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The Friday Report

January 6, 2017

Forum News

Forum’s TV Show Education Matters Goes Statewide

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The Public School Forum of North Carolina’s weekly television program Education Matters will now be able to reach all North Carolinians when it launches on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel beginning Sunday, January 8, 2017. Hosted by Keith Poston, president and executive director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, Education Matters will air every Sunday, at 9 AM, and encore Mondays, at 3 PM, on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel. The show will continue to air on Saturday nights at 7:30 PM on WRAL-TV in the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville market.

This 30-minute television program, created by the Public School Forum of North Carolina, is a weekly look at the key issues, policies and people affecting public education in North Carolina. Each week Education Matters covers topics such as teacher pay and retention, early childhood education, education funding, school leadership, principal pay and NC’s teacher pipeline.

“We created Education Matters to help the public understand the key issues affecting education in our state, how education policy decisions play out in our schools, and what kind of impact these policies are having on our students and teachers,” said Poston. “We are thrilled to partner with UNC-TV and its North Carolina Channel to expand our show’s reach across the entire state.”

The program is also available online at www.ncforum.org. Viewers can follow Education Matters on Twitter at @NCEDmatters.

To view the complete press release, click here.

SOLD OUT

2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast

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On January 25, 2017, the Public School Forum of North Carolina will host its 3rd Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. This special event began in 2015 to showcase the Forum’s release of its annual Top Ten Education Issues – our unique take on the state’s most pressing issues in education.

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

The event will be held on 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 event will conclude by 9:30 AM.

The Eggs & Issues Breakfast is one of the most anticipated education events each new year and tickets are now sold out!

Thank you to Quintiles IMS, the 2017 Eggs & Issues Presenting Sponsor:

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In This Issue

Forum’s TV Show Education Matters Goes Statewide

SOLD OUT

2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast

This Weekend on Education Matters: Superintendents, Teachers Discuss 2017 Priorities

New NC Superintendent: Urgent Changes Needed to Fix ‘Outdated’ School System

NC Principals Could See Salary Increases and Bonuses

Court Hearing on State Board of Education’s Challenge Postponed

Who Will Choose NC’s New Achievement School District Leader?

NC Charter Schools Chief: Need to Increase Diversity, Open More Rural Schools

Bonus Time: Some NC Teachers Will Get January Rewards Based on 2016 Exam Scores

New Federal Law Gives State Chance to Improve School Accountability

Senate Schedules Confirmation Hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Pick for Education Secretary

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Student Science Enrichment Program

Applications Open for 2017-18 Kenan Fellowships

Public School Forum Programs

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This Weekend on Education Matters: Superintendents, Teachers Discuss 2017 Priorities

This week’s episode of Education Matters, the Forum’s weekly television program, will feature key voices from our public schools – school administrators and teachers. We will discuss some of the key issues on the minds of both groups of educators and what they hope to see happen in 2017 in North Carolina. 

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Programming note: Due to NFL Playoff Game on Saturday night, this week’s episode will air at noon on Sunday, January 8th on WRAL-TV.  The show will air statewide on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel Sunday at 9 AM and Monday at 3 PM.

Stay tuned to Education Matters in January to learn more about the following topics:

  • January 14  – State Board of Education vs. NC General Assembly

HB 17 was 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. We’ll discuss with the current State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey, as well as former Supreme Court Associate Justice Willis Whichard and former State Board Chairman Howard Lee.

  • January 21 – Digital Learning in NC

Classrooms across the country and here in North Carolina are moving quickly to take advantage of digital tools to enhance learning. We’ll talk with experts about the state of digital learning in North Carolina from those leading it and those implementing it in classrooms today.

  • January 28 – Talking Education with Gov. Roy Cooper

Newly elected Governor Roy Cooper will sit down with Education Matters host Keith Poston for the full half hour in a one-on-one discussion about key education issues facing North Carolina. The interview will be taped before a live audiences at the 3rd Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast hosted by the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

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Each Education Matters show profiles an education leader that is making a difference in his or her community. Do you have a great leader in your local school? Nominate them today! We are seeking leaders who make a difference in their school each and every day. To nominate an education leader, please fill out the form here.
Previous episodes can be found online at https://www.ncforum.org/ or on wral.com by searching for Education Matters.

