, please fill out the form here.

State Board ‘Trying to Avoid Any More Staff Cuts’ to NC Education Department

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In the past month, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has laid off seven full-time employees, cut pay for 19 others and eliminated eight vacant positions due to mandated budget cuts. With $737,000 in budget cuts yet to be made, the State Board of Education chairman said he’s hopeful the department’s remaining employees can keep their jobs.

“Let me put it this way, we’re trying to avoid any more staff cuts,” Chairman Bill Cobey (pictured above) told WRAL News by phone Thursday, noting that he can’t make any guarantees.

The state board has been working this summer to reduce the state education department’s operating funds by 6.2 percent – $3.2 million – after the General Assembly voted to cut the department’s budget.

Last month, the state board approved $2.5 million in cuts – $1.6 million in staff layoffs and more than $865,000 in operating reductions – most of which are expected to impact low-performing schools and teacher training in the state. This week, the board met in closed session to discuss where to cut some of the remaining $737,000.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from: 

Hinchcliffe, K. “State board ‘trying to avoid any more staff cuts’ to NC education department.” WRAL. 8/24/17.

UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State Collaborating to Help Lateral Entry Teachers

By Michael Maher and Diana Lys 

A critical teacher shortage is now among the most pressing needs in North Carolina. UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State are working together to help address this problem.

Our state has simultaneously experienced growing K-12 enrollments while also seeing declining enrollments in teacher preparation programs. For more than a decade, North Carolina has been a teacher shortage state, routinely relying on both in-state and out-of-state prepared teachers.

As traditional teacher preparation enrollments drop nationwide, local school districts are increasingly hiring lateral entry teachers who meet content requirements but lack teacher preparation.

According to a recent N.C. Department of Public Instruction report, these lateral entry teachers are less effective teachers and leave the profession at a rate 79 percent greater than traditionally prepared teachers. We contend that this lack of effectiveness and higher attrition rates stem from, in many instances, inconsistency and incoherency with alternative preparation pathways.

Currently, lateral entry teachers are required to complete 18 hours of coursework over a three-year period. Many of these individuals visit a Regional Alternative Licensure Center, where they are given a “plan of work.”

These plans of work vary by licensure area and specifically dictate which courses an individual can take to fulfill licensure requirements. Individuals can then “package together” a series of courses from various institutions to meet the requirements.

We believe a different model is needed.

The research missions at UNC and NC State challenge us to meet the needs of children and schools throughout North Carolina. For us, the critical question arose – if we want to make a positive impact on today’s classrooms, how can we engage our faculty expertise and research-based teacher education programs to meet the needs of lateral entry teachers on the front lines?

We are developing a high quality, research-based teacher preparation program specifically designed for the needs of lateral entry teachers. The program will be online, asynchronous, and competency-based with mentors guiding and supporting lateral entry teachers from program entry through completion.

Because the program will be online, it will be available to teachers who otherwise would not find it convenient to travel to Chapel Hill or Raleigh. The program will incorporate well-established best practices that have proven to be effective in online teaching.

The program will include rigorous performance assessments and be evaluated by the same outcomes as our traditional program offerings. This program will provide a comprehensive, high quality, and accelerated option for lateral entry teachers.

Both NC State and UNC are recognized as among the most effective teacher preparation programs in the state, and our collaborative endeavor has the potential to change the landscape for alternative teacher preparation throughout North Carolina and the nation. The program would help meet the most pressing need for highly qualified and highly effective teachers in every North Carolina classroom today, regardless of the pathway to licensure.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Maher, M. and Lys, D.”UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State collaborating to help lateral entry teachers.​” EducationNC. 8/24/17.

Co-Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Chad Barefoot, Won’t Seek Re-Election in 2018

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Sen. Chad Barefoot (pictured right), R-Franklin, on Sunday announced plans to retire from the General Assembly at the end of his term.

In a statement, Barefoot said that, when he ran for a Senate seat six years ago, he knew it may not be something he and his family could do long-term, due to a growing family.

“As my legislative responsibilities grew over the past five years, so did my responsibilities at home. I feel now is the right time for me to focus more on being a dad than a State Senator, and so I won’t be running for re-election in 2018,” he said.

