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The Friday Report

February 9, 2018

Leading News

North Carolina Schools Get Reprieve on K-3 Class-Size Rules

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Photo Credit: Travis Long, The News & Observer.

A legislative deal announced Thursday means North Carolina elementary schools won’t have to reduce class sizes this year, which school officials had warned could threaten art, music and physical education programs.

State Republican legislative leaders said they’ll phase in the smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade over the next four years instead of lowering them at once this fall.

As part of the delay, lawmakers will include $61 million a year to help school districts pay for art, music and physical education teachers.

The deal comes after school officials around the state said they didn’t have the thousands of extra classrooms needed and might have to fire arts and PE teachers to help come up with the money to hire additional K-3 teachers.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. and Bonner, L. “North Carolina schools get reprieve on K-3 class-size rules.” The News & Observer. 2/8/18.

Forum News

Public School Forum Statement on Proposed Class Size Fix, Pre-K Investment

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Photo Credit: Pixabay, Pexels.

RALEIGH (February 8, 2018) — North Carolina’s students, families, teachers and schools badly needed certainty on this K-3 Class Size Mandate issue, which is why we made it #1 in our Top 10 Education Issues for 2018. So we’re very pleased to see the General Assembly recognize the need for millions more in new funding for teaching positions including Arts, Music, Physical Education, etc., as well as a longer, 4-year implementation window. This proposed bill provides both.

Moreover, we’re excited to see new investments in early childhood education to eliminate the current NC-Pre-K waiting list, another one of our Top 10 issues. We applaud members of the General Assembly for putting forth legislation that invests more in early education learning and provides a reasonable pathway to realize lower class sizes in our public schools.

This Week on Education Matters: Investing Early in Our Future

We talk with leaders from across North Carolina who gathered in Raleigh this week for the 2018 Emerging Issues Forum. This year’s Forum focused on investing early in our children’s education and health and the impact it has on our state’s economy.

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Guests Include:

  • Leslie Boney, Director, Institute for Emerging Issues
  • Brenda Howerton, President, NC Association of County Commissioners 
  • Mark Richardson, Chairman, Rockingham County Commission
  • NC Governor Roy Cooper (pictured above, right)
  • Jim Hansen, Regional President, PNC Bank (pictured below, left photo, right)
  • Venessa Harrison, President, AT&T North Carolina (pictured below, left photo, center)
  • Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary, NC Dept. of Health & Human Services (pictured below, right photo, right)

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When and Where to Watch Education Matters

Education Matters is pre-empted this weekend from our usual Sat. 7:30 PM slot on WRAL-TV due to Winter Olympics coverage. 

The show will air during our usual time slots on FOX 50 – Sunday at 8:00 AM and statewide on UNC-TV’s NC Channel (TWC/Spectrum Ch. 1277) – Sunday at 6:30 am and Wednesday at 9:30 am.

The show can be viewed online at https://www.ncforum.org/.

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

In This Issue

North Carolina Schools Get Reprieve on K-3 Class-Size Rules

Public School Forum Statement on Proposed Class Size Fix, Pre-K Investment

This Week on Education Matters: Investing Early in Our Future

NC Supreme Court Hears Power Struggle Lawsuit Between Superintendent, State Ed Board

Pre-K Expansion Has Bipartisan Support. But How Would NC Pay for It? 

Cooper: Business Must Use Clout to Push for Education Spending Over Tax Cuts

Sampson County DACA Students Earn ‘Golden Door’ Scholarships

NC Schools Chief: Teacher Pay Comment Was ‘Inelegant.’ Critics Still Aren’t Satisfied.

Legal Loophole Allows NC Charter Schools to Forgo Safety Lockdown Drills

They Could Have Fallen Through the Cracks. But These Students Are Defying the Odds.

The New Tax Law’s Subtle Subversion of Public Schools

How a School-Based Early-Learning Program Boosted Later College Attendance

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

NC Supreme Court Hears Power Struggle Lawsuit Between Superintendent, State Ed Board

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Photo Credit: WRAL.

The North Carolina Supreme Court heard two State Board of Education lawsuits on Wednesday, including the board’s yearlong battle with Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson over control of the state’s $10 billion public school system.

At issue was whether Republican lawmakers should have been allowed to transfer the Board of Education’s powers to Johnson in December 2016 – a month after the Republican he was elected. Johnson has been blocked from assuming that power as the case has worked its way through the court system, and he and the state board have continued to clash during that time.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “NC Supreme Court hears power struggle lawsuit between superintendent, state ed board.” WRAL. 2/7/18.

Pre-K Expansion Has Bipartisan Support. But How Would NC Pay for It? 

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From left, Nazir Best and Jackson Foy attend their pre-K graduation at Aversboro Elementary School in Garner on June 9, 2016. Photo Credit: The News & Observer file photo.

There seems to be agreement among business, education and government leaders that North Carolina should expand early childhood education, particularly for low-income children, but the question is how to pay for it.

The dilemma was at the center of the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh on Monday, which drew hundreds to brainstorm about how to improve educational outcomes for the state’s youngest children.

Business executives, who are pushing elected leaders on the issue, say preparing young children to succeed in school is critical to the state’s future workforce. Already there are serious gaps between available jobs and the labor pool’s skills, and future jobs are likely to require more education.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Stancill, J. “Pre-K expansion has bipartisan support. But how would NC pay for it?” The News & Observer. 2/5/18.

Cooper: Business Must Use Clout to Push for Education Spending Over Tax Cuts

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Photo Credit: WRAL.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wants North Carolina business leaders to speak up for public education funding by telling the Republican-controlled legislature to block additional income tax cuts set to take effect next year.

Cooper gave the challenge Monday at the annual Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh. The conference is focusing on how to expand early childhood education and health care and their connection to a well-trained future workforce.

