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The Friday Report

December 8, 2017

Forum News

Class Size Debate on Education Matters

This weekend WRAL-TV and FOX 50 will air an encore of the September 15th episode of Education Matters that covered the K-3 class size mandate and how it is affecting schools and students across the state. The issue remains unresolved as school districts scramble to find classroom space and teachers to meet the General Assembly’s requirements without sacrificing Pre-K classes, hundreds of Art, Music and PE instructors or ballooning class sizes and eliminating academic offerings in the upper grades.

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Guests Include:

  • Jazzmone Sutton, Music Teacher, Wake County, President-Elect, NC Music Educators Association (pictured above, right)
  • Gussie Marshallsea, Visual Arts Teacher, Wake County (pictured above, left)
  • Aaron Marcin, Principal, Lead Mine Elementary, Wake County (pictured below, right)
  • Kathy Hartenstine, Wake County School Board, Retired Principal (pictured below, left)

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When and Where to Watch Education Matters

Saturday at 7:30 PM,

WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

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 listing and other providers here.

Online at https://www.ncforum.org/

State News

Company Tied to Rich Donor Wants to Take Over Low-Performing NC School

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Parents and teachers met at Glenn Elementary School in Durham on Oct. 10, 2017 to discuss strategies to prevent a state takeover.

Photo Credit: Bernard Thomas, The Herald Sun.

Two companies, including one tied to a wealthy libertarian donor who helped pass a state law allowing takeover of low-performing North Carolina schools, are trying to win state approval to run one of those schools.

Achievement For All Children and the Romine Group have applied to manage Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County, which has been chosen for the new Innovative School District. Achievement For All Children is heavily connected to Oregon resident John Bryan, a generous contributor to political campaigns and school-choice causes in North Carolina.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from: 

Hui, K. “Company tied to rich donor wants to take over low-performing NC school.” The News & Observer 12/6/17.

NC Superintendent Unveils 2016-17 School Report Cards With New Features

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Photo Credit: WRAL.

North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson unveiled the 2016-17 school report cards Tuesday on a newly redesigned website that includes two new features, the state Department of Public Instruction announced. 

In addition to being accessible on mobile devices, the report now features information about Career and Technical Education – what courses are offered and the number of industry-recognized credentials students have earned – and a student-readiness indicator that shows the percentage of students entering a school’s lowest grade who were proficient in both reading and math at the end of the previous year.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “NC superintendent unveils 2016-17 school report cards with new features.” WRAL.12/5/17.

Why Weren’t Any Historically Black Colleges Picked for NC’s New Teaching Fellows Program?

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Shanta Lightfoot, senior administrator for middle school English language arts for Wake County schools, works in her office last June. Lightfoot was a teaching fellow at N.C. State University before graduating in 2008. Photo Credit: News & Observer file photo.

Lawmakers are questioning why some schools, including historically black colleges and universities, weren’t chosen to host a new state program designed to train future teachers.

Elon University, Meredith College, N.C. State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Charlotte were selected for the N.C. Teaching Fellows Program, which is aimed at training teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math or special education.

The five schools were selected by the N.C. Teaching Fellows Commission based on such factors as teacher effectiveness, internship experiences and passage rates for teacher licensure exams. But some Republican and Democratic state lawmakers complained at Tuesday’s Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee meeting about why schools they felt were equally qualified were not chosen.

In This Issue

Public School Forum Programs

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Nominate a Leader for Children in Your Community

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Do you know a leader in your community supporting our schools and making a difference in the lives of children both in and out of school? The Public School Forum is seeking nominations for individuals to be highlighted on our weekly statewide TV show, Education Matters. Click here for an example of a recent spotlight.

Nominees could be principals, superintendents, teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, parents, students, business leaders, community volunteers, afterschool providers, and the list goes on!

To nominate someone, please fill out the form here.

Governor’s Commission to Weigh In On Leandro Case: How to Give Access to Sound, Basic Education

Governor Roy Cooper’s Commission on Access to Sound, Basic Education met for the first time this week. Photo Credit: Liz Schlemmer, WUNC.

A new commission tasked with giving input on a decades-long court case with broad implications for public education in North Carolina met for the first time last week.

Governor Roy Cooper swore in 18 members of the Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound, Basic Education at its inaugural meeting Thursday. Cooper is asking the board of educational experts to weigh in on how the state can meet the requirements of the landmark 1997 Leandro decision.

