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The Friday Report

January 20, 2017

 

Forum News

Public School Forum to Release

Top 10 Education Issues for 2017

The Public School Forum of North Carolina will release its Top Ten Education Issues for 2017 next Wednesday at its sold out 3rd Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh.

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

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Eggs & Issues is the Public School Forum’s special breakfast event held at the start of the legislative session each year to 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.

Presenting Sponsor

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Education Pacesetter Sponsor

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Supporting Sponsor

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This Weekend on Education Matters: Digital Learning

This week’s episode of Education Matters focuses on digital learning. Education is being transformed as schools move quickly to take advantage of improved internet connectivity and new digital tools to enhance learning. We’ll talk about the state of digital learning in North Carolina from those helping lead it and those implementing it in classrooms today.

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Guests Include:

  • Dr. Jeni Corn, Director of Evaluation Programs, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State
  • Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin, Chief Academic & Digital Learning Officer, NC Department of Public Instruction
  • Andrew Livengood, Principal, Pine Hollow Middle School, Wake County
  • Harden Barker, 7th Grade Math Teacher, Pine Hollow Middle School, Wake County

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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.

In This Issue

Public School Forum to Release Top 10 Education Issues for 2017

This Weekend on Education Matters: Digital Learning

Arts, PE Classes May be Axed to Meet General Assembly’s New Class Size Law

State Board Has Increased Power over Low-Performing Charter Schools

UNC OKs Major Plan to Improve Higher Education in North Carolina

As Charter and Home Schools Rise, Wake Schools Lower Growth Projection

Asheville-Buncombe Teacher Apartments Ahead of Schedule

Democrats Press Betsy DeVos on Privatization, ESSA, and LGBT Rights 

Forum Beginning Teacher Leadership Network (BTLN) Request for Proposals

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Student Science Enrichment Program

Applications Open for 2017-18 NC Teacher Voice Network

Upcoming NCCAT Professional Development Opportunities

World View Spring Seminars on Latin America and Africa

Public School Forum Programs

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Forum in the News

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Forum President and Executive Director Keith Poston was on TWC News Capital Tonight Wednesday talking about the confirmation hearing for Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Education Betsy DeVos.

Watch the episode here.

State News

Arts, PE Classes May be Axed to Meet General Assembly’s New Class Size Law

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Third graders play during gym class at Mills Park Elementary in Cary

Photo Credit: Chris Steward, News & Observer

School systems around North Carolina are warning they may have to cut arts and physical education programs in elementary schools this fall if state lawmakers don’t back off on new limits that would make class sizes smaller.

State legislators reduced how large class sizes can be starting this fall in kindergarten through third grade. But school leaders say finding the money and teachers to staff the smaller classes will force them to consider options such as cutting the arts, raising class sizes in other grades and asking counties to pick up the tab.

The state mandate could require an additional $27 million in local money to keep the special programs in Wake County, according to Wake school board member Bill Fletcher.

“Right now we’re trying to figure out how we can continue to provide great arts services for our elementary schools,” Fletcher said. “We’re working to undo this change because we believe most of the legislators who supported this didn’t understand the unintentional consequences of what they thought was a good decision.”

The changes are also fueling fears among some teachers that they may be laid off. “Our teachers are scared to death about their jobs and their livelihood,” said James Daugherty, president of the N.C. Music Educators Association. “It’s unnerving.”

Even some lawmakers admit that they didn’t realize the problems that could occur when the class-size changes were inserted into the state budget last year by Senate leaders. Rep. Craig Horn, a Union County Republican and House education leader, said lawmakers were more focused on issues such as teacher pay raises, so the impact of the class size changes didn’t get as much review.

“It was not as fully thought through with regard to unintended consequences,” Horn said. “So now we’ve got a chance to straighten it out and still have lower class sizes.”

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To continue reading the complete article, click here.

New Policy Increases State Board Power over Low-Performing Charter Schools

A new policy, discussed by the Charter School Advisory Board last week, gives the State Board of Education authority to revoke charters from low-performing schools sooner than before.

Under the old policy, the State Board couldn’t revoke a charter until after five years of the school “inadequately performing” — which meant the school did not meet or exceed growth and had below 60 percent proficiency.

Now the Board can “terminate, not renew, or seek applicants to assume the charter,” if the school is classified as “continually low-performing,” which means the school has been designated low performing by the State Board for two of the last three years.

The State Board’s definition of low performing is this: the school has received a D or F and has not exceeded expected growth.

The updated policy adds that the State Board can’t revoke the charter if the school has met growth in each of the three years prior to being continually low performing or if the school has implemented a strategic improvement plan approved by the Board “and is making measurable progress toward student performance goals.”

