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The Friday Report

December 9, 2016

Forum News

2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast

to feature 

Governor-elect Roy Cooper

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.

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.

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Watch for ticket information next week. 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.

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

This Weekend on Education Matters: Race & Education

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 early childhood education in North Carolina.

How does race affects student outcomes in North Carolina? Does race correlate with educational opportunity in ways that diminish the likelihood of success for students of color? We explore this week with three experts. Guests Include:

  • Donovan Livingston, PhD Candidate and Assistant Director for Tutoring Services, UNC-Greensboro
  • James E. Ford, Program Director, Public School Forum of NC
  • Dr. Rodney Trice, Assistant Superintendent for Equity Affairs, Wake County Public School System

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You may have seen NC native Donovan Livingston burst onto the national scene in May when his Harvard commencement speech went viral with over 13 million views. To listen to his remarks, click 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.

Education Matters Coming to UNC-TV

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The Public School Forum’s weekly TV show Education Matters, which airs every Saturday at 7:30 PM on WRAL-TV, will soon be available across North Carolina.

UNC-TV will begin airing Education Matters in January 2017. Watch for more details including air times and stations soon. In addition to WRAL-TV and UNC-TV, the program is available online at https://www.ncforum.org.

Public School Forum Programs

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State News

State Superintendent June Atkinson Says Farewell to Office

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Last Thursday was State Superintendent June Atkinson’s final meeting of the State Board of Education. A Democrat, she lost her bid for a fourth term in November against Republican Mark Johnson.

Atkinson has worked at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) since 1976, and she became the first woman elected to be state superintendent in 2005. She has served in the role ever since.

At Thursday’s board meeting, a proclamation was read honoring the superintendent, and she was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. 

One of the highest awards given in North Carolina, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine “is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina,” according to the website.

Atkinson also gave a few comments about her time as superintendent and left a message exhorting the state board to stay the course in supporting public education in North Carolina.

“While traveling in a remote area of the North Carolina mountains to visit schools, I was listening to the only available radio station. And it played a song that I’ve never heard since that time, but I found it to be very amusing. And that song was “You Can Find Me in the Yellow pages Listed Under Fools.” So as I reflect on the honor of serving students, educators and parents and citizens of North Carolina as State Superintendent, I thought about where would I be found in the Yellow Pages. And so I’ve decided that you can find me in the Yellow Pages listed under grateful,” she said in her remarks.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

NC Panel Wants 2nd Chance for Rejected Charter School Applicants

Charter school advocates want to push up the timetable for approving charter schools and give rejected applicants a second chance at getting state approval without having to wait as long as a year to reapply.

The N.C. Charter Schools Advisory Board recommended policy changes Thursday that would send applicants who are rejected by the State Board of Education back to the advisory panel for further review. The advisory board would quickly send the applicants back to the State Board for reconsideration.

“What this would do is just basically say that if we voted to approve the school, before the State Board would say no they would ask us to look at it again,’ Steven Walker, vice chairman of the advisory board, told his colleagues Thursday.

The policy change also calls for speeding up state approval for most new charter schools to June. Under state law, the State Board must make final decisions on new charter schools by August 15.

The changes would need to be approved by the State Board to go into effect. The proposal comes after the advisory panel considered more extensive policy changes in October in response to the State Board rejecting several new charter applicants this year.

In August, the State Board of Education approved eight new charter schools to open in 2017. But the State Board also rejected five applicants that had been recommended by the advisory board in split votes.

State Board members rejected those applicants after noting the number of charter schools that have failed in recent years. Charter schools are taxpayer funded public schools that are exempt from some of the rules and regulations that traditional public schools must follow.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, T. “NC panel wants 2nd chance for rejected charter school applicants.” The News & Observer. 12/8/16.

UNC Chancellors Could Reap Financial Rewards if Campus Goals Met

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NC State University Chancellor Randy Woodson, right, and UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt speak to the

News & Observer editorial board in this Feb. 29, 2016 file photo. Photo Credit: Jill Knight, The News & Observer.

Chancellors of the state’s public universities could get incentive compensation, with payments tied to campus performance goals, according to a plan under preliminary consideration by the UNC Board of Governors.

Several options were presented to the board’s personnel and tenure committee last Thursday by a representative of Buck Consultants, a firm hired to explore different types of compensation. Under one scenario, a chancellor could earn deferred compensation of $350,000 if he or she achieves success related to the university’s stated strategic goals, the consultant said. A chancellor would have to stay at least five years to be eligible.

