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The Friday Report

January 26, 2018

Forum News

Public School Forum Releases Top 10 Education Issues for 2018

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By Keith Poston

Forecasting what will be the top education issues in any given year is a tricky business. One year ago, we were drafting the Public School Forum’s 2017 Top Ten Education Issues and debating whether to include the K-3 class-size mandate. As we were going to press, the General Assembly was coming back for a special session and it seemed all but certain they would address this major issue. Surely they wouldn’t leave such a significant matter unresolved given the impact the law was already having. Boy did we miss on that one.

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By the close of 2017, the General Assembly’s mandate to require smaller classes in grades K-3 was the single largest policy issue affecting North Carolina schools, students and families. While no one disputed smaller classes in early grades could be a sensible way to improve academic outcomes, lawmakers failed to provide appropriate funds for districts to hire the additional classroom teachers they would need, forcing districts to face the prospect of eliminating thousands of art, music and PE teachers to comply with the law. They also provided no funding or time to build out the extra facilities needed to house these smaller classes.

So as the old adage goes, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” The K-3 class-size mandate tops our list of the Top Ten Education Issues for 2018.

Beyond the class-size mandate, we continue to call on education leaders to implement real accountability and transparency in all the new school choice efforts. 

Our state’s voucher program – Opportunity Scholarships – desperately needs real oversight, and in 2017, that became clearer than ever when the largest recipient of school vouchers became ensnared in an embezzlement scandal where, amazingly, the culprit continues to teach at that private Christian school in Fayetteville while completing a jail sentence on the weekends. Meanwhile, there seems to be little interest in the General Assembly to investigate, despite the fact that the school receives approximately two-thirds of its revenues from North Carolina taxpayers. We need to do better.

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Looking forward to 2018, we also note our system of school governance is faced with big questions about who is in charge of public education in North Carolina and how we should improve student outcomes along the educational continuum. We have an unusually large number of new commissions, bodies and court cases created to provide solutions to these fundamental education issues, and we ask that our education leaders tasked with steering the governance of our public schools to please do it well – and together.

On the horizon for 2018 are a number of positive developments. The launch of a new Teaching Fellows program will help address a years-long decline in teacher education enrollment by targeting hard-to-staff STEM subjects, special education and low-performing schools. We continue to see an uptick in teacher pay and are optimistic the General Assembly will continue to bring North Carolina along a path toward earnings that are commensurate with the incredibly difficult job of being an educator. Our principals did receive a much needed boost in pay this year after average salaries dropped to 50th nationally. Unfortunately, the new principal pay plan creates winners and losers with an estimated one in six principals actually seeing a pay cut next year unless the plan is changed or a hold-harmless provision is extended. With already high turnover in North Carolina for school administrators, we can ill afford to push some of our most experienced school leaders out the door.

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Finally, but perhaps most significantly, North Carolina is considering overhauling its school finance model. We believe this could be an opportunity for positive change as long as adequacy and equity are central tenets to address the chronic and growing divide between urban/rural, wealthy and poorer school systems and their related student achievement gaps. Where children are born should not determine the educational opportunities available to them. Done well, reforming how we fund our schools could be a positive game changer for North Carolina students. Done poorly, we should brace ourselves for the mother of all unintended consequences.

To download the Top Ten Issues 2018 publication, click here.

To read the press release, click here.

To view photos from Eggs & Issues 2018, click here.

To read more about the Top Ten Issues for 2018, see the following articles:

Public School Forum president previews Eggs & Issues 

Public School Forum unveils top 10 issues of 2018 

Public school supporters say NC school choice programs need more accountability

Class size crisis, school inequities highlight top 10 education issues for 2018 

Classroom size is top issue for education, NC public school group says 

Class sizes, school funding among NC education group’s top issues for 2018 

Editorial: N.C. Forum’s 10 points can make public schools better

Excerpt from: 

Poston, K. “Class size chaos, school funding top NC education issues for 2018.” The News & Observer. 1/24/18.

