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The Friday Report

December 16, 2016

Breaking News

In Surprise Special Session, Legislature Poised to Shift Power Away from Governor, State Board of Education

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A bill transferring many State Board of Education powers to the Superintendent of Public Instruction passed the House yesterday.

The bill — House Bill 17 — was filed in the House during yesterday’s surprise special session of the General Assembly and comes after the victory of Republican Mark Johnson over Democratic incumbent June Atkinson in the race for Superintendent last month. It passed early this evening with a final vote of 70-36.

“We have a new Superintendent coming in,” said Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, one of the bill’s sponsors. “The voters are very clear they want change, or they wouldn’t have voted the way they did. So let’s give the guy the power to make changes, bring his team in, and keep a close eye on him.”

The Superintendent’s new responsibilities include serving as the head of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), a duty formerly entrusted to the State Board of Education. He has the power to administer DPI’s funds and enter into contracts for DPI operations.

Administrative and supervisory staff appointed to DPI will be under his control, and he will have the power to fire them in accordance with state law. These were duties previously given to the State Board, but the State Board had the ability to fire staff “for cause,” rather than simply in accordance with state law.

The Superintendent will now be able to direct and control “all matters relating to the direct supervision and administration of the public school system.” Previously, he would only have the powers delegated to him by the State Board.

He can “create and administer special funds within the Department of Public Instruction to manage funds received as grants from nongovernmental sources.” Previously, the State Board administered these funds.

The Superintendent will now also have the power to appoint the State Board’s two student advisors and local superintendent advisor. Those powers previously resided with the governor.

And he will have the power to appoint the head of the new Achievement School District, who will report directly to him. Previously, those were powers held by the State Board. The Achievement School District is a pilot program that would take five of the state’s lowest-performing schools and put them into a state-run district. For-profit charter operators could potentially operate these schools.

You can see the full list of changes made to the Superintendent’s duties in the bill. The section related to the Superintendent starts at the top.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:
Granados, A. “Bill granting Superintendent increased power passes House.” EducationNC. 12/15/16.

Bill Granting Superintendent New Powers May Face Constitutional Challenge

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Photo Credit: Kari Travis, The Carolina Journal

The General Assembly’s attempt to grant additional authority to North Carolina’s new school superintendent, Mark Johnson, is likely to face a constitutional challenge from the State Board of Education if the measure becomes law, board Chairman Bill Cobey told Carolina Journal.

House Bill 17 would strip much of the State Board of Education’s authority over the Department of Public Instruction, instead recognizing the new superintendent as the organization’s administrative head. The bill passed the House Thursday night and is set for consideration Friday by the Senate.

Under Article IX of the N.C. Constitution, the SBE’s role is to “supervise and administer the free public school system, and the educational funds provided for its support. …” The superintendent is “the secretary and chief administrative officer of the State Board of Education.”

H.B. 17 would shift many supervisory duties to the superintendent. For example, the legislation would allow Johnson to hire and fire SBE staffers, and also would allow him to select the SBE’s local superintendent and student advisors, a task that’s now left to the governor. Johnson defeated incumbent Democrat June Atkinson in the November election.

A portion of the legislation also would allow Johnson to appoint the new superintendent of North Carolina’s Achievement School District and would not need the approval of the SBE.

The bill, introduced December 14, has stirred more controversy in the middle of an already contentious special session at the state legislature, Cobey said.

“I had a hint [a couple of days prior] that this might be coming, but no one in the General Assembly conferred with me, or with anyone else on the board that I know of,” Cobey told CJ. “You would think that they would confer with us, but they didn’t, and it makes for a very difficult situation with a new superintendent coming in. Frankly, if I was the new superintendent, I wouldn’t want them to do this because it complicates the job.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:
Travis, K. “Bill granting superintendent new powers may face constitutional challenge.” The Carolina Journal. 12/15/16.

