The Friday Report
July 7, 2017
This Week on Education Matters: Child Well-Being in North Carolina
How does North Carolina stack up compared to other states when it comes to child well-being? This week we explore the key indicators of child well-being and what the state can do to improve the lives of NC children.
- Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary, NC Department of Health and Human Services (pictured above)
- Laila A. Bell, Director of Research and Data, NC Child (pictured below)
To watch the previous show on the state budget, visit https://www.ncforum.org/education-matters-state-budget-focus/.
When and Where to Watch Education Matters
Saturdays at 7:30 PM, WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)
Sundays at 6:30 AM, Mondays at 3:00 PM, 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 1276 or check local listing and other providers here.
Online at https://www.ncforum.org/
How Will State Salaries and Benefits Change as Budget Takes Effect?
The state budget that took effect Saturday will give teachers an average pay raise of 3.3 percent in the coming year, and will raise most other state employees’ pay by a flat $1,000.
Under the teacher pay plan, teachers with 17 to 24 years of experience would see some of the biggest raises. Starting teacher pay would remain at $35,000, but teachers at most experience levels would get a raise.
State lawmakers enacted the budget over a veto from Gov. Roy Cooper, who said he wanted larger teacher raises.
Under the new budget, state employees will receive a 1 percent, permanent cost-of-living increase in their pension checks – their first increase in years.
But future employees who go to work for the state beginning in January 2021 will no longer qualify for state health insurance when they retire, an effort to cut down on state government’s retirement costs.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
Campbell, C. “How will state salaries and benefits change as budget takes effect?” The News & Observer. 7/1/17.
Some Struggling NC Schools Will Be Turned Over to Charter School Operators in 2018
North Carolina families and teachers will find out in the next two months which low-performing elementary schools could be turned over to charter school operators in 2018.
The state’s Innovative School District, originally called the Achievement School District, is a controversial new effort to boost student achievement at low-performing schools. Eric Hall, the district’s superintendent, launched the program on Thursday by laying out a timeline in which at least two schools will join for the 2018-19 school year and up to three more schools will join in 2019.
The new district has come under fire from critics, including many Democratic state lawmakers and the N.C. Association of Educators, who have questioned turning public schools over to education management organizations and charter management organizations. Hall stressed Thursday that the district is about partnering with local communities to provide a better education for students.
“It’s not about takeover,” said Hall, who was hired in March after having served as CEO of Communities in Schools in North Carolina. “It’s about how we’re creating innovative conditions in local communities in partnership with those communities and those schools that’s going to promote equity and opportunity for the students that we serve.”
The legislature passed a law last year creating the state takeover of five schools, making North Carolina one of several states to try the achievement district model.
In Tennessee, students in Achievement District Schools have not done better academically than students in comparable low-performing schools that weren’t taken over.
Hall acknowledged the “mixed results” in other states but said North Carolina has a chance to successfully re-imagine the model.
Public School Forum Programs
Nominate an Outstanding Education Leader!
The Public School Forum is seeking nominations for education leaders to be profiled on our weekly TV show, Education Matters.
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.
This includes (but is not limited to) principals, superintendents, teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, parents, students, community volunteers, afterschool providers, and the list goes on!
To nominate an education leader, please fill out the form here.
EdExplainer: Long Session Legislative Recap
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, speaking at a press conference on the General Assembly compromise budget. Photo Credit: Alex Granados, EducationNC.
The long session of the General Assembly wrapped up last week, and education was a hot topic throughout. The budget and a slew of bills focused on changing the education landscape in North Carolina, covering topics like principal pay, charter schools, the educator preparation system, and more. Here are highlights of the just-completed session:
Senate Bill 257 — The Budget
No topic received more attention in the budget debate than teacher pay.
The final budget raised teachers salaries an average of 3.3 percent in the first year of the biennium and 9.6 percent over both years. Starting teachers get no pay raise under the proposal. The highest raises go to teachers with between 17 and 24 years of experience.