In This Issue

Public School Forum Releases Top 10 Education Issues for 2018

This Week on Education Matters: Top 10 Education Issues for 2018

Lawmakers Hope to Ease Class Size Law

NC Supreme Court to Hear State Board vs. Superintendent Lawsuit in February

Former State Superintendent and Former Judge Join UNC Institute of Politics

Should NC Encourage More People to Play the Loterry to Increase Money for Education?

Study: Need for School Nurses Growing in NC, Could Cost $79M a Year

Program Evaluation Division Gives Lawmakers Glimpse of Education Reports

School Choice Supporters Celebrate Gains in NC, But Press for More

Report Shows Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham School Suspension in Black and White

North Carolina is No. 1 in ‘Gold Standard’ for the Teaching Profession

Too Big to Fail? Why Large Cyber Charter Schools Rarely Get Shut Down

Teacher Voice: It’s Time to Shatter the Silence About Race

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.

This Week on Education Matters: Top 10 Education Issues for 2018

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The Public School Forum of NC unveiled its Top 10 Education Issues for 2018 this week. A panel of legislative, education and business leaders discuss before a live audience in Raleigh at the 2018 Eggs & Issues Breakfast.

Guests Include:

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

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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/

State News

Lawmakers Hope to Ease Class Size Law

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To comply with a new class size law this fall, Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools officials estimate they’ll need an additional $1 million to fund the hiring of 20 additional teachers for the elementary-school grads. 

Photo Credit: The Daily Advance.

Some area legislators are hoping to move forward legislation they say will provide relief to local school districts whose officials are worried about meeting mandated class-size limits this fall.

Senate Bill 703, which would ease the class size mandate until state officials come up with a plan to fund it, was referred to the Senate Rules Committee on Jan. 12.

State Sen. Erica Smith, D-Northampton, who represents a district that includes Chowan County and seven other counties in northeastern North Carolina, is a primary sponsor of the bill, along with Sen. Jay J. Chaudhuri, D-Wake, and Sen. Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe.

Smith said in an interview last week the referral of legislation to the Senate Rules Committee is sometimes designed to slow down its approval. That’s why she and other sponsors of SB 703 are pushing to get the bill moving in the Senate, she said.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

To read more on the class size issue, see the following articles:

Rabon: Not so fast on that March class size session

With time running out, schools plan for K-3 class cuts

Excerpt from:

Ponder, R. “‘Lawmakers hope to ease class size law.” The Daily Advance. 1/22/18.

NC Supreme Court to Hear State Board vs. Superintendent Lawsuit in February

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Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey.

Photo Credit: WRAL.

The North Carolina Supreme Court will hear two State Board of Education lawsuits on Feb. 7, including the board’s high-profile battle with State Superintendent Mark Johnson over control of the state’s public school system.

That case has wound its way through the court system since December 2016, when Republican lawmakers took some of the board’s powers and transferred them to Johnson, including the authority to manage the state’s $10 billion education budget.

The board quickly filed suit, and Johnson has been blocked from assuming that power. In November, the state Supreme Court granted the board’s motion for a temporary stay, preventing the superintendent from taking control. State board attorney Bob Orr told WRAL News on Thursday that the board looks forward to the Supreme Court hearing the case.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “NC Supreme Court to hear state board vs. superintendent lawsuit in February.” WRAL. 1/25/18.

Former State Superintendent and Former Judge Join UNC Institute of Politics

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June Atkinson, former state superintendent of North Carolina schools, is seen here in June 2015. Photo Credit: Chris Seward, The News & Observer.

June Atkinson, former superintendent of public instruction, and Bob Orr, former state Supreme Court justice, will join the UNC Institute of Politics as visiting fellows this spring.

The two will lead student seminars and work with students during weekly office hours. Atkinson will lead a series focused on the future of public education, while Orr will focus on the importance of ethical and moral behavior in the context of politics and public service.

The Institute of Politics was launched last year at UNC as a student-run program meant to engage undergraduates and encourage them to pursue careers in public service. The group is nonpartisan and seeks to bring in speakers from across the political spectrum.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Stancill, J. “Former state superintendent and former judge join UNC Institute of Politics.” The News & Observer. 1/25/18.