To continue reading the complete press release, click here.

Excerpt from:

Schlemmer, L. “Governor’s Commission To Weigh In On Leandro Case: How To Give Access to Sound, Basic Education.” WUNC.12/1/17.

PTA Groups are Mobilizing Against Smaller K-3 Class Sizes in NC Elementary Schools

  

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Ann Spencer of Combs Elementary School PTA talks with parents as they wait in the carpool line

Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, near the school. Photo Credit: Travis Long, The News & Observer.

Smaller class sizes are great, PTA volunteer Ann Spencer told parents at Combs Elementary School on Monday, unless they lead to consequences such as losing art and music classrooms.

Spencer and other PTA volunteers at the Raleigh magnet school urged Combs parents waiting in the carpool line to lobby state lawmakers to back off from requiring smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade starting next year. Monday’s effort at Combs is just one example of how PTAs across North Carolina are mobilizing parents to advocate on the issue of class sizes.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:
Hui, K. “PTA groups are mobilizing against smaller K-3 class sizes in NC elementary schools.” The News & Observer. 12/4/17.

Legislative Committee Talks Lab Schools, Teaching Fellows and Future of Community Colleges

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Jennifer Haygood presents a strategic plan for the future of community colleges to the NC General Assembly. Photo Credit: EducationNC.

Lawmakers heard from leaders of several state education programs at the Joint Legislative Education Oversight committee meeting on Tuesday. At the committee’s final meeting of 2017, representatives heard updates and future plans on North Carolina’s new laboratory schools, Teaching Fellows program and the state’s community college system. 

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Staff. “Legislative committee talks lab schools, Teaching Fellows and future of community colleges.” EducationNC. 12/6/17.

NC Superintendent Hires McCrory’s Former Press Secretary

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State Superintendent Mark Johnson at Ephesus Elementary School in Chapel Hill on March 15, 2017.
Photo Credit: Kelly Hinchcliffe, WRAL.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson has hired Graham Wilson as his community outreach coordinator, a new position Johnson created after receiving $700,000 from the General Assembly to staff his office.

Wilson, who will make about $72,000 in his new role, previously served as press secretary for former Gov. Pat McCrory. He is not the first McCrory staffer Johnson has hired. Lindsey Wakely, who serves as the superintendent’s senior policy adviser and chief legal counsel, was McCrory’s deputy general counsel.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. ” NC superintendent hires McCrory’s former press secretary.” WRAL. 12/5/17.

State Board Moves Foward on Heritage Charter Revocation

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State Board of Education Chairman, Bill Cobey.

In the second day of their monthly meeting, the State Board of Education recommended revoking the charter of Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy in Bertie County.

After Heritage Collegiate appealed the State Board’s November decision, a three-member review panel met Tuesday to hear presentations from the school and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). With remarks considered from both sides, the panel supported the board’s call for a charter revocation.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Gentilviso, C. “State Board moves forward on Heritage charter revocation.” EducationNC. 12/8/17.

CMS Has More English Learners Than Other NC Districts; Here’s Why That Matters

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Flags of many nations fly at Independence High, which includes an Academy of International Studies.

Photo Credit: Ann Doss Helms, The Charlotte Observer.

The ranks of immigrant students learning English grew by more than 12,000 students across North Carolina this year, with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools leading the list.

The tally, which will be presented to the state Board of Education this week, is another sign of the changing face of public education. Public schools, especially those in the large urban districts, are seeing steep growth in the number of students who need help mastering the language, even as overall enrollment flattens.

For instance: The first-month count of all students in North Carolina districts and charter schools grew by only about 3,500 this year, about two-tenths of a percent. But the count of English learners, taken at the same time, grew by 12,759, or 13 percent.

To continue reading the complete article click here.

Excerpt from:

Doss Helms, A. “CMS has more English learners than other NC districts. Here’s why that matters.” The Charlotte Observer. 12/4/17.

Thousands of NC Students Aren’t Vaccinated – All Becuase of This Easy Exemption

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Maren Caldwell, who volunteers with People Advocating Vaccine Education, a Charlotte-based nonprofit shares information with parents trying to decide whether to have their children injected with the 23 doses of vaccines now required for every kindergarten-age child in the state. Photo Credit: Martha Quillin, The News & Observer.