Barefoot, who represents the 18th District, is the co-chairman of the Senate Education and Higher Education Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Higher Education.

The draft redistricting plan released Sunday night by the Senate would put Barefoot into the same district with Sen. John Alexander, R-Wake.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bowen, J. “Barefoot won’t seek re-election in 2018.” WRAL. 8/20/17.

Here’s How You Can Help Teachers (And Students) Get The School Supplies They Need

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Ola Samuel hands a bag of school supplies to Jillian Knight, a volunteer for Raleigh Rescue Mission, outside Dollar General in Raleigh on July 22. Photo Credit: Ben McKeown, News & Observer. 

Teachers are busy long before students return from summer break, setting up classrooms and spending their own money to shop for pencils, paper and other supplies. On average, teachers spend about $500 of their own money on school supplies each year, according to the North Carolina governor’s office.

Here are ways you can help teachers and students as summer break winds down and kids head back to school:

Pick a project to support

More and more teachers are using internet sites such as donorschoose.org to raise money for supplies and special projects.

A teacher at Cary Elementary School is raising money for rocking chairs, stools and seat cushions to offer students alternatives to sitting at desks all day. “No student learns in exactly the same way, and all students do not learn easily when they sit in a chair at their desk,” the teacher wrote on donorschoose.org. I want to add to the flexible seating choices in my classroom, as I have noticed that students love the choices that I currently have and are doing a great job learning while in different places in the classroom.”

A first-year teacher at River Bend Elementary School in Raleigh is raising money for books that will help students “become tolerant citizens.” The list of books includes the “Learning to Get Along” series. “In particular, teaching my students to be tolerant of everyone is extremely important to me,” the teacher wrote on donorschoose.org. “I would like to have books available for my students to read that teach them how to be a better, more tolerant citizen.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Nagem, S. “Here’s how you can help teachers (and students) get the school supplies they need.” The News & Observer. 8/18/17. 

A Tale of Two North Carolina Schools

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By Dr. Jennifer Mangrum 

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court infamously upheld the legality of racial segregation and “Jim Crow” laws. Under the “separate but equal” doctrine, the Court said, public facilities could be lawfully segregated by race as long as both races had “equal” access. Fifty-eight years later, however, in the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education, the Court reversed itself, struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal” and required public schools to be integrated. The ruling, in which the Court observed that separate schools were by no means equal, was one of the seminal moments in the American civil rights movement.

Spring forward to August 2017, in my hometown in North Carolina where we have the tale of two schools that are once again separate but not equal. (Of course there are more than two such examples but for the sake of space, I will compare two elementary schools, 15 miles apart in the same school district.) The data to compare the two schools come from the website, www.greatschools.org.

Elementary School A has nearly 300 students. Eighty-eight percent are students of color. Four percent are white and 8% are listed as “other.” Ninety-nine percent of students are identified as low income. Test results are “very concerning” according to the website as only 35% of students are on or above grade level in reading and only 29% in math.

Elementary School B has nearly 700 students. Eighty percent are white students, 9% are students of color and 11% are other. Fourteen percent of students are identified as low income. Test results are “good news” according to the website with 79% of students on or above grade level in reading and 85% in math.

There are some commonalities between these two schools. They are held accountable for the same curriculum, the same pacing guide and the same standardized exam. But that is where it ends. Based predominantly (80%) on that exam, School A is labeled “D” and “Low Performing.” School B is labeled “A” and, according to www.schooldigger.com, is ranked 38th out of more than 1400 elementary schools in North Carolina.

So, based on these two schools, what is the relationship between income level and test scores, otherwise called “achievement”? What is the relationship between race and achievement? What is happening in these two schools that are only 18 minutes away from each other in the same school district? Why does the community (and the local real estate industry) call School B a “good school” but not School A? And finally, if School A is in crisis why isn’t there a sense of urgency to help these students succeed?

Equity and excellence in education have been and continue to be civil rights issues for marginalized students of color and/or in poverty. In 1999, Jean Anyon published her book, Literacy with an Attitude: Educating Working Class Children in their Own Self-Interest. In her study, she examined 5th grade classrooms in five distinctly different school districts based on parents’ income. For many, the results were surprising and yet for many of us, it confirmed what we already knew. The quality of instruction students received was directly related to the income level of the parents.