Should NC Encourage More People to Play the Lottery to Increase Money for Education?

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C-Mart employee Monique Benjamin sells scratch-off lottery tickets to a customer on Aug. 18, 2015 on Poole Road in Raleigh, N.C. Photo Credit: Robert Willett, The News & Observer.

North Carolina could get more money for education if the state expands where people can play the lottery and makes the games more enticing to younger players, a new report says.

The NC Education Lottery generated $634 million for education in 2016. A legislative staff report outlining multiple options to increase lottery proceeds presents a challenge to state lawmakers: How do you balance the need to provide money for public education with concerns about the impact of gambling?

Three other reports were released Monday about the $79 million annual cost of adding school nurses statewide, ending the ability of school districts to sue county commissioners for more money and changing the fares and schedules for state ferries.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “Should NC encourage more people to play the lottery to increase money for education?” The News &  Observer. 1/22/18.

Study: Need for School Nurses Growing in NC, Could Cost $79M a Year

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Photo Credit: WRAL.

The need for nurses in North Carolina public schools is growing, but the state would need to dedicate up to $79 million a year to meet the recommended school nurse-to-student ratio, according to a new study released Monday by the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division.

Fewer than half of North Carolina’s school districts (46 of 115) meet the ratio of one school nurse for every 750 students, as recommended by the National Association of School Nurses and State Board of Education.

North Carolina has, on average, one school nurse for every 1,086 public school students. The ratios range from as low as 319 students to as high as 2,242 students. The average nurse covers two to three schools, but some cover as many as six. Five school systems in the state have one nurse dedicated to every school (Edenton/Chowan, Kannapolis City, Pamlico County, Roanoke Rapids City and Thomasville City), according to the study.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “Study: Need for school nurses growing in NC, could cost $79M a year.” WRAL. 1/22/18.

Program Evaluation Division Gives Lawmakers Glimpse of Education Reports

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Photo Credit: Element5 Digital, Unsplash.

The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee heard presentations on four education-related projects from the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division yesterday. Lawmakers got a glimpse of reports on education lottery proceeds, the local education funding dispute resolution process, the $79 million cost to meet current standards for school nurses, and a public school construction needs survey and recommendations for construction funding options for certain school districts.

Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, co-chair of the committee, told members all of the topics are highly controversial. The committee will tackle the topics in depth in coming months and decide whether to draft legislation based on the findings.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Granados, A. “Program Evaluation Division gives lawmakers glimpse of education reports.” EducationNC. 1/23/18.

School Choice Supporters Celebrate Gains in NC, But Press for More

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State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, center, sits with the students as he watches one of the presentations at a school choice rally held at the N.C. Museum of History on Jan. 23, 2018. Hundreds attended the rally where Johnson was one of the featured speakers. Photo Credit: Chris Seward, The News & Observer.

The school choice movement is on the rise in North Carolina, where advocates hosted a celebration Tuesday to mark their gains and to press for more opportunities for families to attend options other than traditional public schools.

Education policy changes made this decade by state lawmakers have helped create a trend in which enrollment in traditional public schools has declined while more students are enrolling in charter schools, private schools and homeschools. While supporters of traditional public schools decry the changes, school choice supporters argued Tuesday that North Carolina is now doing a better job of meeting the needs of individual students.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “School-choice supporters celebrate gains in NC, but press for more.” The News & Observer. 1/23/18.

Report Shows Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham School Suspension in Black and White

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Durham Public Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are both struggling to reduce suspensions among black students. Photo Credit: Durham Public Schools.

Black students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools during the 2015-16 school year were 10 times more likely than white students to get a short-term suspension, according to a report released this month.

While black students were only 11 percent of the district’s enrollment, they received 51.3 percent of the short-term suspensions, compared to 23.6 percent for white students who made up 51.5 percent of the enrollment.

Hispanic students were 15.7 percent of CHCCS’ enrollment and received 13.7 percent of short-term suspensions, according to the racial equity report card released by the Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Childress, G. “Report shows Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham school suspensions in black and white.” The Herald Sun. 1/23/18.