In This Issue

In Surprise Special Session, Legislature Poised to Shift Power Away from Governor, State Board of Education

Bill Granting Superintendent New Powers May Face Constitutional Challenge

2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast Tickets on Sale

This Weekend on Education Matters: School Funding Plans

Clayton Wilcox, Superintendent from Maryland, Chosen to Lead CMS

State Board of Education Recommends DA Investigate Durham Charter School Diplomas

North Carolina Leads Nation in National Board Certified Teachers

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts Announces New Group to Boost After-School Programs

It Turns Out Spending More Probably Does Improve Education

How Investing in Preschool Beats the Stock Market, Hands Down

After 50 Years, Head Start Struggles with Uneven Quality

Call for Reviewers – 21st CCLC Grant Competition

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Student Science Enrichment Program

NCPAPA Seeking Assistant Executive Director

Applications Open for 2017-18 Kenan Fellowships

Public School Forum Programs

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Forum News

2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast Tickets on Sale

On January 25, 2017, the Public School Forum of North Carolina will host its 3rd Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. This special event began in 2015 to showcase the Forum’s release of its annual Top Ten Education Issues – our unique take on the state’s most pressing issues in education.

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The 2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast will feature a special taping of Education Matters, the Forum’s weekly television show that airs on WRAL-TV. Our special guest for the show will be Governor-elect Roy Cooper, who will sit down for a one-on-one discussion with Forum President & Executive Director and Education Matters host Keith Poston.

The event will be held on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM. Breakfast will start at 7:30 AM, followed by the program at 8:00 AM. The event will conclude by 9:30 AM.

The Eggs & Issues Breakfast is one of the most anticipated education events each new year with a sellout crowd of over 200 members of the business community, educators, and government representatives attending. The 2017 event promises to be another can’t miss event.

Tickets can be purchased online at https://forumeggsissues2017.eventbrite.com

Event sponsorships are available. Contact Lizzy Mottern at lmottern@ncforum.org for details. 

This Weekend on Education Matters: School Funding Plans

This week’s episode of Education Matters, the Forum’s weekly television program airing on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. on WRAL-TV, focuses on school funding plans for North Carolina.

We’ll examine the new report from the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division on how schools are funded today in North Carolina. Are big changes on the horizon? We talk to the study’s lead author, as well as the chairman of the House Committee on Education Appropriations and the top finance officer from Durham Public Schools.

Guests Include:

  • Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union County, Chairman of the House Committee on Education Appropriations
  • Sean Hamel, Principal Program Evaluator, Program Evaluation Division, NC General Assembly
  • Aaron Beaulieu, Chief Financial Officer, Durham Public Schools

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If you missed last week’s powerful episode on Race & Education, you can watch it here.
Each Education Matters show profiles a education leader that is making a difference in his or her community. 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. To nominate an education leader, please fill out the form here.
Previous episodes of the show can be found online at 
https://www.ncforum.org/ or on wral.com by searching for Education Matters.

State News

Clayton Wilcox, Superintendent from Maryland, Chosen to Lead CMS

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Clayton Wilcox, superintendent of Washington County Public Schools in Maryland.

Clayton Wilcox, a veteran superintendent who currently leads a small school district in northern Maryland, was named the next superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on Tuesday.

An Iowa native who started his teaching career there, Wilcox has spent the last 5 1/2 years as superintendent of Washington County Public Schools, a district of 22,000 students headquartered in Hagerstown, Md. He has also been superintendent in Pinellas County, Fla., and East Baton Rouge, La., and was a senior vice president with Scholastic, an educational publishing company.

Wilcox did not attend the 10-minute news conference in which CMS board Chair Mary McCray and Vice Chair Elyse Dashew announced the appointment. They said his first visit to Charlotte has not been scheduled, but he will make visits before starting work July 1.

In an interview with the Observer, Wilcox said he and his wife expect to start looking for a home over the holidays. He said he plans to visit monthly starting in January, and weekly after he leaves his current job in mid-March. His family has visited Charlotte in the past and his two adult children have talked about moving here, he said: “There’s kind of this growing family synergy about coming to Charlotte.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

State Board of Education Recommends DA Investigate Durham Charter School Diplomas

The State Board of Education recommended Monday that the Durham County District Attorney’s Office determine whether a criminal investigation is warranted against Kestrel Heights, a charter school in Durham.

The school reported that more than 50 students over the past three years received diplomas they didn’t earn.

