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The Friday Report

January 27, 2017

Forum News

Public School Forum Releases

Top 10 Education Issues for 2017

Gov. Roy Cooper Talks Education Priorities for Forum TV Show

The Public School Forum of North Carolina released its Top 10 Education Issues for 2017 on Wednesday, January 25th at its Third Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast to more than 225 business, education and government leaders. The event kicked off with Keith Poston, Forum President and Executive Director, and James E. Ford, Forum Program Director, providing an overview of the Top 10 Education Issues for 2017.
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The Top 10 Education Issues for 2017 is a combination of the issues the Forum believes will be the top issues this year, as well as the issues the Forum believes should be the top issues in 2017. The publication includes balanced, thoroughly researched background information on each issue, followed by a series of guiding principles we hope will guide the state’s discussion on each topic.
“Our Top 10 revisits some familiar themes from previous years including teacher pay and per pupil spending, two areas where our state ranks near the bottom nationally,” Poston said. “New issues for 2017 include changes in education leadership brought on in part by the 2016 election, as well as a larger focus on principal pay and preparation.”
In addition to overall investment in public education, the Public School Forum spotlights the importance of investing in early childhood education and improving access, equity, and accountability in school choice. The other issues in this year’s Top 10 deal with major structural and systemic issues that shape the context within which students are educated: racial equity, digital learning, assessments, and support for the state’s struggling schools.
After the Top 10 presentation, Governor Roy Cooper sat down with Forum President & Executive Director Keith Poston at the event for a special episode of Education Matters, the Forum’s weekly television show. The Governor’s interview will air this weekend on WRAL-TV and UNC-TV’s NC Channel.
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Governor Cooper discussed a range of topics, including teacher pay, school choice, and early childhood education. The Governor talked about his education priorities in the upcoming legislative session, noting “there are a lot of Republicans who support public education in the General Assembly.” Cooper also said he hopes to encourage the business community to support educator pay increases over corporate tax cuts. The full interview will be on this weekend’s episode of Education Matters.
Public School Forum’s Top 10 Education Issues for 2017
  1. Exercise Strong Education Leadership for North Carolina’s Children
  2. Fund North Carolina’s Public Schools Fairly and Adequately
  3. Make Teaching in North Carolina Great Again
  4. Improve Access, Equity, and Accountability in School Choice
  5. Overhaul Principal Pay and Invest in Preparing the Next Generation of School Leaders
  6. Maintain a Strong Focus on Race in Public Education
  7. Improve Grade-Level Reading through Comprehensive Investments in Early Childhood 
  8. Enable the Transition to Personalized, Digital-Age Learning Models
  9. Create Meaningful and Streamlined Assessment
  10. Increase Support for the State’s Struggling Schools
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To download a PDF of the Forum’s Top 10 Education Issues for 2017, click here.
To view photos from the Eggs & Issues Breakfast, click here.
To read additional media coverage from Eggs & Issues, visit the links below:

Eggs & Issues Presenting Sponsor

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Education Pacesetter Sponsor                  Supporting Sponsor

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This Weekend on Education Matters: Talking Education with Gov. Roy Cooper

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This week’s episode of Education Matters features a one-on-one discussion about key education issues facing North Carolina with Governor Roy Cooper. The interview was taped before a live audience at the 3rd Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast. Governor Cooper talks teacher pay, school funding, private school vouchers and much more.

When and Where to Watch Education Matters

Saturdays at 7:30 PM, WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

Sundays at 9:00 AM, UNC-TV’s NC Channel (Statewide)

Online at https://www.ncforum.org/

Note: The North Carolina Channel can be found on Time Warner Cable Channel 1276 or check local listing and other providers here.

In This Issue

Public School Forum Releases Top 10 Education Issues for 2017

Gov. Roy Cooper Talks Education Priorities for Forum TV Show

This Weekend on Education Matters: Talking Education with Governor Roy Cooper

Legislators Look to Raise Class Size Cap to Avoid Cuts to PE, Arts Classes

Court Battle Over NC Education Powers to Take Place in June

Short of Expectations, Virtual Charter Schools Promise to Improve

Asheville City Schools Start Racial Equity Teams

State and Halifax County Celebrate Public School Improvement

Regional NC Teachers of the Year Named

Democrats Request Another Hearing for DeVos Before Confirmation Vote

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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State News

Legislators Look to Raise Class Size Cap to Avoid Cuts to PE, Arts Classes

One of the first bills filed in the N.C. House Wednesday addresses a class size reduction that school districts said could force them to cut arts and physical education classes.