Republicans hailed the pay proposal as a success, pointing out that this was the fifth year in a row that teacher pay increased. Democrats said the Republican budget plan did not come close to the proposal put forth by Governor Roy Cooper.
The Governor’s plan would have raised teacher pay more than 5 percent on average in both years of the biennium, and Democrats argued that he allocated more money for the raises than Republicans. Though his two-year percentage pay increase and the Republican plan seemed similar, Democrats said the governor’s measure included more equitable pay raises for all teachers, where the Republicans’ plan favored some teachers over others.
The problems with principal pay were a subject of a study commission prior to the long session of the General Assembly. It was generally understood, and reported on by EducationNC, that there were numerous problems with the principal pay schedule. North Carolina principals are 50th out of all the states and Washington, D.C., in principal pay, and lawmakers knew they had to do something.
Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, initially filed a bill to allocate funds to increasing principal pay. But the money was going to be given in block-grant where districts would receive a set sum and would have to decide how to spread it out amongst principals. Under his bill, the new money would have come from the education lottery.
In the final budget, the block grant was replaced by a new principal pay schedule, and the allocation comes from the general fund instead of the lottery. Under the budget, principals will receive an average 8.6 percent salary increase over two years and assistant principals a 13.4 percent average salary increase over the biennium.
Teaching Fellows Program
The budget brought back the popular Teaching Fellows Program. The original Teaching Fellows Program, started in 1986, gave scholarships to students to attend college and train to become teachers provided they were willing to teach in North Carolina schools for at least four years after graduation. The General Assembly ended funding in 2011.
The new Teaching Fellows Program would give students up to $8,250 per year in loans that could be forgiven if the students become teachers and serve for a certain period of time at North Carolina elementary or high schools. Unlike the earlier program, students in the new program will have to specialize in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) or special education field.
The state’s opportunity scholarship (voucher) program is one that provides up to $4,200 to low-income and working-class families with students who want to attend private school in North Carolina. Last year, the budget gave $34.8 million for opportunity scholarships with an ambitious plan to increase funding by $10 million each year until 2026-27. The final budget keeps to that plan, appropriating $44.8 million in 2017-18 and $54.8 million in 2018-19.
Education Savings Accounts
The budget created an education savings account program which gives up to $9,000 in public money to families of children with disabilities to use on tuition for non-public schools, books, other supplies, and testing costs. The program had a lot of Republican support, but some Democrats argued that it amounted to little more than an additional opportunity scholarship program.
The final budget included funding for 3,535 new seats for NC Pre-K, cutting the program’s waiting list by 75 percent. While that number is heartening to some advocates of early childhood education, the numbers do fall short of what the House and governor offered in their budget proposals. Both of those plans would have eliminated the waiting list altogether.
DPI Budget Cut
The state Department of Public Instruction faces funding reductions under the budget. Funding would be cut by 6.2 percent in the first year and 13.9 percent total over the biennium. The proposal would also include $1 million for an audit of DPI that will increase the total two-year cut to about 15.8 percent.
College Scholarships Ahead for Future Science and Math Teachers
Shanta Lightfoot, senior administrator for middle school English language arts for Wake County Schools, works in her office. Lightfoot was a teaching fellow at N.C. State University before graduating in 2008. Photo credit: Matthew Adams, The News & Observer.
North Carolina will pay college tuition costs for students who commit to teaching science, technology, engineering, math or special education within the state.
The N.C. General Assembly eliminated a similar program in 2011. The Teaching Fellows program dated to 1986 and awarded loans each year to pay four years of tuition for 500 students who agreed to pay back the loan by teaching in the state for four years.
Under the revived Teaching Fellows program, forgivable loans of $8,250 each year will go to 160 students as long as they commit to teaching in special education or STEM fields. The new program was included in the state budget that the legislature enacted over a veto from Gov. Roy Cooper, who wanted more education spending.
Recipients of the scholarship can complete the program only at one of five public or private universities to be selected by an appointed committee by November 15.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Adams, M. “College scholarships ahead for future science and math teachers.” The News & Observer. 7/1/17.