Kestrel Heights’ new principal discovered the problem in July, shortly after she took the job. The school began investigating and reported the issue to the state’s Office of Charter Schools on Oct. 5.

A letter from the school on Dec. 8 lays out the timeline of what happened and references a school counselor who “was unable to provide the necessary information to resolve the (students’) missing credits.” The counselor, who is not named, took a leave for medical reasons in mid-August and resigned in September.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. and Owens, A. “State Board of Education recommends DA investigate Durham charter school diplomas.” WRAL. 12/12/16.

North Carolina Leads Nation in National Board Certified Teachers

North Carolina continues to lead the nation in numbers of teachers who have earned certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, with 99 additional teachers gaining the endorsement from the Arlington, Va., based organization earlier this month.

Nearly 21,000 teachers in North Carolina have attained national certification, which is based on a rigorous performance-based assessment that typically takes from one to three years to complete and measures what accomplished teachers and counselors should know and be able to do.

Nationally, 533 teachers earned certification in 2015-16, raising the total among all states to nearly 113,000. In addition, almost 3,400 teachers nationally achieved recertification, including 916 teachers in North Carolina.

State Superintendent June Atkinson congratulated the newly-certified and recertified teachers saying, “I’m pleased North Carolina continues to be a leader in National Board Certified teachers. North Carolina teachers show us every year that they are willing to accept the added challenge to strengthen their craft and improve teaching and learning for students.”

North Carolina accounts for almost 21 percent (20.83) of all teachers nationally who are certified by the teaching standards organization. Florida ranks second with 13,576 followed by South Carolina (8,928), Washington (8,596) and California (6,426).

In addition, five North Carolina public school districts placed in the top 20 districts nationally for numbers of teachers with national certification: Wake County remained first with 2,522; Charlotte-Mecklenburg is fourth with 1,959; Guilford County is ninth with 774; Winston-Salem/Forsyth is 15th with 555; and Buncombe County is 16th with 541.

Excerpt from:

NCDPI. “North Carolina Leads Nation in National Board Certified Teachers.” 12/15/16.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts Announces New Group to Boost After-School Programs

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Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts announced Tuesday the formation of a new organization, Charlotte Next.

Photo Credit: Steve Harrison, The Charlotte Observer. 

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts announced Tuesday the formation of a new organization,

Charlotte Next, that will help parents find the best out-of-school program for middle school students.

Creating that program was one of Roberts’ campaign pledges, and she has been able to launch the organization without any public money so far.

The group will not provide funding for parents to send kids to after-school programs. Instead, it will be a clearinghouse organization that will help parents find the best place to send their child. It also will work to improve after-school programs by recommending best practices.

Charlotte Next will also try to offer small grants to after-school programs that need financial assistance.

“This was one of my central promises,” Roberts said. “In every neighborhood I visited I heard about this problem.”

Charlotte Next will be run in partnership with Meck Ed, a nonprofit advocacy group for children’s education. It will funded by private donations, including grants from Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

To continue reading the complete article, click here

Excerpt from:

National News

It Turns Out Spending More Probably Does Improve Education

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If you spend more on education, will students do better?

Educators, politicians and unions have battled in court over that crucial question for decades, most recently in a sweeping decision this fall in Connecticut, where a judge ordered the state to revamp nearly every facet of its education policies, from graduation requirements to special education, along with its school funding.

For many years, research on the relationship between spending and student learning has been surprisingly inconclusive. Many other factors, including student poverty, parental education and the way schools are organized, contribute to educational results.

Teasing out the specific effect of money spent is methodologically difficult. Opponents of increased school funding have seized on that ambiguity to argue that, for schools, money doesn’t matter — and, therefore, more money isn’t needed.

But new, first-of-its-kind research suggests that conclusion is mistaken. Money really does matter in education, which could provide fresh momentum for more lawsuits and judgments like the Connecticut decision.

The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in July, was conducted by the economists Julien Lafortune and Jesse Rothstein of the University of California at Berkeley and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern. They examined student test scores in 26 states that have changed the way they fund schools since 1990, usually in response to a lawsuit like Connecticut’s, and compared them with those in 23 states that haven’t. While no two states did exactly the same thing, they all had the effect of increasing funding for the poorest districts.

