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The Friday Report

January 12, 2018

Forum News

New School Finance Study Confirms Vast Funding Disparities Across North Carolina

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The 2018 Local School Finance Study, released this week by the Public School Forum of NC, confirms a chronic and growing gap in public school funding between the highest and lowest-wealth counties in the state. Significantly, this gap has widened every year since 2011, and in 18 of the last 20 years.

“Our poorest counties continue to fall further behind our wealthier counties in terms of resources available to their local public schools,” said Keith Poston, the Forum’s President and Executive Director. “Young people born into one of the state’s economically thriving counties, typically the more urban centers, have levels of investment in their education not shared elsewhere in the state, especially our rural counties.”

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The report finds that in 2015-16, the ten highest-spending counties spent four times more per child than the ten lowest spending counties. Orange County, at the top of the list, spends 12 times more per student than Swain County, at the bottom.

Read more in our press release.

Download the 2018 Local School Finance Study.

Poston, K. “School finance study confirms vast funding disparities across North Carolina.” EdNC, 1/9/2018.

Poston, K. “School finance study confirms vast funding disparities across N.C.” WRAL, 1/9/2018.

Editorial: “Our view: In schools as in life, the rich get richer.” Fayetteville Observer, 1/9/2018.

This Week on Education Matters: North Carolina’s School Funding Divide

At a time of intense focus by state leaders on how schools are funded in North Carolina, a new study out this week shows a stark and growing gap between the highest and lowest-wealth counties in the state, particularly urban and rural school districts. We discuss with one of study’s authors and two key experts.

Guests Include:

  • Lindsay Wagner, Senior Researcher/Writer, Public School Forum of NC
  • Dr. Eric Houck, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Kris Nordstrom, Education Finance and Policy Consultant

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When and Where to Watch Education Matters

Due to NFL Playoffs on Saturday, Education Matters will air on WRAL-TV at Noon on Sunday, 1/14.

FOX 50 and UNC-TV’s NC Channel will air at regularly scheduled times: 

Sunday at 8:00 AM on FOX 50

(Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

and

Sunday at 6:30 AM and Wednesday at 9:30 AM on

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 iTunesSoundCloudStitcherPodBeanOvercast and 

Google Play Music.

Online at https://www.ncforum.org/

Eggs & Issues Breakfast 2018

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On January 24, 2018, the Public School Forum of North Carolina will host its 4th Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast at the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh.This special event began in 2015 to showcase the Forum’s release of our annual Top Ten Education Issues – our unique take on the state’s most pressing issues in education.

Along with the release of the Forum’s Top Ten Education Issues for 2018, the 4th Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast will include a special taping of our weekly TV show “Education Matters” hosted by Keith Poston featuring a panel of education leaders. Panelists include:

  • Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union)
  • Sen. Valerie Foushee (D-Chatham, Orange)
  • Lisa Godwin, 2017 NC Teacher of the Year
  • Sepideh Saidi, President & CEO, SEPI Engineering & Construction, Inc.

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Presenting Sponsor

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Pacesetter Sponsor 

​​

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Event Details

Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Time: 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Location: Marbles Kids Museum

201 East Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC  

This event is now SOLD OUT.

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.

State News

‘We’re not going away.’ Rally urges lawmakers to fund 

K-3 class size reductions

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In North Carolina’s capital city, several hundred people gathered in subfreezing temperatures on Saturday afternoon to warm up their arguments against a lower class-size mandate set to take effect this year without additional state funds for new classrooms and teachers.

Parents, teachers, public school students and others rallied for nearly two hours on the grassy Halifax Mall outside lawmakers’ offices to raise awareness about an issue that could put school districts across the state in a position of having to cut arts, physical education and library programs, increase class sizes in grades 4-12 and possibly reassign teachers.

Bundled up in winter coats, scarves, hats and gloves, the ralliers cheered on a series of speakers, waving signs such as “Stop Class Chaos. Fund Our Public Schools!” and applauding messages such as “North Carolina school children deserve better.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Blythe, A. “‘We’re not going away.’ Rally urges lawmakers to fund K-3 class size reductions.” The News & Observer, 1/6/2018.

For additional coverage on the class size mandate issues across the state, view the stories below:

Childress, G. “Class-size mandate to put a big squeeze on Durham schools.” The News & Observer, 1/11/2018.

Byrd, M. “Wilkes County Superintendent says class size limits are big challenge.” Wilkes Journal-Patriot, 1/5/2018.

Hui, T. Keung. “Gov. Roy Cooper says lawmakers must pay for smaller K-3 classes,” The News & Observer, 1/5/2018.

Leslie, L. “Lawmakers: no class size fix this week.” WRAL.com, 1/9/2018.

Robeson County Agrees To Turn Struggling School Over to Management Organization

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The Robeson County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to turn one of its elementary schools over to a management organization instead of shutting down the school.

Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Rowland will be the first school in North Carolina to take part in the state’s new Innovative School District. The controversial new program, which was approved by lawmakers in 2016, will take five of the state’s lowest-performing schools and hand them over to charter or education management organizations to try to improve their performance.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “Robeson County agrees to turn struggling school over to management organization. ” WRAL.com, 1/10/18.

What Happens When a Small Town Gets Angry With CMS? It Could Change Education in NC.

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Photo Credit: Ann Doss Helms, The Charlotte Observer.

A bill that would let Matthews and Mint Hill create their own charter schools sparked fierce debate when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools leaders and state legislators met this week.