Only one chancellor has that kind of compensation package now – N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson. Last year, Woodson, who has been sought by other universities, received a four-year contract with $520,000 in annual salary and an annual stipend of $200,000 paid by private funds through an entity called the University Leadership Fund established at NCSU. He can also receive up to $1.5 million in performance-based incentives to be paid with non-state funds in 2021.

Another option suggested by the consultant would offer short-term payments tied to specific performance goals. According to an example provided Thursday, a chancellor could get $5,000 to $15,000 per $100,000 of salary based on success with factors such as increasing graduation rates, decreasing student debt or research dollars flowing to the campus.

Gabriel Lugo, UNC Wilmington professor and chairman of the UNC system’s Faculty Assembly, said the idea of awarding bonuses to one leader based on campus performance was “disconcerting.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

What Happened at the State Board of Education

Last week was a busy one for the State Board of Education, with members tackling everything from legislative priorities, requests from a slew of public schools seeking charter-like flexibility, and a farewell to long-time Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.

Legislative Priorities

The state board has already identified expansion budget-related needs that would have to be addressed by the General Assembly. Board Chair Bill Cobey and Atkinson sent a letter to Andrew Heath, the state’s budget director, last month, laying out two different visions of their requested expansion budget. The expansion budget includes items that are above and beyond the typical public school funding that the state usually gives.

The Office of State Budget and Management had sent out an order to all state departments, limiting expansion requests to 2 percent of agency state funding. So, the letter sent from Atkinson and Cobey included an expansion request that met that goal, but also included expansion requests that the state board says are needed to fully fund expansion needs. Under the 2 percent cap, the state board would be requesting $173 million. Under the request that more fully funds public school expansion needs, the state board is asking for $534.6 million. You can read Cobey and Atkinson’s letter to Heath here.

During last week’s meeting, the state board held a brainstorming work session to talk about other legislative priorities that don’t necessarily have budget implications. Groups sat at different tables to whittle down a list of 21 draft legislative priorities into a more manageable number. In some cases, the groups added additional legislative priorities. At the end, the groups all announced their top priorities to the group. Using the information gathered from this meeting, the state board will identify which legislative priorities it will actually endorse.

State board member Becky Taylor, speaking for her group, identified priorities like changing the A-F schools grading system. “We’re hearing it from the superintendents, we’re hearing it from parents, we’re hearing it from our teachers,” she said. “We know it causes a certain perception from our parents and that’s not a good thing because when a parent has a certain perception, the kid picks up on it as well.” She also mentioned the need for the grading system to align with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Requirements under ESSA may mean the grading system would need to be reformed by the General Assembly.

State board member Amy White, speaking for another group, also listed a number of priorities, including the A-F grading system, and school calendar flexibility. The flexibility to make their own decisions on when the school year starts and ends has been something for which districts around the state have been fighting for many legislative sessions. A bipartisan group of organizations even got together in 2015 to press for flexibility. Presently, the state mandates the public school calendar for all districts. “We need to give control of calendar flexibility to the LEAs,” White said.

To continue reading the complete article, click here

Excerpt from:

Granados, A. “What happened at the State Board of Education.” EducationNC. 12/7/16.

NC PISA Scores Provide Comparisons with Other Nations’ Performance

North Carolina was one of only two states (along with Massachusetts) and Puerto Rico that elected to participate in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2015, and scores in science, reading and mathematics literacy show North Carolina is on track with the United States’ performance overall. This is the first time that North Carolina has participated in PISA.

The 2015 PISA results reflect science, reading and mathematics literacy for 15-year-olds in 73 education systems worldwide. The PISA is a system of international assessments that allows countries to compare outcomes of learning as students near the end of compulsory schooling. The assessments are given to a sample of participating nations and states every three years. The United States has participated in every cycle of PISA since it began in 2000.

“North Carolina’s participation in PISA provides us with an external measure of our standards and also of our students’ readiness for career and college,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “We are heartened that our state’s performance is in line with the nation’s and that we are competitive against other global education systems. This information will help us as we review content standards and set expectations for the future.”

Results showed North Carolina’s science literacy as higher than 41 participants, not measurably different than 18 participants, not measurably different from the US performance and lower than 14 others. The state’s score was 502. That score falls between Levels 3 and 4, which indicates that students have the ability to draw upon moderately complex content knowledge to identify or explain familiar scientific phenomena. These students can construct explanations with relevant support. They can carry out a simple experiment and to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific issues and identify the evidence supporting a scientific claim.

