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The Friday Report

February 2, 2018

Forum News

This Week on Education Matters: The Future of Education in the American South

A new report out this week says that while North Carolina and other Southern states made major advances in education in recent decades, achievement gaps between more affluent students and historically disadvantaged classmates have widened. Are voters ready to move faster to close the gap?

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Guests Include:

  • Alan Richard, Education Journalist (pictured above)
  • Howard N. Lee, Former State Senator (pictured below)

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When and Where to Watch Education Matters

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

Sundays at 8:00 AM, FOX 50

(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 1277 or check your local listing and other providers here.

Education Matters is also available as a podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, PodBean, Overcast and Google Play Music.

Online at https://www.ncforum.org/

NC and the Rest of the South Need to Improve Education, Report Says

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From right, second graders Natalia Fong, Ahngel Sanders, and Chris Granados read books donated through the WAKE Up and Read book drive at Brentwood Elementary School in Raleigh. Photo Credit: News & Observer file photo.

North Carolina and other Southern states need to quickly do more to improve K-12 education as the number of “disadvantaged students” increases in the region’s public schools, according to a new report.

“Accelerating the Pace: The Future of Education in the American South,” a report released Tuesday, found that student achievement has increased significantly overall in the South in the past several decades. But the report found that Southern states must deal with historic inequities in education – student performance varies widely by race and income – that hold back many parts of the region.

To improve education, the report found that states need to get the South’s finest to become teachers, give students the support they need, strengthen students’ ability to go to college or get a job after high school and match resources with students’ needs.

“We can’t ignore the fact that the South and North Carolina lag behind the rest of the nation in school funding,” said Keith Poston, president and executive director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, a nonpartisan advocate for better schools. “It shows up in many ways.”

The report from the Columbia Group, a network of seven Southern nonprofit organizations that includes the Public School Forum, also includes polling data of registered voters. The first annual Education Poll of the South found strong support from voters to improve the state of K-12 education in the region.

The poll found that 85 percent of voters say states should take action to correct differences in the quality of education within the state, and 84 percent say their states should adjust school funding to ensure greater fairness between wealthy and poor communities. The percentages were even higher to both questions for voters from North Carolina.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

To download the report, click here.

Excerpt from: 

Hui, K. “NC and the rest of the South need to improve education, report says .” The News & Observer. 1/30/18.

Eggs and Issues 2018:

Presentation Video Available Online

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On January 24, 2018, the Public School Forum of North Carolina hosted our 4th Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast at the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh.

In addition to a presentation of our Top 10 Education Issues for 2018, this year’s event included a special taping of our weekly TV show “Education Matters” featuring a panel of education leaders. 

Both the presentation and panel recordings are now available online at https://www.ncforum.org/eggs-issues-breakfast/.

In This Issue

This Week on Education Matters: The Future of Education in the American South

NC and the Rest of the South Need to Improve Education, Report Says

Eggs and Issues 2018:

Presentation Video Available Online

Local, State Education Leaders Make the Case for More Flexibility

Meeting K-3 Class Size Mandate Remains a Challenge

NC School Board Delays Choosing Operator for School Takeover

NC Schools Chief Says Raising Teacher Pay Is a ‘Top Priority’ After Controversial Comments

North Carolina Shortchanges Students Who Are Poor, Black and Gifted, Report Says

Filings in Leandro: Plaintiffs Respond to State Board’s Motion for Relief

More NC Teachers Are Getting Bigger Bonuses in 2018. So Why Does Controversy Remain?

Schools Issue Mobile Hotspots to Students Without Home Internet Access

Amid National School Shootings, NC Legislators Discuss If Arming Teachers Is Best Response

Nearly 9,000 DACA Teachers Face an Uncertain Future

The Kids Are Not All Right: The Push for Social and Emotional Learning

Education Policy & Programs Internship

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.

State News

Local, State Education Leaders Make the Case for More Flexibility

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Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform. Photo Credit: Alex Granados, EducationNC.

Local and state education leaders lobbied Wednesday the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform for more flexibility on how they use state funds.

The task force heard from superintendents, district finance officers, and the leaders of two state education organizations as it continues to gather information about how to change or strengthen the way the state funds education. Presenter after presenter got up and said that an important part of any funding system would be funding flexibility. Members of the task force, like Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph and Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke, even got in on the chorus.

“I’m perfectly willing to give you (flexibility) because you superintendents know more about where that should go than anybody alive,” Tillman said. 

“I would like to say amen to the sermon delivered by Senator Tillman,” Blackwell added. “I think flexibility is clearly the way to go.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Granados, A. “‘Local, state education leaders make the case for more flexibility.” EducationNC. 2/2/18.