North Carolina is No. 1 in ‘Gold Standard’ for the Teaching Profession

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National Board-certified fourth grade teacher Brian Pattison works on a math problem for his students at the Lake Myra Elementary School in Wendell, N.C. North Carolina and the Wake County school system both lead the nation with the most teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, according to new results released Monday. Photo Credit: The News & Observer file photo.

North Carolina and the Wake County school system continue to both lead the nation with the most teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, according to new results released Monday.

The state now has nearly 21,500 National Board-certified teachers, accounting for 18 percent of the country’s total. Statewide, 21.6 percent of public school teachers have this certification, which is considered the “gold standard” in the teaching profession.

Wake County is the top district in the nation, with 2,631 National Board-certified teachers. Wake has led the nation for 12 consecutive years.

To continue reading the complete article, click here

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “North Carolina is No. 1 in ‘gold standard’ for the teaching profession.” The News & Observer. 1/8/18.

National News

Too Big to Fail? Why Large Cyber Charter Schools Rarely Get Shut Down

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Image Credit: Education Week.

Oversight officials in Ohio have pulled the plug on one of the largest full-time online charter schools in the nation. The recent move sent nearly 12,000 students scrambling for a new school mid-year.

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow is looking for ways to reopen as it continues to fight with the state over how it tallies students and, ultimately, how much public money it should get. As Ohio’s department of education has begun collecting on the $80 million it says ECOT owes it for inflating student enrollment numbers, the online charter ran out of money, leading the school’s sponsor to shutter the school late last week.

This is the fifth time in as many months that state oversight officials have taken some kind of disciplinary action against virtual schools—which some research has shown perform markedly worse academically than traditional district schools. Education Week’s reporting and that of other education journalists has shown that the schools are rarely shut down. Many virtual charter schools are run to varying degrees by for-profit companies, the biggest of which are K12 Inc. and Connections Education (although neither contracts with ECOT).

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Prothero, A. “Too Big to Fail? Why Large Cyber Charter Schools Rarely Get Shut Down.” Education Week. 1/24/18.

Teacher Voice: It’s Time to Shatter the Silence About Race

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A student heads to class. Photo Credit: Cheryl Gerber.

Recent events have resulted in an awakening for many educators that they simply must do more to combat racism — and it is critical that this work happens in predominantly white spaces. If we continue to normalize discussions of racism and bias, and lean into, rather than away from, our discomfort, the silence will eventually become uncomfortable. Practices that dismantle institutional racism will become the rule rather than the exception.

From the spate of mosque fires to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, 2017 was marked by a string of violent events across the United States that put a spotlight on issues of race and racism.

Whether or not they’re invited, these issues enter our schools and our classrooms —and teachers have a responsibility to address them.

.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Cherry-Paul, S. “Teacher Voice: It’s time to shatter the silence about race.” The Hechinger Report. 1/22/18.

Opportunities

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.

NCSSM Seeking a Director of Step Up to STEM

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The North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) is seeking a visionary with a strong commitment to the power of educational opportunities to be the Director of our evolving program for underrepresented students in STEM at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). To learn more about the Step Up to STEM program, click here.

Specific Expectations:

  1. Attend four meetings between now and June with a small committee to learn about the school and our infrastructure and strategic goals and to plan the one-week residential program for 50 students for the Summer of 2018.
  2. Use experience and networking to meet strategic goals and provide a quality experience for participants.
  3. Shape our proposal for future programming for grant applications that we will write and submit in the Spring and Summer of 2018 to implement in 2019.
  4. Be present for a welcome session on one Sunday in July and attend various sessions that week as the Director, including a closing ceremony. Exact dates TBD.

You will have full administrative support. We will advertise, recruit, hire, train, implement programming, monitor through surveys and observation, administer funding and budgets, and supervise.

Minimum Qualifications:

Master’s degree in related field or equivalent combination of education and experience. Experience working with youth populations that identify as African American, Hispanic American, and Native American.

We will provide a $3,000 honorarium for this appointment to be paid in two equal parts in May and September. To apply,  please send a cover letter, resume / CV and references to jen.hill@ncssm.eduAccepting applications through February 1st. 

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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