In reading literacy, North Carolina’s performance was higher than 43 participants, not measurably different than 20 participants, including the US, and lower than 10 others. The state’s score was 500, which falls between the Levels 3 and 4 on the six-level scale. Students at this level of mastery can locate and recognize the relationship between several pieces of information that must meet multiple conditions. They can integrate several parts of a text in order to identify a main idea, understand a relationship or determine the meaning of a word or phrase. They can take into account many features in comparing, contrasting or categorizing. Students at this level can sift through competing information or text obstacles to determine meaning and connections.

In mathematics literacy, North Carolina’s performance was higher than 29 participants, not measurably different from eight participants, including the US, and lower than 36 others. The state’s score was 471, which falls between Levels 2 and 3. This level of performance indicates the ability to employ basic algorithms, formulas, procedures or conventions to solve problems involving whole numbers. Students are capable of making literal interpretations of results and can interpret and recognize situations in contexts that require no more than direct inference.

To see the distribution of participating education systems and how their PISA performance compared to each other on the 2015 assessments, please click on the chart at the bottom of the DPI news release

NC Highlight

Mount Airy City Schools Teacher Wins “Oscar of Teaching”

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The holiday season just got a lot jollier for Amanda Robertson, pictured right, who teaches math to fourth graders at Jones Intermediate School in Mount Airy City Schools. Robertson was just named North Carolina’s 2016 Milken Educator Award recipient and received a check for $25,000 to spend as she pleases. Robertson joins up to 35 other educators nationwide to win the award this year.

State Superintendent June Atkinson surprised Robertson and her school with the news during a schoolwide assembly.

“Amanda’s rapport with her students makes them want to strive to exceed expectations,” Atkinson said. “Their success can in large part be attributed to her work with Problem-Based Learning, which has garnered her much-deserved accolades from fellow teachers. Jones Intermediate is fortunate to have her on staff; and North Carolina is fortunate to have her in its teaching ranks.”

Robertson has taught for eight years, the last three at Mount Airy City Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2007 from Texas A&M University. She serves as her school’s grade-level chair and on its media and technology team. She also serves as a Problem-Based Learning trainer for Wake Forest University’s Center of Excellence for Research, Teaching and Learning program.

She was Teacher of the Year for 2015-16 for Jones Intermediate School as well as the Mount Airy City Schools district.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

NC DPI. “Mount Airy City Schools Teacher Wins Oscar of Teaching.” 12/8/16.

National News

Rep. Virginia Foxx Will Lead the House Education Committee

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Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., will lead the House education committee during the next session of Congress, the committee announced last Friday.

Foxx will replace Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who is retiring at the end of this session of Congress.

In a statement, Foxx said she is committed to ensuring the committee will “work towards fostering the best opportunities for students,” as well as success for workers and employers. She announced she would seek to lead the committee last month, the day after Donald Trump was elected president.

“At all times, we will strive in our service to hold government institutions to the highest standards of accountability and transparency, with a constant eye towards eliminating waste and inefficiency,” Foxx said. “Our creative, ambitious pursuit of good policy will be guided by the Constitution with solutions centered on securing and protecting access to high-quality education and safe and productive workplaces for all Americans.”

In his own statement, Kline said Foxx had earned the chairmanship “through many years of dedicated public service.”

Foxx helped steer a reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act through Congress in 2014. But it’s unclear whether she can establish the same kind of reputation as Kline, who was a primary architect of the Every Student Succeeds Act and reached across the aisle on several issues, including on bills dealing with juvenile justice and career and technical education that received overwhelming bipartisan support.

Obama Administration Releases Final Testing Regulations for ESSA

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The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday released final regulations and new guidance governing how testing is supposed to work under the Every Student Succeeds Act. It also announced $8 million in grants to states to improve science tests.

If you’ve read through the proposal for assessments that a group of educators and advocates negotiated last spring, these final regulations will probably look very familiar to you. Like No Child Left Behind, ESSA requires states to test students every year, but provides a bit more flexibility for states to try out new kinds of tests or use a nationally recognized college entrance test at the high school level. The regulations flesh out these and other testing provisions of the law.

And the Obama administration also said that it is giving $8 million to two state consortia—one led by the Maryland Department of Education and one led by the Nebraska Department of Education. Both groups will be working on improving and developing science tests.

The Maryland-led consortium—which includes Missouri, New York, New Jersey, and Oklahoma—will be working on new tests aligned the Next Generation Science Standards, which have been adopted by more than a dozen states. The consortium led by Nebraska includes Montana and Wyoming and aims to improve the quality of statewide science exams.

The release of the grant, the regulations, and the guidance is timed to coincide with a summit at the White House highlighting the Obama administration’s efforts to improve assessments and reduce testing.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from: 

Klein, A. “Obama Administration Releases Final Testing Regulations for ESSA.” Education Week. 12/7/16.

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.

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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