41 Percent of NC Towns are Declining in Population. The Worst are in the Northeast
While some parts of the state have grown in the past six years, a large portion of North Carolina is declining, according to data from the UNC Carolina Population Center.
Of the state’s 553 municipalities, 225 – or about 41 percent – saw population decline in 2010-16. Another 192 towns and cities saw growth lower than 6.4 percent over that time.
Three of every four North Carolina municipalities have lost population or grown slower than the state since 2010. And the northeastern part of the state has been hit hardest.
The top 10 towns with the greatest decline in 2010-16 are in Bertie, Northampton and Washington counties.
Jacksonville has seen the greatest decline in the number of people, dropping from 70,145 in 2010 to 67,784 in 2016 – a growth rate of -3.4 percent and a loss of more than 2,300 people, according to the U.S. Census.
Driver’s Ed Remains Unchanged
Driver’s education in North Carolina continues unchanged after the General Assembly failed to pass legislation that would have made parents responsible for the upfront costs.
That means Pitt County Schools will continue charging students $60 to take the driver’s education course that is provided by North Carolina Driving School, a Winterville-based company. The school system will fund the balance of the cost which is about $240 per pupil.
“We are certainly pleased that (legislators) continue to see the importance of the driver’s education program. The House is very supportive of driver’s education and we’re glad they worked with the Senate to include it in the final budget,” said Mark Smith, director of operations for North Carolina Driving School, which provides driver’s education in 39 counties.
The budget provided $27.39 million annually for statewide driver’s education in this year’s budget, said a spokeswoman with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. The money comes from the state’s Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Livingston, G. “Driver’s ed remains unchanged.” The Daily Reflector. 7/6/17.
Administrative Pay Rises — and an Unusual New Job Emerges — Under New CMS Leader
New Superintendent Clayton Wilcox spoke briefly after his swearing-in Monday, but details on his top staff weren’t released until Wednesday. Photo credit: John D. Simmons, The Charlotte Observer.
Two days after being sworn in as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools superintendent, Clayton Wilcox released salaries and talked about his plans for top staff. He’s bumping up pay significantly for some jobs, creating a new “culinary manager” post for his chief of staff’s husband and offsetting administrative costs by scaling down some jobs, he says
The school board approved the first handful of contracts for Wilcox’s administration in April, with several more voted on at a special meeting Monday where Wilcox was sworn in. The district didn’t release details of the second batch until Wednesday afternoon.
Some of the biggest bumps have come for employees Wilcox recruited from his former district in Hagerstown, Md., which is about one-seventh the size of CMS.
Wilcox said Wednesday he’s recruiting people who will help him thrive here, with missions that range from improving educational technology to making healthy school lunches taste better.
On Monday, Chief Financial Officer Sheila Shirley got a four-year contract to do the same job at a higher annual salary, $193,400. That’s a raise of almost $7,500 a year. Wilcox said he wanted to reward her for good work and make sure she’d stay with CMS, after the recent departure of other high-level finance employees.
Derek Root, who was chief technology officer for Wilcox in Washington County, Md., was named chief technology officer for CMS at $183,500 a year, with a four-year contract. That’s about $18,000 a year more than Valerie Truesdale earned as chief of technology, personalization and engagement.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
Helms, A. “Administrative pay rises — and an unusual new job emerges — under new CMS leader.” The Charlotte Observer. 7/5/17.
Thousands Get Into Wake County Magnet Schools and Early Colleges
Douglas Magnet Elementary School celebration with students, staff and parents on May 13, 2016 honoring Douglas as being named best magnet school in the nation by Magnet Schools of America. Photo credit: The News & Observer.
Applications for Wake County’s magnet schools and early colleges are up slightly this year but are still down sharply from eight years ago. School district records show that 6,709 families applied for a magnet school or early college for the 2017-18 school year. Fifty-four percent, or 3,654 of the applicants, received placements.
Applications were up from the 6,590 received last year as families had new offerings to pick from, such as the North Wake College and Career Academy, which will offer high school students a chance to get specialized job training.