In working class schools (like School A) knowledge was taught as isolated facts separated from the lives and experiences of the students. Work was about following steps in a procedure. Students were given little choice and few opportunities to make decisions within their work and teachers rarely explained why or how assignments were meaningful. The teachers skipped assignments, text pages or reasoning problems that they assumed were too difficult for the students. Typical assignments were copying notes, writing answers to textbook questions or craft projects. There were few opportunities for dialogue between students. Teachers’ efforts were focused on control of students and teachers would make derogatory comments about student abilities, dispositions or parents/guardians.

In these schools, the theme for students was resistance. Students vandalized property, interrupted the teacher, fell out of chairs and refused to answer questions. The students were developing a relationship with authority and the broader economy that was preparing them for work as laborers.

In affluent schools (like School B) teachers designed lessons that were inquiry-based and required students to think for themselves and construct their own understandings. It was okay for students to give an incorrect answer because the focus was on the discussion that followed and making sense of errors. Many times, work was project-based and integrated arts and creativity. Students discussed current events and experiences that related to their lives and communities.

Instead of control, students and teachers consistently negotiated. Teachers rarely gave orders but would describe consequences of actions and ask students to make good decisions. If students felt they needed more time to work on a project, they would ask the teacher for it. Work was not repetitive and the emphasis was on thinking.

Anyon observed that the theme for the affluent school was individualism. The students in this school were also developing a relationship to the economy, authority and work. They would aspire to be artists, intellectuals, legal or scientific experts and other professionals who are rewarded with social power.

To continue reading the complete article, click here

Early Learning is Part of a “Sound Basic Education” 

As North Carolina takes steps to improve educational equity, we should be intentional about a focus on early learning.

Twenty years after the NC Supreme Court first ruled in Leandro v. State that the state constitution guarantees every child “an opportunity to receive a sound, basic education,” and a few months after Judge Howard Manning stepped down from overseeing the lawsuit, the parties in the case have agreed to appoint an independent consultant by the end of October to make additional recommendations on how the state can continue to improve education for all children.

The announcement in late July coincided with the signing of a new Executive Order by NC Governor Roy Cooper to create the Governor’s Commission on Access to a Sound Basic Education. The charge of the new Commission is to help NC meet its responsibilities under the 1996 and 2004 Leandro rulings.

The Commission will assess NC’s ability on two areas highlighted by the Leandro case: staffing schools with high quality teachers and principals and providing adequate resources to public schools.

Experts from the early childhood development field are among the 17 representatives to be appointed by the Governor. The Commission will work closely with the new independent consultant for the lawsuit. Members are expected to be appointed to the Commission in the coming weeks, with a first meeting anticipated this fall.

National News

Number of Charter Schools, Students in the U.S. Rises

The number of children attending charter schools in the United States hit a record of about 6 percent of all students in public schools, according to a federal education report released on Tuesday.

Charter schools are publicly funded schools operated separately from local school districts. They are usually independently run but can also be managed by for-profit companies or nonprofit organizations running multiple schools.

About 3 million students were enrolled in charter schools in the 2015-2016 school year, up from roughly 1.8 million students five years prior, according to the report by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

They represented 6 percent of the total in 2015-2016, up from 3.6 percent.

Of more than 90,000 public elementary and secondary schools, charter schools made up nearly 8 percent, an increase from 5.9 percent five years earlier, the report said.

Online Charter Virtual Community School Ordered to Pay Back Millions

While the state Department of Education battled publicly with ECOT to recover money, it quietly informed another online charter last September that it had overbilled taxpayers by almost triple.

Virtual Community School of Ohio has announced it won’t open as scheduled Tuesday for the upcoming school year. On the school’s Facebook page, parents were told they should consider enrolling in another school for the upcoming year.

During an emergency meeting July 31, the VCS board agreed to a “temporary suspension by our sponsor while a financial investigation is conducted,” according to a notice on the school’s website. At that time, its sponsor was the Reynoldsburg School District, which created VCS in 2001 with the help of a former ECOT administrator.