State News

New NC Superintendent: Urgent Changes Needed to Fix ‘Outdated’ School System

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North Carolina’s newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction says urgent changes are needed to fix the state’s “outdated” public school system and said his first order of business will be to embark on a year-long listening tour across the state.

Mark Johnson said he plans to meet with teachers, parents, students, lawmakers, business owners and others to get their thoughts on public education. He promised to “take good notes” and said he will “present a vision of action items that we can go forward with for the next few years.”

Johnson made the announcement during Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting, which marked his third day on the job, and said he plans to rely on three guiding principles as superintendent: urgency, ownership, and innovation. 

Johnson is beginning his new role as superintendent during a turbulent time. Although he and State Board of Education members appeared to get along during their meetings this week, they are at odds over who should be in charge of North Carolina’s public schools.

Lawmakers passed a bill last month that takes away power from the state board and transfers it to Johnson. Under the new law, Johnson will have more flexibility in managing the state’s education budget, more authority to dismiss senior level employees, control of the Office of Charter Schools and the ability to choose the leader of the new Achievement School District, which will oversee some of the lowest-performing schools in the state.

Those powers have been under the State Board of Education’s control.

The board filed a suit to challenge the law last month, and a Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the new law from taking effect. Another hearing is scheduled for Friday, when a three-judge panel will determine whether an injunction should be put in place to block the law until courts determine whether it’s constitutional.

To listen to the Superintendent’s remarks from Thursday’s meeting, click here.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Court Hearing on State Board of Education’s Challenge Postponed

Below is a Statement from Bob Orr and Drew Erteschik, Attorneys for the State Board of Education:

Last week, the Wake County Superior Court granted our motion for a temporary restraining order to stop unconstitutional legislation that attempted to transfer the constitutional powers and duties of the State Board of Education to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Earlier this week, Chief Justice Mark Martin assigned a three-judge panel to hear the case. The three-judge panel was scheduled to go forward this morning (Friday, January 6) with a hearing on our motion for a preliminary injunction.

Wednesday evening, however, we were contacted by state officials about the possibility of postponing the hearing and continuing the temporary restraining order. We agreed to that request. Today, the parties submitted a consent order to the three-judge panel that will continue to block the legislation until the panel can consider the merits of our constitutional challenge. A signed and filed copy of the consent order will be available today (January 6).

We are pleased that the legislation continues to be blocked, and that the status quo has been maintained for the Board, the public school system, and North Carolina’s 1.5 million students.

Reprinted from:
NCDPI. “Hearing on Preliminary Injunction Postponed.” 1/5/17.

Who Will Choose NC’s New Achievement School District Leader?

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More than 50 people from across the country have applied to lead North Carolina’s new Achievement School District, which will serve some of the lowest-performing schools in the state. But those hoping to land the job of superintendent of the new school system will have wait even longer to see if they are chosen.

That’s because it’s unclear whether the State Board of Education or newly elected state superintendent will get to decide who gets the job. For now, the answer is tied up in the courts, and state leaders say they don’t know what to do.

The goal of the new Achievement School District is to take five of the state’s lowest-performing public elementary schools and put them under new management. Outside entities, such as charter school operators, will take control of the schools and supervise, manage and operate them with the goal of improving their performance.

When lawmakers passed a bill last summer creating the Achievement School District, they asked Lt. Gov. Dan Forest to create a committee to help choose a superintendent for the new school system. The committee interviewed applicants this fall and was supposed to make a recommendation to the State Board of Education, which would have the final say over who was chosen.

However, the committee has still not recommended a candidate, despite multiple assurances that they were close to making a decision.

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To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “Who will choose NC’s new Achievement School District leader? ‘We are unsure’.” WRAL. 1/5/17.

NC Principals Could See Salary Increases and Bonuses

Some principals could earn performance or signing bonuses under a legislative proposal that aims to keep and reward effective leaders in poor school districts or at struggling schools.