There was one point of agreement: A bill that affects only two small towns south of Charlotte could change the face of school choice in North Carolina.

“It’s a seismic change in the education policy of this state,” said Charles Jeter, a former state lawmaker who now speaks for CMS on governmental issues. He said the bill sponsored by state Rep. Bill Brawley would let towns that are whiter and more affluent than the county at large use property tax money to create separate public schools for their residents.

“We believe that this is a resegregation of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,” Jeter said.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Helms, A. “What happens when a small town gets angry with CMS? It could change education in NC.” The Charlotte Observer, 1/5/18.

The Invisible Disability In Your Classroom: Traumatic Childhood Experiences

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Photo Credit: EducationNC.

My mother tells me by the time I was two and could speak, she had to start beating me. My earliest memories are from age four and are riddled with images of verbal and physical violence against me and my brother at the hands of my mother, stepfather, aunt, and uncles.

My disability is not apparent, yet it has been present and acute since childhood.

This excerpt is from one of the personal stories featured in “On the Problematization and Criminalization of Children and Young Adults with Non-Apparent Disabilities.” The paper from the Ruderman Family Foundation looks at systemic discrimination against people with “invisible” disabilities throughout society—particularly, in our schools.

Non-apparent disabilities include autism, cognitive or learning disabilities, Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, dyslexia, and any number of mental illnesses. But let’s focus on one area of disability that often is not recognized by many caretakers, including school staff— trauma in childhood. Though “invisible,” unrecognized trauma can lead to severe consequences that derail a child’s opportunities to succeed in school and in life.

To continue reading the complete article, click here

​Excerpt from:

Morris, D. “The invisible disability in your classroom: Traumatic Childhood Experiences.” EducationNC, 1/10/18.

Some NC Teachers Have Had To Wait 6 Months To Get Hired. That’s Too Long, Audit Says.

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Photo Credit: News & Observer file photo.

State delays in processing North Carolina teacher licenses are keeping some teachers from being hired and preventing others from getting their full pay and benefits.

State education officials said Tuesday they’re working to improve the licensure process to end the days when some teachers waited six months or more to get their licenses. The goal is six to eight weeks, although a recent internal audit found multiple issues that are impeding the ability to process applications quickly.

“We know based on our audit that customer service and processing times have to be at the forefront of our improvements moving forward,” Deputy State Superintendent Maria Pitre-Martin told the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on Tuesday.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, T. Keung. “Some NC teachers have had to wait 6 months to get hired. That’s too long, audit says.” The News & Observer, 1/9/2018.

National News

We Can Draw School Zones to Make Classrooms Less Segregated. This is How Well Your District Does.

Think about your elementary school.

If you attended an American public school, chances are you went to that school because your family lived in that school’s attendance zone. You probably didn’t think twice about it.

We tend to assume these are neutrally drawn, immutable borders. But if you take a step back and look at the demographics of who lives in each attendance zone, you’re faced with maps like this:

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Once you look at the school attendance zones this way, it becomes clearer why these lines are drawn the way they are. Groups with political clout — mainly wealthier, whiter communities — have pushed policies that help white families live in heavily white areas and attend heavily white schools.

We see this in city after city, state after state.

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And often the attendance zones are gerrymandered to put white students in classrooms that are even whiter than the communities they live in.

The result is that schools today are re-segregating. In fact, schools in the South are as segregated now as they were about 50 years ago, not long after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Chang, A. “We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.” Vox. 1/8/2018.

Congress Changed 529 College Savings Plans And Now States Are Nervous

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If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have a 529 college savings plan. If you’re like most Americans, you don’t even know what it is. All the more reason to keep reading.

That’s because, with the new tax law, Republicans have made important changes to 529 plans that will affect millions of taxpayers, not just the ones saving for college. Before that news, though, a quick primer.

A 529 plan lets families save money for college. Think of it as a love child, born in the mid ’90s to your federal and state governments. And they named it, in a flash of creativity, after its relevant section in the Internal Revenue Code.

States generally manage the plans, while the Feds let the money grow long-term, tax-free. Thirty-three states also try to encourage savers with a little short-term reward (or not so little, in some cases): When families in those states make a contribution, they get a deduction or credit on their state income taxes, too.

“That lets people know, ‘Look, this is a tax advantage that you can unwrap for yourself right now and be a gateway to additional tax advantages later on,’ ” says Troy Montigney, who oversees Indiana’s 529 program. His state offers families a $1,000 tax credit for contributions.

But that credit means less tax revenue coming in. It’s a trade-off for states; they figure it’s worth the lost revenue if a tax break gets more people saving for college.

Now, it’s these state-based tax breaks that are driving real concern among state leaders about Washington’s recent tax overhaul.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Turner, C. “Congress Changed 529 College Savings Plans, And Now States Are Nervous.” NPR. 1/8/2018.

Opportunities

Synergy Conference 2018: 

Workshop and Vendor Proposals

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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.

Below are further details for Synergy 2018 as well as information for those interested in presenting or setting up a booth at this conference. 

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

Where: The Greenville Convention Center in Greenville, NC

If you would like to present a workshop, please download and review the Workshop Request for Proposals, and then submit a proposal here.

If you would like to serve as a vendor, please download and review the Vendor Request for Proposals, and then submit a proposal here.

All proposals are due by 5pm on January 18th. Selected workshop and vendor proposals will be notified by January 31st. For more information please visit 

https://ncafterschool.org/synergyconference2018/

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for 

Student STEM Enrichment Program

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The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has opened it’s 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.

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 January 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.

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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