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The Friday Report

January 13, 2017

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Forum News

This Weekend on Education Matters: State Board of Education vs NC General Assembly

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This week’s episode of Education Matters, the Forum’s weekly television program, focuses on House Bill 17, a bill passed in a surprise special session of the NC General Assembly in December. The bill, signed into law by former Gov. Pat McCrory, strips much of the power from the State Board of Education and gives it to the newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, Republican Mark Johnson. The State Board claims the law is unconstitutional and has filed a lawsuit to overturn it.

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Host Keith Poston talks with the current chairman of the State Board, Bill Cobey (pictured top), as well as former State Board chair Howard Lee and former NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Willis Whichard (pictured above).

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Education Matters airs on Saturday night at 7:30 PM on WRAL-TV in the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville market and statewide on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel Sundays at 9 AM and Mondays at 3 PM. The North Carolina Channel can be found on Time Warner Cable Channel 1276 or check local listing and other providers here.

Previous episodes can be found online on the Forum’s website at https://www.ncforum.org/ or on wral.com by searching for Education Matters.

2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast

SOLD OUT

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In less than two weeks the Public School Forum of North Carolina will host its now sold out 3rd Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. This special event at the start of the legislative session will showcase the Forum’s release of its annual Top Ten Education Issues, a unique take on the state’s most pressing issues in education for the year.

The 2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast will feature a special taping of Education Matters, the Forum’s weekly television show. Special guest will be Governor Roy Cooper, who will sit down for a live one-on-one discussion at the event with Forum President & Executive Director and Education Matters host Keith Poston.

The event is Wednesday, January 25, 2017 from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM. Breakfast will start at 7:30 AM, followed by the program at 8:00 AM. The Eggs & Issues Breakfast is one of the most anticipated education events each new year and tickets are now sold out!

Presenting Sponsor

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Education Pacesetter Sponsor

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Public School Forum Programs

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State News

After Durham School’s ‘Egregious’ Errors, NC Charter Board Considering More Statewide Oversight

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After this week’s discovery that a Durham charter school gave unearned diplomas to 40 percent of its graduates, the state Charter Schools Advisory Board said it will consider adding more oversight to all charter high schools in the state.

Board Chairman Alex Quigley said Thursday he’d like the board’s policy committee to examine “charter school oversight, particularly around high schools and graduation requirements” at an upcoming meeting with the full board, likely in February, March or April.

Quigley said he believes the diploma problem discovered at Kestrel Heights School in Durham was “an isolated incident, but it’s important.” He cited the growing number of charter high schools and growing number of charter high school applicants in the state and said the board needs to make sure “there are some potential mechanisms in place” to catch problems.

Kestrel Heights’ diploma problem wasn’t discovered for eight years. The school reported this week that 40 percent of its graduates – 160 of 399 students – received diplomas in the past eight years without earning all of the proper credits.

Charter advisory board members discussed the possibility of having state consultants, who are already visiting the schools, pull records to make sure students are taking the required classes and are eligible to graduate.

As Charters and Choice Expand, So Does Segregation

As charter school enrollment has more than doubled across the U.S. over 10 years, demographic data are showing that charter schools are more segregated than traditional public schools. Nationally, 2.5 million students were enrolled in charter schools in 2013 across the U.S. Just 10 years prior, enrollment was less than 1 million. Despite that growth, research has been inconclusive on the question of whether charter schools and school choice in general are effective in improving student outcomes. What is clear is that charter schools are more segregated – 39 percent of charter schools have concentrated poverty compared to 24 percent of traditional public schools.

While the research surrounding academic outcomes of school choice remains unclear, there is evidence that without equity-oriented safeguards – such as access to information, transportation, and equitable admissions criteria – the expansion of school choice, including charter schools, corresponds with increased segregation by race, class, language and ability. This segregation is largely due to parental choice.

Map Credit: Zach Szczepaniak

“School choice” generally refers to parental choice in school selection, either through magnet programs, attending charter schools, private schools, using government-paid vouchers to attend private schools, homeschooling or residential choice. Supporters of public school choice programs (such as charters and vouchers) say they can let parents escape an inadequate public school and that competition can push traditional public schools to improve.

Race and socio-economic status are key predictors for whether parents will exercise choice, with white, affluent families disproportionately more likely to use all forms of school choice. Low-income parents have less access to information about choices as well as financial resources, and are less likely to actively choose schools. During the school choice process, parents generally prioritize proximity and academic achievement. More affluent families typically have greater access to high quality schools close to home. Many parents also seek schools where their children will be part of the racial majority.

Data from communities across the United States indicate that as more parents choose schools, the number of segregated schools has increased. Most importantly, this unrestrained school choice leads to deepening of the existing inequalities of outcome and opportunity among groups of students.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hawn  Nelson, A. “As charters and choice expand, so does segregation.” UNC Charlotte. 1/5/17.

What Will a New Accountability System Look Like?