Only about half of North Carolina’s first-graders meet the standard for reading proficiency, and the governor wants more children to have access to pre-kindergarten in the state.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Leslie, L. “Cooper: Business must use clout to push for education spending over tax cuts.” WRAL. 2/5/18.

Sampson County DACA Students Earn ‘Golden Door’ Scholarships

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Lorena Ortega and Narivi Roblero-Escalante received the Golden Door Scholarship. The two students are attending the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the fall. Photo Credit: The Sampson Independent.

After overcoming challenges, two scholars from Union High School are looking forward to starting a new journey after graduation.

Lorena Ortega and Narivi Roblero-Escalante were recently honored for earning the Golden Door Scholarship. They are awarded to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students with high academic achievements and gives them an opportunity to go to college on a full academic scholarship. Roblero-Escalante and Ortega plan to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Jordan, C. “Local DACA students earn ‘Golden Door’ scholarships.” The Sampson Independent. 2/3/18.

NC Schools Chief: Teacher Pay Comment Was ‘Inelegant.’ Critics Still Aren’t Satisfied.

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N.C. Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson holds up books as he shares details of a new literacy initiative with kindergarteners at East Garner Elementary School in Garner, N.C., on April 3, 2017. 

Photo Credit: Aaron Moody, The New & Observer.

In the wake of his controversial statements on teacher pay, State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson says he used “less-than-stellar phrasing” when he said $35,000 was good money for young teachers in rural parts of North Carolina.

Groups such as the N.C. Association of Educators have accused Johnson of disrespecting teachers when he publicly said the $35,000 state base starting salary is a lot of money for some new educators. In an op-ed in The News & Observer posted online Wednesday, Johnson said his remarks were an “admittedly inelegant attempt” to highlight how the state’s urban-rural divide causes people to see things differently.

“I said the state’s annual base starting pay (before local supplements) of $35,000 was a good start in some rural communities where families of all shapes, sizes, and age ranges bring home a median household income of just $33,000 a year,” Johnson wrote. “While we are on the right track with recent salary increases, I continued, we need to keep working to better compensate our teachers.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “NC schools chief: Teacher-pay comment was ‘inelegant.’ Critics still aren’t satisfied.” The News & Observer. 2/7/18.

Legal Loophole Allows NC Charter Schools to Forgo Safety Lockdown Drills

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

While North Carolina has taken major steps to improve school safety, a loophole in the law means some public schools might not be prepared if they ever have to go into lockdown.

North Carolina law requires traditional public schools to practice lockdown drills at least once a year to prepare if an intruder ever came on campus. Yet, North Carolina charter schools, which are publicly funded and privately run, are not required to do the same.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Browder, C. “Legal loophole allows NC charter schools to forgo safety lockdown drills.” WRAL. 2/1/18.

They Could Have Fallen Through the Cracks. But These Students Are Defying the Odds.

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Photo Credit: The News & Observer.

Vanessa Paramo and Mariah Williams are typical seventh-graders in many ways. Mariah likes learning about ratios and fractions in math class and dreads language arts and all its bedeviling commas. Vanessa likes her math teacher, but hates math class. They’d both rather talk to friends than do homework.

They also fit into categories often highlighted as factors that can lead to academic failure. Both come from low-income families, and both are minorities. Both attend Johnston County middle schools that struggle academically.

But both girls are succeeding. Mariah expects to become the first person in her family to graduate from college. Vanessa is now fluent in English, although she only spoke Spanish when she started kindergarten.

Now the Johnston County students are among the 10 children in North Carolina this year to receive the Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship. The $20,000 scholarship is awarded to seventh-graders with potential to help pay college tuition.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Linford, A. “They could have fallen through the cracks. But these students are defying the odds.” The New & Observer. 2/6/18.

National News

The New Tax Law’s Subtle Subversion of Public Schools

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A tree trunk lies in the entrance way to West Philadelphia University City High School, which was closed amid funding cuts and declines in property-tax revenue. Photo Credit: Tom Mihalek, Reuters.

American public schools have long been, and remain, deeply unequal. At the most dilapidated and underperforming schools, teachers are blamed for stagnant graduation rates, students are derided for low tests scores, and parents are chastised for not being involved. Too often, however, scrutiny of these schools’ performance doesn’t take into account the structural factors that have contributed to their outcomes. One of the most significant factors contributing to the chasm of educational opportunity is the way that schools are funded.

According to the most recent data made available by the Department of Education in 2015, the wealthiest 25 percent of school districts receive 15 percent more in per-student funding from state and local governments as compared to the poorest 25 percent of school districts. Nationally, that accounts for a $1,500-per-student funding gap, a gap that has grown by 44 percent since the 2001-02 school year. It’s a system that leaves the poor with less and the rich with more—a phenomenon that the new GOP tax law has the potential to make even worse.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Smith, C. “The New Tax Law’s Subtle Subversion of Public Schools.” The Atlantic. 2/7/18.

How a School-Based Early-Learning Program Boosted Later College Attendance

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Preschool may be good at offering short-term academic gains for kids, but a program that provided services starting at preschool through 3rd grade showed benefits for children that boosted their college attendance rates years later, according to a new study.

Researchers examined the life outcomes of nearly 1,000 children who attended the Chicago Child-Parent Centers as preschoolers in the early 1980s. On average, children who attended the program completed more years of education than a control group of children. And those effects were amplified the longer that they remained in the program.

For example, for CPC children who only stayed long enough to complete preschool, 15.7 percent received an associate’s degree or higher, compared to 10.7 percent of children in a comparison group who didn’t attend that particular program.

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To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Samuels, C. “How a School-Based Early-Learning Program Boosted Later College Attendance.” Education Week. 2/5/18.

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.

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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