VCS had billed the state for an attendance of 835 students for the 2015-16 school year; a department audit of student attendance found that should be reduced to 280 students. Based on that, the school would have to repay about $4.2 million of the $6.33 million it was paid that year. The state found VCS, like ECOT, couldn’t document how much time students were participating in classwork.

“The school has been offered a five-year term to repay those funds in a draft settlement,” Brittany Halpin, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said in an email Monday. A copy of that letter was not immediately available.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bush, B. “Online charter Virtual Community School ordered to pay back millions.” The Columbus Dispatch. 8/15/17.

Payoffs Seen in Smooth Transition to Kindergarten

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Assistant Teacher Kimberly Fisher talks with a student preparing for kindergarten at the Prairie Mountain School in Eugene, Oregon. Photo Credit: Amanda Smith, Education Week.

The kindergartners are coming.

And these children, nearly 4 million strong in the 2017-18 class, are more likely than any other grade to be a blank slate to their teachers. But states, districts, and individual schools are working to change that, by creating transition programs to ease children’s entry into school.

In some areas with publicly funded pre-K, teachers are huddling to share information about children’s strengths and weaknesses with the kindergarten teachers who will educate them next. In other areas, some districts have created their own programs, such as short-term summer classes that give young children a taste of what kindergarten will be like or home visits that allow teachers, parents, and children to connect in a familiar environment.

These programs do more than calm first-day jitters or ease the minds of anxious parents. Research demonstrates that children and teachers reap tangible benefits when schools engage in more transition activities. Parents initiate more involvement in school during the kindergarten year, and children end the year with measurably higher academic achievement.

The same research, however, has shown that the pupils for whom this impact is strongest—children from low socioeconomic backgrounds—tend to attend schools that are the least likely to offer transition activities.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from: 

Samuels, C. “Payoffs Seen in Smooth Transition to Kindergarten.” Education Week. 8/22/17.

Forum Opportunities

Beginning Teacher Leadership Network Accepting Applications

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The Public School Forum’s Beginning Teacher Leadership Network (BTLN) is currently recruiting teachers in Cabarrus, Carteret, Mecklenburg, Onslow, Union, and Wake counties for the 2017-18 cohort. Applications are open through September 8, 2017.

North Carolina traditional and charter public school teachers in their first three years of experience are eligible to participate. Participants may remain in the network for three years, regardless of when they enter the program. The core program will consist of monthly sessions, one during each traditional teaching month, during after-school hours. Forums will consist of education policy briefings, teacher collaboration sessions, and interactive professional development.

By bringing together educational practice and policy, BTLN hopes to produce and retain teachers that are “empowered to lead and informed to change” in a new era of teaching. BTLN provides unparalleled access to information and key decision makers in education, while simultaneously giving beginning teachers high-level professional development.

To apply for the 2017-18 Beginning Teacher Leadership Network, click here.

Opportunities

RACE: Are We So Different?

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Science’s RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit continues at the museum through October 22, 2017.

This exhibition looks at race through the lens of science, history, and personal experiences to promote a better understanding of human variation. Interactive exhibit components, historical artifacts, iconic objects, compelling photographs, multimedia presentations, and attractive graphic displays offer visitors to RACE an eye-opening look at its important subject matter. RACE tells the stories of race from the biological, cultural, and historical points of view offering an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States.

Admission is free but tickets are required. For tickets, as well as additional details on the exhibit, visit http://naturalsciences.org/exhibits/featured-exhibitions/race.

In addition to the exhibit, a series of Speaker Events which includes Diversity in STEM topics were jointly planned in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science and sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. All of the exhibit events were free of charge and the Speaker and Conversation series were streamed live and recorded for continued access and playback. You may access the series of recordings at the following link:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7dONoqMaCHZ1hXtBTm1wLxEGwNA2W4ju.

Women in Educational Leadership Symposium

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Registration is open for the second annual Women in Educational Leadership Symposium (WIELS). 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 symposium will be held September 22 through September 24, 2017 at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. This year’s conference theme is Advancing the Leader Within: Building Capacity.

Registration for the conference is online at https://wiels.appstate.edu/about-us/registration. Additional information can be found at https://wiels.appstate.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.

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

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