State legislators had reduced maximum class sizes starting this fall in kindergarten through third grade. Under the current law, maximum individual K-3 class sizes will drop from 24 students to between 19 and 21 students, depending on grade level, and the maximum average class sizes for school districts would be even lower. The mandate didn’t come with extra state funding to hire more teachers, so Wake County school officials said it could cost $27 million in local money to avoid laying off arts and PE teachers.

Rep. Craig Horn, a Union County Republican who leads House education committees, had admitted that the reduced class size mandate that was included as part of last year’s state budget was “not as fully thought through with regard to unintended consequences.”

Legislative leaders are now looking to tweak the mandate and allow larger class sizes.

House Bill 13, sponsored by Republican Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville, would cap individual K-3 class sizes at 22 to 24 students, depending on grade level. Maximum average class sizes would range from 19 to 21 students.

Leanne Winner of the N.C. School Boards Association says her organization supports McGrady’s bill. “It’s trying to create a middle ground,” she said. “It is not a 100 percent solution for all districts. There may still need to be some adjustments at the local level.”

Winner said the adjustment needs to be made quickly. “If we don’t get this resolved by early March, (school boards) are going to be starting their budget process with their county commissions,” she said.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Court Battle Over NC Education Powers to Take Place in June

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State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson plans to take part in a court battle over a new law that transfers power from the State Board of Education to him.

The state board filed suit last month to block the the measure, House Bill 17, which was adopted in a special legislative session in December, and a Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the new law from taking effect Jan. 1.

That restraining order will remain in effect until a three-judge panel makes its decision on the legality of the law. The judges plan to hear the case on June 29.

Johnson was in court Friday as the judges decided when to hold the next hearing in the case. An attorney representing him told the judges that they will make a formal notice that Johnson wants to be heard as part of the lawsuit.

“The voters of North Carolina entrusted me with the tremendous responsibility to bring the changes we need for our teachers and our children,” Johnson told WRAL News after the hearing. “The constitution of North Carolina grants the duly elected superintendent of North Carolina with the authority to bring those changes.”

Andrew Erteschik, an attorney representing the State Board of Education, said the board doesn’t object to Johnson being part of the lawsuit. “We are consenting to that,” he said. “The law will remain blocked until the court makes a decision after the June 29th hearing.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “Court battle over NC education powers to take place in June.” WRAL. 1/22/17.

Short of Expectations, Virtual Charter Schools Promise to Improve

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Tammy Thompson monitors her daughters while they do their school work through North Carolina Virtual Academy.

Photo Credit: Jess Clark, WUNC.

It looks a lot like Saturday morning at the Thompson household in Johnston County. Three young girls are in comfy sweats at the breakfast table or kitchen island, each slouched in front of a glowing laptop. But this is 11 a.m. on a Monday. And while the Thompson girls aren’t in a classroom, they are in school.

“This is a less stressful situation,” the girls’ mother, Tammy Thompson said. “You can see how laid back they are right now. They’re not being rushed to hurry up and finish this.”

Last school year, Thompson enrolled her three kids in North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA)—one of the state’s two virtual charter schools. Both have local nonprofit boards, but are managed by for-profit companies and receive public dollars to run. NCVA is managed by K12, and North Carolina Connections Academy is managed by Pearson.

When state lawmakers decided to allow two for-profit companies to open the state’s first virtual charter schools, it was a controversial move. Many reports revealed the companies’ schools in other states were plagued by poor student outcomes and lawsuits. Online charter advocates promised things would go differently in North Carolina. But the schools’ first year of testing reveals the two virtual charter schools have the lowest growth scores of any school in the state.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Excerpt from:

Asheville City Schools Start Racial Equity Teams

Asheville City school officials are forming teams at each school to examine equity within their schools.

The teams will include the principal, two teachers, two support staff, a counselor or social worker and two parents. The middle and high school teams will also include students, according to Charlie Glazener, a spokesman for the district.

In March, team members will be part of a three-day institute. The teams will be doing equity audits of the schools. Team members will be looking at performance data, demographics, the make-up of classrooms and classroom supports to make sure the schools are teaching in the most effective ways and to make sure “how we’re teaching is equitable for all,” Glazener said

.

“We haven’t been able to make a dent in that achievement gap. So we really have to look at what we do in a classroom day after day after day and there need to be changes,” Glazener said following a recent school board retreat.

From March 1-3, the district will host an “Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity” institute led by Elise Frattura from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Colleen Capper from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “They (the professors) are the center in our country for equity work,” Glazener said.