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has been working on a new framework for the state’s schools.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a piece of federal legislation passed in December 2015, gives schools funding and relative flexibility to determine how their systems are run — and held accountable.

North Carolina’s current accountability system, which grades each public school on an A-F scale, doesn’t match ESSA’s requirements.

Right now, a draft of the state’s ESSA plan is online but leaves considerable gaps and questions. The U.S. Department of Education released updated requirements on Nov. 28, which are largely looser than what the department originally laid out.

At the State Board of Education’s December meeting, proposed accountability models were provided online for elementary, middle, and high schools — but weren’t approved. These have been revised by DPI as staff have received feedback from educators across the state. The official accountability models and entire plan have to be submitted no later than September 18, 2017.

Below, you can see charts of the proposed accountability models. On the left, there are performance indicators. These should be designed to reflect student outcomes. There are four main indicators the state is considering so far: test scores, student growth from year to year, English Learners Progress — which is a new ESSA requirement — and graduation rates for high school.

On the right, you’ll find school quality or student success indicators. These should be designed to get at the other things that make schools great, or not so great. Things like school climate and culture, community involvement, and character development. The U.S. Department of Education, in its most recent regulations, said this indicator can be anything that research has shown has a positive impact on student learning.

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Let’s take a step back, and look at why a new system is even needed. Here’s what doesn’t match between the state’s A-F system and the new requirements. Below is a chart created by DPI to explain the differences between the two to the State Board.

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In all three cases — the systems for elementary, middle and high school — English Learners Progress and at least one indicator of school quality or student success is missing. The asterisks following the school quality or student success indicators indicate an explanation in the document of what the indicators are and that they must, according to ESSA, “meaningfully differentiate” between schools. The document also gives examples of possible school quality or student success indicators, like school climate and safety, student or educator engagement, access to advanced coursework, postsecondary readiness, chronic absenteeism, and dropout rates.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hot Issues, Hot Politics

Below is an article from EducationNC, published earlier this week, outlining likely education bills for the 2017-18 NCGA legislative session

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The General Assembly gears up for its long session todayIn the coming weeks and months, lawmakers in the House and Senate will put forth a slew of bills and hammer out a budget.

While it’s impossible to say exactly what those bills or that budget will look like, we have some ideas about what we are mostly likely to see come out of this session.

The Budget

The most important bill in any legislative session is almost always the budget: How much money is the General Assembly going to appropriate for K-12 education? Since this is a biennial budget, the legislature will be looking at funding for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years.

Here is how much the legislature has appropriated for K-12, the last five years:

For 2012-13, the revised appropriation was about $7.5 billion.

For 2013-14, it was about $7.8 billion

For 2014-15, it was about $8.1 billion.

For 2015-16, it was about $8.5 billion.

For 2016-17, it was about $8.7 billion.

You can find the numbers for yourself in the Joint Conference Committee Reports on the Continuation, Expansion and Capital Budgets on the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Budget Legislation Page.

Given the trend over the last few years, it is likely that the state’s spending on public education will exceed $8.7 billion this year. Add to that the fact that our new Governor Roy Cooper has publicly stated his commitment to increased funding for public education, and it’s a lock that we will see a bigger budget come out of the legislature.

Now, the question when it comes to the amount being spent on K-12 education is, and always will be: Is it enough?

This is a question that’s particularly important given the Leandro decision and the number of low-performing schools in North Carolina. Leandro held that in North Carolina students have a constitutional right to a “sound, basic education.” Go here to read more about it.

For 2015-16, there were a total of 489 low-performing schools and 10 low-performing districts. There were a total of 2,592 public schools — both traditional and charter — in 2015-16, so that means about 18.86 percent of the state’s public schools were low performing.

The state Department of Public Instruction has a division who’s job it is to help those schools and districts turn around. It’s called, appropriately enough, District and School Transformation (DST). And given its resources, the staff of DST has the capacity to help turnaround about 75 of those schools.

Lawmakers have tried other legislative means to address low-performing schools. In the short session, the General Assembly passed an Achievement School District (ASD) that will take five schools from among the state’s lowest performing and assemble them into a “district” run by an appointed superintendent. The schools will have flexibility ordinary public schools don’t and the superintendent can contract with outside entities such as charter management organizations to run the schools.

The ASD bill also included some other provisions, like Innovation Zones, that could give additional flexibility to a small number of traditional public schools, but the fact remains that the state does not have a plan to help hundreds of low-performing schools as things currently stand.

So, the big question for the General Assembly is, if DST is going to help turnaround schools, does it need more money? If not, what other programs/strategies is it going to use to address the large number of low-performing schools?

One last thing to consider about the budget is whether or not the funding formula the state uses could change.

A Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee met in the recess between sessions to talk about the possibility of forming a task force to look at changing the funding formula for education.

Check out EdNC’s earlier coverage to get a better understanding of what lawmakers are discussing and how it might work.