Meeting K-3 Class Size Mandate Remains a Challenge

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Jacksonville Commons Elementary School students, from left, Taylor Cureton, Priscilla Interian, Jessimar Concepion, and Keysha Miranda review some classwork with third grade teacher Ashley Tuley Thursday afternoon. 

Photo Credit: John Althouse, The Daily News.

As the current school year heads into its final months, Onslow County school and county officials are focused on the year ahead and the challenges to meet state K-3 class size requirements.

Phasing in the mandate to reduce class sizes for the 2017-18 year was hard. Continuing the process next school year will be worse, said Board of Education Chairwoman Pam Thomas.

For one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state, space is at a premium which leads to challenges finding room for additional classrooms at the kindergarten through third grade level, where growth is highest.

“Even though it was difficult for us to find the room this year, it was better than what we will face coming up because we need every space that we have now,” Thomas said.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Pippin, J. “Meeting K-3 class size mandate remains a challenge.” Jacksonville Daily News. 1/28/18.

NC School Board Delays Choosing Operator for School Takeover

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Photo Credit: MGNOnline.com.

North Carolina’s school officials are going to keep looking for a company to run the first academically low-performing school to be taken away from its local school board.

The State Board of Education decided Thursday to allow another two months to search for the right school manager after the first two to step forward didn’t meet expectations.

Independent evaluations determined that neither North Carolina-based Achievement for All Children nor Michigan-based Romine Group appeared ready to take over and turn around Southside Ashpole Elementary in Robeson County.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Associated Press. “NC school board delays choosing operator for takeover school.” Associated Press. 2/1/18.

NC Schools Chief Says Raising Teacher Pay Is a ‘Top Priority’ After Controversial Comments

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In his first message for 2018, NC Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Mark Johnson asks educators to share their thoughts on post-secondary options for students through the NC Educator’s Perspective Survey.

Photo Credit: NC Department of Public Instruction.

State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson says raising teacher pay and resolving the K-3 class size issue are major priorities in a video released less than a week after he made controversial comments about teacher pay.

Johnson had said at a conference Thursday that the base starting salary of $35,000 for teachers was “good money” and “a lot of money” for people in their mid-20s, especially in rural parts of North Carolina. The N.C. Association of Educators criticized Johnson’s comments and announced that it was not inviting the superintendent to its annual convention in March.

Johnson responded Wednesday by speaking directly to educators and the public with a YouTube video.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “NC schools chief says raising teacher pay is a ‘top priority’ after controversial comments.” The News & Observer. 1/31/18.

North Carolina Shortchanges Students Who Are Poor, Black and Gifted, Report Says

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Lowe’s Grove Middle School teacher Jenny Duvall works with eighth-grader Julius Borunda as part of a Durham program to provide more challenging classes to low-income students with high potential.

Photo Credit: Harry Lynch, The News & Observer.

The “gifted gap” that shortchanges black and Hispanic students across America is especially intense in North Carolina, a new study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute shows.

The institute, an education reform think tank with offices in Ohio and Washington, D.C., reviewed national data on gifted programs in high-poverty schools, which are generally filled with black and brown students. The “Gifted Gap” report found that while most high-poverty schools offer programs for gifted students, they tend to be sparsely populated.

It documented that African-American and Hispanic students are underrepresented in gifted programs in all states and all types of schools, but even more so in schools where most students come from impoverished homes. North Carolina is among 22 states where fewer than 5 percent of black and Hispanic students are in gifted programs, compared with almost 10 percent of all North Carolina students.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Doss Helms, A. “North Carolina shortchanges students who are poor, black and gifted, report says.” The Charlotte Observer. 1/31/18.

Filings in Leandro: Plaintiffs Respond to State Board’s Motion for Relief

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Photo Credit: EducationNC

Plaintiffs and intervenors in the landmark Leandro v. State case filed motions this week in opposition to the State Board’s attempt to be taken off the case.

In the motions, plaintiffs argued that the motion is untimely, that the State Board should remain a part of the case until it can prove it has rectified constitutional violations, that the State Board’s motion is inconsistent with its prior statements, and that the court has previously ruled about the State Board’s “failure to meet its constitutional obligations.”

“[T]he State Board is attempting to disavow its past commitments to the Court and the children of North Carolina and to recant its previous statements,” the plaintiff motion states. “In addition to taking inconsistent positions to those it has previously taken in this Court and the appellate courts, the State Board also blatantly ignores prior Orders of this Court and ask this Court to overrule the Superior Court Judge who presided over this case for almost 20 years.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Granados, A. “Filings in Leandro: Plaintiffs respond to State Board’s motion for relief.” EducationNC. 2/1/18.