Numbers from Asheville City Schools show a gap between black students and white students that “permeates all subjects, grades and schools.”

State and Halifax County Celebrate Public School Improvement

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Lost in the swirl of special sessions of the General Assembly, buried beneath the weight of President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets, overlooked in a society bombarded by 24-hours news, was a gathering in Halifax County that celebrated success — something that has, in the past, seemed elusive.

Early in December, representatives from the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction joined with members of the Halifax County Public Schools Board of Education to celebrate improved results in the public school system.

In the most recent round of School Performance Grades, Halifax moved off the list of low-performing districts. A low performing district is one where more than half of the schools in the district qualify as low performing.

Currently, four out of the district’s 10 schools qualify as low performing. In 2014-15, six of its schools qualified as low performing.

For many years, Halifax was dead last in the state for performance, but it moved up to 113 out of 115 districts in 2015, and it has moved up one more spot to 112 this year.

Halifax had even more good news after the most recent election. A measure on the ballot for voters in the district passed that will give Halifax County Public Schools a supplemental schools tax that School Board Chair Claude Cooper said could potentially bring in as much as $2 million extra dollars.

He said that money could help with a variety of issues that come up all the time — like the need for an extra teacher assistant, teacher, activity bus, or any number of other situations.

“We’ve never had funds to do that,” he said. “Those simple things are the things that would really enhance what we need,” he said.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Granados, A. “State and Halifax County celebrate public school improvement.” EducationNC. 1/23/17.

NC Highlight

Regional NC Teachers of the Year Named

Nine teachers from across North Carolina have been selected as the state’s regional Teachers of the Year for their dedication, innovation and ability to inspire students to achieve and will now compete for the title of 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year. The winner succeeds the 2016 Teacher of the Year, Bobbie Cavnar, a high school English and journalism teacher at South Point High in Gaston County.

The 2017 North Carolina Regional Teachers of the Year are:

  • Northeast: Amy Parker, Hertford Grammar (Perquimans County Schools);
  • Southeast: Lisa Godwin, Dixon Elementary (Onslow County Schools);
  • North Central: Miles MacLeod, Heritage High (Wake County Schools);
  • Sandhills: Juandalynn Ray, Sampson Middle (Clinton City Schools);
  • Piedmont-Triad: Adam Reeder, Asheboro High (Asheboro City Schools);
  • Southwest: Anthony Johnson, Jr., Isenberg Elementary (Rowan-Salisbury Schools);
  • Northwest: Carrie Franklin, Glenwood Elementary (McDowell County Schools);
  • Western: Leslie Schoof, Madison Early College High (Madison County Schools); and
  • Charter Schools: Deborah Brown, Research Triangle High (Research Triangle Park).

The 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year will be announced April 6 at an awards ceremony in Cary. North Carolina has recognized outstanding teachers through its Teacher of the Year program since 1970.

Reprinted from:
NCDPI. “Regional NC Teachers of the Year Named.” 1/25/17.

National News

Democrats Request Another Hearing for DeVos Before Confirmation Vote

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President Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, appeared last week before a Senate committee for her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill. Photo Credit: Melina Mara, The Washington Post.

Senate Democrats are formally asking Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to have a second confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s education nominee, arguing that they need an opportunity to further scrutinize her potential conflicts of interests and preparedness to lead the Education Department.

“Education is too important an issue, and the Secretary of Education is too important a position for the country and for this Committee, to jam a nominee through without sufficient questioning and scrutiny,” they wrote to Alexander in a letter Monday. “This is not about politics, it should not be about partisanship — it should be about doing the work we were elected by our states to do to ask questions of nominees on behalf of the people we represent.”

Those signing the letter included 10 Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats. They are all members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), which is overseeing DeVos’s confirmation.

Alexander had initially scheduled a committee vote on DeVos’s confirmation for Jan. 24, but decided to delay the vote a week, until Jan. 31, to give Senators an opportunity to examine the ethics paperwork. But Democrats don’t just want more time — they want another chance to publicly question DeVos.

“We would like to ask Ms. DeVos additional questions we were prevented from asking this week given we did not know all of the financial and ethical information that has now been shared with us, as well as address additional questions that have arisen from the OGE paperwork,” Democrats wrote in their letter to Alexander. “In particular, we believe it is important to ask her questions around companies she will continue to own that are directly impacted by the Department of Education and this administration’s education agenda. We believe the opportunity to ask such questions is consistent with the responsibilities and practices of this committee.”

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.

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