Charter School Advisory Board chair Alex Quigley said he supports more accountability for all low-performing schools.

“I think the bottom line is we want to preserve, to the extent we can, maximum flexibility for this board and the State Board of Education to hold consistently low-performing schools accountable,” Quigley said.

“We’ll see how it shakes out at the State Board level, but I think it’s imperative that we address the issues of persistent low-performance in the charter sector aggressively and assertively and encourage the State Board to do the same. But I would encourage that for traditional schools too.”

The change in the low-performing definition and timeline comes in the midst of an ongoing conversation on school choice and accountability. Since charter schools are considered public schools and funded with taxpayer dollars, there’s an expectation that there should be high standards for how that money is spent — while still allowing flexibility to creatively serve students’ needs.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bell, L. “State Board’s power over charters amps up.” EducationNC. 1/17/17.

UNC OKs Major Plan to Improve Higher Education in North Carolina

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North Carolina’s public university system has a new strategy for the Margaret Spellings’ era, with goals that include enrolling more low-income and rural students, improving graduation rates and keeping an eye on affordability.

In a unanimous vote Friday, the UNC Board of Governors adopted a new strategic plan. The seven-page document has 11 main goals that will be the blueprint for Spellings, who took over as UNC president in March, and the 17 public campuses across the state.

Spellings called the plan a focused, disciplined road map, “not a dense, prescriptive list of absolutely everything we care about.”

“We all agree that this university can do more to improve the quality of life and broaden opportunity for all North Carolinians,” she said. “We can’t be all things to all people everywhere, but we can tackle our core mission with urgency and excellence, and this plan does that, in my mind.”

Within the next five years, the university has set out these targets:

  • Increase enrollment of low-income students by 13 percent, and grow low-income graduates by 32 percent.

  • Increase enrollment of rural students by 11 percent, and grow graduates from rural counties by 20 percent.
  • Increase the number of students who graduate within five years by 5 percentage points, to 70 percent, and narrow the achievement gap.
  • Survey students and alumni about their college experience and post-college jobs.
  • Increase graduates in certain high-need fields by 25 percent – health sciences, K-12 teachers and science, technology, engineering and math graduates.
  • Grow revenue from research grants and licensing by $275 million.
  • Each campus must create a plan to help a distressed North Carolina county.
  • Limit tuition rate increases for in-state students to no more than the increase in median family income in North Carolina, based on a three-year average. In recent years that has been about 2 percent.

Despite the affordability provision, the plan leaves the door open for larger increases at campuses that “can demonstrate that the financial investment made by students, families and taxpayers is of excellent value.” That could lead to a more market-based tuition approach for the flagship campuses of N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill.

As Charter and Home Schools Rise, Wake Schools Lower Growth Projection

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The popularity of charter schools and home schools is causing Wake County planners to again lower the projected number of new students expected to enroll in the school system.

Planners are citing the growth in other forms of schooling in updated enrollment projections released this week. The projection shows the Wake school system gaining 25,781 students by 2025. Although the growth will mean more new schools are needed, the projection is 4,089 fewer students than what was forecast for the district a year ago.

This is the second year in a row Wake has lowered its long-term projection.

The figures come as school and county leaders review plans on how to keep up with growth in North Carolina’s largest school system. Sig Hutchinson, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, said he’d match Wake’s school system with any other district in the nation.

“What it means to us is we’ve got a great public school system and we’re more than happy to compete with charter and private schools,” Hutchinson said Thursday.

The state legislature’s support for expanding the number of charter schools and providing taxpayer money to help low-income families attend private schools has drawn complaints from some groups. Charter schools are taxpayer-funded schools that are exempt from some of the rules and regulations that traditional public schools must follow.

To read the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, T. “As charter and home schools rise, Wake schools lower growth projection.” News & Observer. 1/12/17.

Asheville-Buncombe Teacher Apartments Ahead of Schedule

Workers are ahead of schedule on a new 24-unit apartment project aimed at providing a more affordable housing option for Asheville and Buncombe teachers.

The apartments on Erwin Hills Road could be completed by mid-May barring any unforeseen issues, according to Bill Murdock, executive director of Eblen Charities. Eblen partnered with Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools, Buncombe County and the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation. The foundation provided a no-interest loan for the $2.7 million project.

The idea is to provide another option for teachers, especially new teachers, dealing with Asheville’s tight housing market. The State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation has financed similar projects in Eastern North Carolina. Eighteen of the units will be available to Buncombe County teachers and six will be available for Asheville City teachers.