A legislative study committee on principal and assistant principal pay voted last Thursday on recommendations it will send to the House and Senate. The committee is focused on two issues, raising principal pay, and keeping talented principals in schools where they’re most needed.

The average principal makes $64,209 a year, a salary near the bottom of national rankings. Statewide, salaries show a wide range because some districts pay principals supplements of more than $20,000 a year, and some districts offer no extra money on top of the state-funded salary.

No cost estimate was attached to the proposals.

Part of the recommendation is to give school districts what Sen. Jerry Tillman called a type of block grant and letting them decide, within certain guidelines, how to spend it on bonuses. “This is a big, big change,” he said.

The legislature has focused on raising teacher pay over the last few years, but principal pay has barely budged. “We haven’t done anything for administrators in a long time,” said Tillman, an Archdale Republican and one of the study committee leaders.

If the full General Assembly considers the suggestions, they are likely to be changed as other legislators and budget writers rework them.

Principals in low-wealth districts and principals at low-performing schools in other districts would be eligible for the bonuses. The extra money would be awarded based on specific criteria that could include improving school performance, improving school discipline, or “creating a positive community impression.”

NC Charter Schools Chief: Need to Increase Diversity, Open More Rural Schools

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North Carolina charter schools need to have more diversity among their students and open more schools in rural parts of the state, the state’s charter school chief said Wednesday.

Dave Machado (pictured left) made the comments while presenting the annual charter schools report to the State Board of Education. Machado said he is “very proud of the many things our charter schools are doing” but said there are several areas where they can improve.

The report found that charters and traditional schools have about the same proportion of students who are American Indian, Asian, black and Pacific Islander. However, charters tend to have more white students and fewer Hispanic students than traditional schools.

The report also found that charter schools tend to serve fewer poor students than traditional schools. But Machado cautioned board members that some of that data may not be accurate. Schools may have under-reported how many low-income students they serve, he explained, because they must rely on parents to report income information.

The complete report can be found here.

Bonus Time: Some NC Teachers Will Get January Rewards Based on 2016 Exam Scores

North Carolina is ready to dole out $14 million in teacher merit bonuses this month, with rewards based on last year’s third-grade reading tests and exams that show high school students doing college-level work. The state legislature approved the money in 2016. The bonus programs are designed to reward teachers who help children start with strong basics, as well as those who send teens into the adult world with advanced skills.

The state set aside $10 million for third-grade teachers who ranked in the top 25 percent for the growth their students showed between the start and the end of last school year. Reading well by third grade is considered a key to success in future grades.

Third-grade teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will collect a total of $915,280, more than any other district. Their counterparts in Wake County, the state’s largest district, are slated to get $739,610. The amount each teacher will collect varies by district because of the state’s complex distribution formula. Just over 1,300 teachers landed in the top 25 percent statewide. They’ll get $3,523 each. Each district also gets money to distribute to the top 25 percent among its own work force. According to a state report, those awards range from $1,824 in Jones County to $8,770 in Caswell County.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from: 

Helms, A. “Bonus time: Some NC teachers will get January rewards based on 2016 exam scores.” The Charlotte Observer. 1/1/17.

National News

New Federal Law Gives State Chance to Improve School Accountability

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North Carolina needs to improve its high school accountability system. A relic of the No Child Left Behind era, it has a critical flaw: It encourages schools to focus on their lowest-performing students’ progress. That’s a worthy and important objective, but it shouldn’t be the only outcome for which they’re held responsible.

This shortcoming is particularly pernicious for high-achieving poor and minority children, who deserve better and are critical to North Carolina’s – and our nation’s – competitiveness. They’re the most dependent on the school system to cultivate their potential, yet it is failing them. This is a tragedy, particularly at a time when North Carolina is struggling to help these students complete college and rise to leadership positions. For instance, only 22 percent of black students attending the state’s four-year public universities graduate on time. Meanwhile, the state is spending almost $46 million yearly on “remedial education,” high-school level courses college freshmen take because they aren’t ready for college.