$1M Audit of State Education Agency Begins Next Week, NC Superintendent Says

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North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson. Photo Credit: WRAL.

Auditors from Ernst & Young will be at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction next week to begin an in-depth review of the agency’s operations, the state superintendent announced Wednesday. The findings are due by April 1.

“I have been advocating for a third-party evaluation of DPI’s operations since before I was elected,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson said in a statement. “This project will look at how we are structured, what kind of work we do and our business processes to see what’s working well and what can be improved.”

Johnson, who requested the $1 million audit, said he will rely heavily on the reviewers’ findings when discussing potential cuts to the agency’s budget. The General Assembly reduced the agency’s operating funds by 6.2 percent – $3.2 million – for 2017-18 and voted to reduce it another 13.9 percent – $7.3 million – for 2018-19.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “$1M audit of state education agency begins next week, NC superintendent says.” WRAL. 1/31/18.

More NC Teachers Are Getting Bigger Bonuses in 2018. So Why Does Controversy Remain?

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Stephanie Stanic teaches fifth grade at Nations Ford Elementary School, which Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools celebrated for gains on last year’s exams. Photo Credit: Davie Hinshaw, The Charlotte Observer.

North Carolina’s teacher merit bonuses are booming, with about 8,800 expecting raises in this week’s paycheck based on their students’ 2017 achievements.

That’s a huge increase over last year, when the bonuses debuted on a smaller scale. This year far more elementary and middle school teachers are eligible, collecting payments as high as $9,700.

The state expanded eligibility, made some payments bigger and eliminated one of the glitches that angered some teachers last year. Almost $41 million is budgeted for this year’s performance bonuses. But that doesn’t mean all teachers are cheering. North Carolina has about 95,000 teachers, so most aren’t getting a bonus.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Doss Helms, A. “More NC teachers are getting bigger bonuses in 2018. So why does controversy remain?” The Charlotte Observer. 2/1/18.

Schools Issue Mobile Hotspots to Students Without Home Internet Access

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Students use computers during STEM Camp on June 17, 2015 at Southern Middle School. The school system recently issued mobile hotspots to about 50 Southern Middle students who do not have access to the internet outside of school. Photo Credit: File Photo, The Pilot.

Since 2015, Moore County has assigned Chromebook computers to all middle and high school students for their personal use. But the shift has widened the divide between disadvantaged students who, whether for financial or geographical reasons, can’t plug into online resources at home. That gap stands to affect elementary school students in the coming years: Moore County Schools’s digital learning plan involves introducing Chromebooks for students in grades 3-5 in the 2019-2020 school year.

This past week, the schools issued mobile “hotspots” to about 50 Southern Middle School students who do not have access to the internet outside of school.

Moore County Schools procured the hotspot devices through T-Mobile’s EmpowerED initiative, which provides them at no cost and discounts fees associated with data usage, which are structured similarly to cellular phone plans. The district is approved to disburse up to 180 hotspots, and will continue issuing them at Southern Middle as students in need are identified.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Murphy, M. “Schools Issue Mobile Hotspots to Students Without Home Internet Access.” The Pilot. 1/30/18.

Amid National School Shootings, NC Legislators Discuss If Arming Teachers Is Best Response

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Photo Credit: Daniel Weber’s Photo Stream.

A state legislative committee that oversees emergency management heard an update Thursday on school safety measures. The committee’s chair opened the meeting with a reflection on recent school shootings in other states.

“If you regularly read the paper, or watch the TV or listen to the radio, or pick up a telephone, too many times we’re seeing schools victimized across our nation,” began Representative John Faircloth. Shootings at schools outside Dallas and in rural Kentucky made headlines last week.

The legislative committee met to hear how schools and colleges across North Carolina are implementing a variety of safety measures enacted in a 2013 law.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Schlemmer, L. “Amid National School Shootings, NC Legislators Discuss If Arming Teachers is Best Response.” WUNC. 1/28/18.

National News

Nearly 9,000 DACA Teachers Face an Uncertain Future

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Maria Rocha, a third-grade teacher at the KIPP Esperanza Dual Language Academy in San Antonio, came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 3 years old. Photo Credit: Katie Hayes Luke, NPR.

Of the 690,000 undocumented immigrants now facing an uncertain future as Congress and President Trump wrangle over the DACA program are about 8,800 school teachers.

The real possibility that they’ll be deported if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is allowed to expire has put enormous stress on them.