National News

Democrats Press Betsy DeVos on Privatization, ESSA, and LGBT Rights 

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Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education, sought to use her confirmation hearing to beat back the notion that she would undermine public education as head of the department, as Democrats pressed her on everything from her views on the civil rights of gay and lesbian students, to states’ responsibilities for students in special education, and guns in schools.

“If confirmed, I will be a strong advocate for great public schools,” DeVos said. “But, if a school is troubled, or unsafe, or not a good fit for a child—perhaps they have a special need that is going unmet—we should support a parent’s right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative.” She also noted that her mother, Elsa Prince, was a public school teacher.

But those assurances didn’t seem to quell the anxieties of Democrats on the committee, including Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the ranking member. “I have major concerns with how you have spent your career and fortune fighting to privatize public education and gut investments in public schools,” she said.

In the early stages of a tense hearing that lasted three and a half hours, Murray asked DeVos if she would be willing to commit not to “cut a penny from public education” or use her perch at the department to privatize public schools. DeVos said she would seek to give parents and children the best educational options possible, which Murray essentially took as a no.

DeVos didn’t delve into the specifics on many of the big questions on the table, like whether she would rein in the department’s office of civil rights, or how she would handle key details of the federal student lending program. And at times she seemed unclear on key policy details, including during a pair of exchanges with Democratic senators on whether federal special education laws should apply to all schools.

She did make it clear that she would not force states to adopt voucher programs—either through federal regulations or legislation. Instead, she said, states should get to decide whether they want to embrace private school choice.

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.

Upcoming NCCAT Professional Development Opportunities

North Carolina educators have plenty of opportunities throughout the summer to attend the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT), a recognized national leader in professional development programming for teachers. Applicants are encouraged to register as soon as possible to ensure a spot. Programs are available to North Carolina educators at the Cullowhee and Ocracoke campuses, online and with NCCAT faculty visiting school districts. NCCAT provides food, lodging and programming. Teachers and or their districts are responsible for travel to and from the center and the cost of the substitute teacher. For more information visit www.nccat.org.

Some upcoming programs:
14339 • MIDDLE GRADES ELA: TEACHING BEYOND THE EOG-CULLOWHEE
February 13-16
Designed for ELA teachers of grades 6–8 and those who coach them.
Middle grades ELA inhabits a type of educational limbo. Intellectually, students are capable of taking on complex reading and writing tasks but many are still developing the necessary maturity to do so. This program will examine the knowledge and skills necessary to transition successfully from elementary to high school. Teachers will engage in and then craft their own language arts activities that engage both the child and the budding adult in each of their students. Activities will address reading, writing, thinking, speaking and listening skills.

14359 • TECHNOLOGY TOOLS TO ENHANCE STEM-CULLOWHEE
March 27- 30
The study of STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—stimulates children to think critically and problem solve. STEM skills are crucial to building workforce readiness. Purposeful integration of tools found in the workplace can make STEM learning more authentic and relevant. Explore various types of technology and tools that can be incorporated into these existing lessons to make them even better. Maximize classroom time by integrating technologies that can make data collection and analysis easier. Experience lessons that give students a desire to ask questions and engineer solutions. Various technologies will be explored including Vernier sensors, coding software, design software, Cubelets, Spheros, web 2.0 resources, Makey Makeys, and more. Join us as we make messes, break things, fix things, and create minds-on STEM learning environments.

14387 • USING ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY TOOLS AND DIGITAL RESOURCES TO IMPROVE THE LITERACY SKILLS OF EXCEPTIONAL STUDENTS-OCRACOKE
April 18-21
Meeting the needs of exceptional children can be a challenge for teachers who have these students in regular classroom settings. It can also be a challenge for EC teachers who have experience, but who must teach in multi-grade and multi-categorical self-contained classrooms. NCDPI mandates that public schools identify and serve students with disabilities, and that these students demonstrate progress on regular or extended content standards. Join teachers of EC students and experts in the field of special education as we investigate technology tools and digital resources and other strategies to provide enhanced literacy instruction integrated across the curriculum. Create lessons that differentiate for all learners. Explore the policies and best practices of EC expectations, create ways to challenge EC children, enhance literacy, and encourage continual intellectual and developmental growth.

14389 • READING FOR MEANING: THE ROLE OF QUESTIONING-OCRACOKE
April 24-27
Designed for teachers of grades K–5.
Good readers ask questions before, during, and after reading to make sense of text. Questions provide the opportunity to interact with the text and figure out the deeper meaning of what is being read. How do teachers model good questioning strategies? How do teachers pose questions that foster critical thinking? What types of questions help readers understand confusing parts of a book? Learn how to use questioning strategies to enhance reading comprehension for all students.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Public School Forum of North Carolina

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