A new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), gives Raleigh policymakers a rare opportunity to set schools on the right path for years ahead. They now enjoy greater leeway to design a school accountability system that will work for all students by turning annual test results and other information into sound judgments of school effectiveness.

Specifically, when North Carolina submits its new accountability system to the Department of Education for approval in the coming year, it should include three components ensuring all kids count.

First, it should rate high schools using a model giving additional credit for students achieving at a high level – today’s system doesn’t. Under ESSA, North Carolina must keep tracking the percentage of students who reach proficiency on annual tests, but the state can give schools incentives for students with high marks. Policymakers could, for example, create an “achievement index” giving partial credit for getting students to “basic,” full credit for getting them to “proficient,” and additional credit for getting them to “advanced.”

Second, the system should keep measuring individual students’ growth year to year, but make this count for at least as much as achievement. Under the state’s current system, achievement counts for 80 percent of a high school’s summative rating; all students’ growth counts for just 20 percent. Growth measures do a better job of capturing schools’ effect on student achievement than proficiency rates, which are tied to student demographics, family circumstance and prior achievement.

Finally, North Carolina should encourage high schools to help able students earn college credit by measuring the percentage of students succeeding in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and/or dual-enrollment programs – among the best ways to challenge high performers

Raleigh policymakers should use their newfound flexibility responsibly. Given their freedom under the new federal law to fix past flaws, now is the time to ensure all students get the education they deserve. High-achievers, especially those in poverty, need all the attention they can get. But for too long they’ve been an afterthought – a fate no child should suffer. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

Michael J. Petrilli and Brandon L. Wright are president and editorial director, respectively, of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Senate Schedules Confirmation Hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Pick for Education Secretary

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President-elect Donald Trump listens as Betsy DeVos speaks at a “USA Thank You Tour 2016″ event at the DeltaPlex in Grand Rapids, Mich. on December 9, 2016. Photo Credit: Jabin Botsford, The Washington Post.

The Senate education committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to helm the education department, for Jan. 11.

DeVos, who has spent more than two decades advocating for charter schools and taxpayer-funded school vouchers, is one of eight Trump nominees that Democrats have singled out for additional scrutiny. Two of the others are Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for secretary of state.

DeVos’s hearing is scheduled to take place on the second day of Sessions’s scheduled two-day hearing with the Judiciary Committee and the same day that Tillerson is tentatively scheduled to face the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

A billionaire power broker and major Republican donor, DeVos has not held elected public office nor worked as an educator. She is likely to face questions about her advocacy track record, particularly in her home state of Michigan, where she played a key role in shaping a fast-growing charter-school sector that even many charter-school supporters criticize as lacking in oversight and quality. Senators also are likely to ask her about her support for using public money to pay tuition at private and religious schools — one of the most polarizing ideas in education.

But committee members also likely will use the confirmation to question DeVos about her views on a range of other Education Department subjects about which she has previously said little or nothing publicly. Those include her view of for-profit colleges, which have faced intense scrutiny under the Obama administration; her plans for implementing the new Every Student Succeeds Act; and her plans for the Office for Civil Rights, which is responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws in schools and which some Trump surrogates have said should be stripped of power.

Opportunities

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 Kenan Fellowships

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The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is accepting online applications for the 2017-18 fellowship year through January 16, 2017. These fellowships address the critical need to develop and empower high-quality teachers, who, in turn, make learning more authentic for students.

The fellowship begins with a summer internship in a higher education lab or industry setting and is supported by 80 hours of professional development that focuses on building leadership capacity and proven instructional strategies.

Fellowship projects have a unique set of criteria that in some cases is restricted by district, grade level and subject. Projects vary from scientific research to work experiences in the agriculture, energy and high-tech manufacturing industries.

Each Fellow is awarded at least a $5,000 stipend, and must develop and implement relevant educational materials and/or programs based on their internship experience. Fellows remain in the classroom while completing the year-long fellowship. Visit kenanfellows.org/2017-18-fellowships to see which fellowships are available to educators in your school district.

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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