The number of N.C. kindergarteners opting out of required childhood vaccinations on religious grounds more than doubled in the five school years from 2012 to 2016. And both public health officials and anti-vaccine advocates agree that the exemption is being claimed by parents whose true objection to the shots has nothing to do with faith.

“I’ve had parents tell me they use it because there is no way for the state to decline it,” said Sen. Jeff Tarte, a Republican from Mecklenburg County. In 2015, he introduced a bill that would have eliminated the religious exemption for all children except those who are homeschooled. He and his co-sponsors dropped the bill within two weeks because of opposition from those who say the government should not force anyone to be injected with anything.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Quillin, M. “Thousands of NC students aren’t vaccinated – all because of this easy exemption.” The News & Observer. 12/7/17.

National News

U.S. Charter Schools Put Growing Numbers in Racial Isolation

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Photo Credit: JJ Thompson, Unsplash.

Charter schools are among the nation’s most segregated, an Associated Press analysis finds — an outcome at odds, critics say, with their goal of offering a better alternative to failing traditional public schools.

National enrollment data shows that charters are vastly over-represented among schools where minorities study in the most extreme racial isolation. As of school year 2014-2015, more than 1,000 of the nation’s 6,747 charter schools had minority enrollment of at least 99 percent, and the number has been rising steadily.

The problem: Those levels of segregation correspond with low achievement levels at schools of all kinds.

How a Dropout Factory Raised Its Graduation Rate from 53 Percent to 75 Percent in Three Years

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City Year member Shawn Wiyninger greets a student at Webster High School. Photo Credit: Amadou Diallo, The Hechinger Report.

The first thing you notice during morning arrival outside Daniel Webster High School is the cluster of red-jacketed young adults, each holding up a sign identifying their favorite hobby. They’re members of City Year, a nonprofit partner of AmeriCorps that recruits college-age members from across the country to serve as tutors and mentors in high-poverty urban schools. Many of the Webster upperclassmen simply walk by the City Year members, but several younger students stop and engage in conversations about a shared love of video games or binge-watching YouTube clips.

“There are statistics showing that high-poverty students typically have three negative interactions before they get to school,” explained City Year team leader Keanna Marshall, a college graduate who grew up in Tulsa. “So our daily greeting provides a positive interaction before they get into their classroom.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Diallo, A. “How a dropout factory raised its graduation rate from 53 percent to 75 percent in three years.” The Hechinger Report. 12/5/17.

Into the Breach: South Carolina Cracks Down on Poor-Performing Virtual Charter Schools, Rejects Their Bid for New Sponsor

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Photo Credit: The 74 Million.

Following months of political tensions and a contentious public hearing, the South Carolina agency that oversees 39 of the state’s charter schools has signed off on the requests of five charters seeking permission to transfer to a new sponsor. Another four, though, including three online schools, are in “breach” status because of persistently poor performance and will not be allowed to leave.

“We don’t feel that’s taking care of our fiduciary duties,” Don McLaurin, chair of the statewide South Carolina Public Charter School Board, said of the underperforming schools’ request to leave. “That’s just not how you improve education.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hawkins, B. “Into the Breach: South Carolina Cracks Down on Poor-Performing Virtual Charter Schools, Rejects Their Bid for New Sponsor.” The 74 Million. 12/3/17.

Opportunities

Grow Your Career Skills with the Kenan Fellows Program

 

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The 2018-19 Fellowship application is now open. 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.The 2018-19 application period ends Jan. 22, 2018.

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. To apply click here.

Biogen Foundation Spark Video Contest

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The Biogen Foundation is inviting middle and high school students in Massachusetts and North Carolina to create 30-second to 3-minute videos on the topic of genetic mutations. Please make sure the video is accurate and creative. Work with a teacher at your school to submit your video soon, because the first 200 eligible videos submitted will win $500 for your school (up to two submissions per school)! Grand Prize winners will receive $10,000 for their schools and three GoPro video cameras for the students who created and starred in the winning videos!

Submissions close today, December 8th. ALL NC schools are eligible to enter. Teachers MUST be the ones to submit the videos; students and parents are not allowed to submit videos. See spark.biogenfoundation.com for more information about the contest and to submit your video today!

Questions? Contact the Biogen Foundation here.

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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