Maria Rocha, a teacher in San Antonio, Texas, says it’s gut wrenching, but she’s trying not to show it in front of her third-graders. Rocha has been teaching at KIPP Esperanza Dual-Language Academy for three years. It’s even harder, she says, because some of her students are also at risk of being deported.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Sanchez, C. “Nearly 9,000 DACA Teachers Face An Uncertain Future.” NPR Ed. 1/29/18.

The Kids Are Not All Right: The Push for Social and Emotional Learning

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Photo Credit: UIG, Getty Images.

Outside the front office at Wade Park School in Cleveland, there’s a small mailbox where students can drop off notes for mediation coordinators, alerting them to things that have happened or that are bothering them: a parent arrested, a family member shot, a brewing argument with another student.

Down the hall in the kindergarten classroom, children use turtle puppets to help verbalize and process their feelings, and learn body positions that can help them calm down. At least twice a week, teachers in older grades incorporate lessons on things like conflict resolution and managing anxiety.

This is social and emotional learning at work. The term may sound warm and fuzzy, perhaps even new-age. But far from it, advocates say: Social and emotional learning, when combined with traditional academic education, prepares the whole child for life separate from school.

.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Camera, L. “The Kids Are Not All Right: The Push for Social and Emotional Learning.” The U.S World & News Report. 1/26/18.

Opportunities

Education Policy & Programs Internship

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The Public School Forum of North Carolina is seeking an intern for Spring 2018 to support Forum policy and program staff in research, writing and communications in the education policy arena. 

Primary responsibilities will include:

  • Working closely with the Forum team on policy and research publications, including the Roadmap of Need and Educational Primer.
  • Supporting the programmatic work of the Forum, including the Beginning Teacher Leadership Network, NC Education Policy Fellowship Program and NC Center for Afterschool Programs.
  • Other assignments as given by the Forum policy and program staff.

Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program. Strong applicants will have an interest in public education, education policy or nonprofit work and will be eager to learn about education issues in North Carolina. Applicants must have strong research and writing skills.

This internship is unpaid, but we are happy to work with undergraduate or graduate departments for interns to receive course credit if possible. The internship will run from March to the end of the student’s spring semester, or as otherwise agreed to by the student and the Forum. Schedules and hours will be determined at the start of the internship, with a general expectation of 10-15 hours a week. All hours will be between 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

Students interested in this opportunity should send a resume and cover letter to Irene Mone at imone@ncforum.org. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with a deadline of February 15, 2018.

Synergy Conference 2018: Early Registration Now Open

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Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Today Through Expanded Learning
When: April 25 – 27, 2018

Where: The Greenville Convention Center in Greenville, NC

Each year, the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) holds a conference to convene community, state, and national stakeholders in the afterschool and expanded learning environment. The Synergy Conference convenes hundreds of out-of-school time providers to share insight on research-based practices, effective programs, and public policies that impact students and their overall success in school and life.

Early Registration is now open for the annual Synergy Conference! You can register here before February 14th for the discounted rate of $200. Regular registration will begin on February 15th at the rate of $225.

The Synergy Conference has a hotel block at the Hilton Greenville at the discounted rate of $139/night, which includes breakfast. You can make hotel reservations hereHotel reservations must be made by March 26th to get the discounted rate. Please make your hotel reservations as soon as possible as space is limited.

For more information please visit  https://ncafterschool.org/synergyconference2018/

TeacherSquared’s Teacher Educator Institute

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TeacherSquared will be hosting its third Teacher Educator Institute in New Orleans from May 7-9. Join teacher educators, the teachers of teachers, from across the country for this Institute focused on Using Data to Improve Novice Teacher Practice. This institute is for new or experienced teacher educators interested in collaborating with other teacher educators to deepen their ability to use data to help the novice teachers they train get better. This Institute will be a uniquely valuable professional development experience for teacher educators in a range of roles: from clinical professors and deans to coaches and directors, in both traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs.

Click here for more details and to register today! Take advantage of early bird pricing (through 3/9) with the discount code “FRIEND2018” for $200 off.

The Friday Institute: Free High Quality

Online Courses for Educators

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Improve your practice with The Friday Institute’s free high-quality online courses for educators. Courses are self-directed, peer-supported and project-based. Topics include Problem Solving in the Digital Age, Teaching Statistics Through Inferential Reasoning, Learning Differences, Teaching Foundational Reading Skills, Teaching Mathematics with Technology and Fraction Foundations. Courses start February 5th. Sign up today and learn more at go.ncsu.edu/mooced.

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for 

Student STEM Enrichment Program

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The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has opened its application for the 2018 Student STEM 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 STEM 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, 2018.

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

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.

©2018 Public School Forum of North Carolina. All Rights Reserved.

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