The committee approved draft legislation to create the task force. But that legislation would need to be introduced and passed, and currently it only creates a task force to study the possibility of changing funding formulas.

However, it would not be surprising to see lawmakers take up changes to the funding formula independent of the task force legislation this session.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bell, L. and Granados, A. “Hot issues, hot politics.” EducationNC. 1/11/17.

Which Credentials Predict the Performance of Early Grade Reading Teachers?

By Kevin Bastian and Kevin Fortner 

In this policy brief we assess the associations between teacher credentials and measures of performance— value-added estimates and evaluation ratings—for early grades reading teachers. This research is particularly valuable given the grade-level coverage of traditional testing regimes and North Carolina’s recent focus on early grades reading proficiency. We find that: (1) 1st and 2nd grade teachers with National Board Certification (NBC), higher licensure exam scores, and a reading license have significantly higher value-added estimates on the mCLASS Reading 3D exam; (2) more experienced teachers and teachers with graduate degrees have value- added estimates comparable to those of their peers; and (3) teacher experience, NBC, higher licensure exam scores, holding a reading license, and having a graduate degree all predict significantly higher evaluation ratings on the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System (NCEES). Overall, these results are an impetus for continued research to better understand the knowledge and skills underlying early grades teacher performance and to contribute to policy and staffing decisions.

To read the complete article, click here.

To view the complete policy brief, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bastian, K. and Fortner, K. “Which credentials predict the performance of early grades reading teachers?”  Education Policy Initiative at Carolina via EducationNC. 1/12/17.

National News

Senate Education Panel Delays Betsy DeVos’ Confirmation Hearing

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Photo Credit: Paul Sancya, Associated Press

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has rescheduled a confirmation hearing for President-elect Donald J. Trump’s pick to lead the Education Department, Betsy DeVos.

The hearing, which was originally slated for Wednesday morning, has been moved to Tuesday, January 17, at 5 p.m., according to a statement sent by the panel’s chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the top Democrat.

“At the request of the Senate leadership to accommodate the Senate schedule, we have agreed to move the nomination hearing of Betsy DeVos,” the pair wrote.

The move comes just days after Murray and other Democrats had requested that the committee delay DeVos’ hearing until after she is cleared by the Office of Government Ethics  (OGE). DeVos, a billionaire GOP donor and school choice advocate, is one of several Trump nominees who have not yet received a sign-off from the OGE.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Opportunities

Forum Beginning Teacher Leadership Network (BTLN) Request for Proposals

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The Public School Forum of NC is seeking current teachers who are interested in presenting to the Beginning Teacher Leadership Network (BTLN) in Wake, Mecklenburg, and Union counties during the Spring 2017 semester. If you are interested, please apply online here. Contact James Ford at jford@ncforum.org with questions.

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Student Science Enrichment Program

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has opened its application for the 2017 Student Science 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 scientific 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, 2017.

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

Applications Open for 2017-18 NC Teacher Voice Network

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Applications are open for the North Carolina Teacher Voice Network. Hope Street Group NC Teacher Voice Network Leaders collaborate with state and national decision-makers, as well as their colleagues, to develop practical policy solutions to challenges in education. Network Leaders remain in their classrooms full-time and work with Hope Street Group for 10-15 hours each month and receive a $3,000 stipend for the 12-month fellowship.

The application will be open January 16 through February 10 at apply.hopestreetgroup.org.  Email questions to Fellowship@hopestreetgroup.org.

World View Spring Seminars on Latin America and Africa

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Registration is open for World View spring seminars on Latin America and Africa scheduled for March 28-29 and March 29-30 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Immerse yourself in the dynamic forces shaping and connecting Latin America, Africa, North Carolina and the United States during two spring seminars designed specifically for K-12 and community educators. Renowned UNC and country experts, thought leaders and student panels will broaden your knowledge of Latin America and Africa and offer strategies you can apply right away in your classroom.

Latin America and North Carolina, March 28-29, 2017

North Carolina’s Latinx population has grown 136% since 2000, according to the most recent Pew Research Center survey. World View’s Latin America and North Carolina seminar will help educators address the unique opportunities this brings to N.C. classrooms. Delve into the history, politics, arts and culture of Latin America and learn about model programs for understanding and supporting Latinx students and families.

Stories of Africa: Connected Over Time and Over the Globe, March 29-30, 2017

Heeding novelist Chimamanda Adichie’s warning about the dangers of hearing only a single story about a person or country, World View’s 2017 Africa seminar will highlight the diversity of lived experiences within the continent of Africa and the interconnectedness of Africa with other nations, including the United States, and North Carolina. Our goal is that K-12 and community educators will be able to:

– Learn something new about the continent of Africa or challenge an existing belief.

– Articulate at least one example of how Africa is connected over time or across the globe.
– Identify a global issue that impacts Africa and is relevant to your educational community.

Register for both seminars at worldview.unc.edu

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.

©2017 Public School Forum of North Carolina. All Rights Reserved.

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