How Investing in Preschool Beats the Stock Market, Hands Down

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Photo Credit: LA Johnson, NPR

If you got 13 percent back on your investments every year, you’d be pretty happy, right? Remember, the S&P 500, historically, has averaged about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation.

What if the investment is in children, and the return on investment not only makes economic sense but results in richer, fuller, healthier lives for the entire family?

That’s the crux of a new paper out Monday, The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, co-authored by Nobel laureate James Heckman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and the director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development.

There’s a growing body of research on the value and importance of high-quality early education programs — especially for disadvantaged kids.

But there’s surprisingly little research on its impact over time. This paper helps change that. Heckman and his co-authors examine the many ways in which these high-quality programs helped participants thrive throughout life.

The paper analyzes two North Carolina programs founded in the 1970s that worked with infants from 8 weeks old through age 5. The rub for researchers: The programs included data collection from birth through age 8 on a wide range of school and home life factors as well as long-term follow-ups through age 35.

Quality early education programs are expensive upfront. But as Heckman argues, the returns are enormous; the investment well worth it.

After 50 Years, Head Start Struggles with Uneven Quality

For more than 50 years, Head Start has provided free early childhood education and other services to low-income families. But new national research, out Wednesday, shows great variation from state to state in how well the program works.

The study comes from the National Institute for Early Education Research, and it examined Head Start programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

It focused on quality and ranked states accordingly. Kentucky and Vermont came out the best, while 18 states ranked very poorly: Arizona, Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at funding, services and quality state by state, says Steven Barnett, a professor at Rutgers University who directed the study. The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Among the key findings, Barnett says, is that “programs that offered more hours had lower quality.” Poor-quality programs, he explains, are simply trying to do too much with too little.

Head Start is an $8.2 billion federally funded program that serves more than 900,000 children.

The study also looked at teacher pay. In more than 20 states, the study found, Head Start teachers earn less than $30,000 a year on average. That level of pay, Barnett says, makes it difficult to attract and keep good teachers, especially those with college degrees.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Sanchez, C. “After 50 Years, Head Start Struggles With Uneven Quality.” NPR. 12/14/16.

Opportunities

Call for Reviewers – 21st CCLC Grant Competition

The search for grant reviewers for the upcoming NC 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant competition is now open. The review process is being managed for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) by the SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).

All interested individuals (including those who have served as reviewers in the past) must apply by December 17, 2016. The application submission process is now online and can be accessed at https://uncg.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6LnPsV1Xyq0wnid. Please note that applicants will need to submit a current resume and references with their application (upload instructions are embedded within the online application). Please read the NC 21st CCLC reviewer requirements, qualifications, timeline and compensation information in the Applicant Instructions PDF to see if this opportunity is a good fit for you before applying.

Applications will only be accepted via online submission. If you have questions about the NC 21st CCLC grant reviewer application submission, contact Beth Thrift at the SERVE Center.

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.

For more information or to access the application, visit http://www.bwfund.org/grant-programs/science-education/student-science-enrichment-program.

NCPAPA Seeking Assistant Executive Director

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The North Carolina Principals & Assistant Principals Association (NCPAPA) is seeking an Assistant Executive Director​. To view the position description and application instructions, visit http://www.ncpapa.com/careers.html.

Applications Open for 2017-18 Kenan Fellowships

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The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is accepting online applications for the 2017-18 fellowship year through January 16, 2017. These fellowships address the critical need to develop and empower high-quality teachers, who, in turn, make learning more authentic for students.

The fellowship begins with a summer internship in a higher education lab or industry setting and is supported by 80 hours of professional development that focuses on building leadership capacity and proven instructional strategies.

Fellowship projects have a unique set of criteria that in some cases is restricted by district, grade level and subject. Projects vary from scientific research to work experiences in the agriculture, energy and high-tech manufacturing industries.

Each Fellow is awarded at least a $5,000 stipend, and must develop and implement relevant educational materials and/or programs based on their internship experience. Fellows remain in the classroom while completing the year-long fellowship. Visit kenanfellows.org/2017-18-fellowships to see which fellowships are available to educators in your school district.

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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