But applications are down 27 percent from 2009, when more than 9,213 applications were submitted. Wake’s efforts to generate interest in magnet schools has been challenged by increased competition from charter schools, private schools, home schools and non-magnet schools within the district.
Since 1982, Wake has offered unique academic programs at magnet schools such as advanced arts courses to try to fill and diversify under-enrolled schools. The majority of Wake’s magnet schools are in historically high-poverty areas or were given magnet status to try to reduce their percentage of low-income students.
NC Among States Suing Betsy DeVos Over Delays to Student Loan Protections
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2018 budget. Photo Credit: Susan Walsh, AP.
N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein says a lawsuit he joined Thursday could help students who attended fraudulent, for-profit colleges ease their federal student-loan debt.
Stein joined other attorneys general from around the country to sue U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who froze rules last month that would have forgiven the federal loan debt of students cheated by predatory for-profit colleges.
The attorneys general, all Democrats, from 18 states and the District of Columbia accuse the Trump administration’s education secretary of breaking federal law and giving the questionable schools free rein by rescinding the Borrower Defense rule that was to go into effect on the first of this month. They filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court in the District of Columbia.
“The delayed rules are deeply troubling,” Stein said in a statement. “Students who borrow money for their education are taking a risk to improve their lives – and they must be protected from those who take advantage of vulnerable student borrowers. Delaying these rules that protect students is irresponsible and reckless.”
The rule was adopted late last year before former President Barack Obama left office and the new Republican administration took over. It was created to protect student borrowers by making it easier for students at colleges found to be fraudulent to have their federal loans forgiven.
“With this ideologically driven suit, the state attorneys general are saying to regulate first, and ask the legal questions later—which also seems to be the approach of the prior administration that adopted borrower-defense regulations through a heavily politicized process and failed to account for the interests of all stakeholders,” Elizabeth Hill, a press secretary for DeVos, said in a statement.
The rule was created after nearly two years of negotiations, following the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, a national for-profit chain which enrolled thousands of North Carolina students, Stein pointed out.
But last month, DeVos said the education department wanted to re-evaluate the rule, calling it a “muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools.” The rollback came after a lawsuit was filed in federal court by an association of for-profit colleges in California seeking to block the rule.
Read the lawsuit here.
U.S. Senate Health Bill Would Damage NC’s Child Welfare System
Proposed Medicaid cuts in the US Senate’s health care bill pose a serious threat to the recovery of child victims of abuse and neglect and the services they rely on, according to a new brief by NC Child.
“State legislators took a significant step towards strengthening North Carolina’s child welfare system and improving outcomes for children in foster care by passing House Bill 630. Unfortunately, federal Medicaid cuts under consideration in Congress would reduce critical funding for the services these kids need,” said Rob Thompson, senior policy and communications advisor with NC Child.
Medicaid is the health insurance program for all children in foster care in North Carolina, and deep cuts would jeopardize their access to needed treatment. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the Senate health bill would cut Medicaid by $772 billion over 10 years with accelerating cuts after 2026. These cuts would likely lead to reductions in benefits for enrollees and reductions in provider reimbursement rates, both of which would limit access to services.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
“US Senate Health Bill Would Damage NC’s Child Welfare System.” The Mountaineer. 7/5/17.
NC Science and Engineering Fair Teacher Workshop Opportunities
Want to learn how to inspire your students to conduct independent research? Interested in learning how to assist students in topic selection, time management, and presentation of science and engineering research projects? Planning your school’s science and engineering research competition? New to the process or looking for a more organized approach?
Plan to attend a NC Science & Engineering Fair Workshop
for the 2017-2018 Academic Year!
Workshops will be offered at the locations below. All workshops run from 9:00am to 3:30pm and include coffee, snacks and lunch.
- July 19 – NC Center for Engineering Technology, Hickory
- July 27 – Biogen, Research Triangle Park
- July 28 – Triad Math and Science Academy, Greensboro
- August 2 – UNC-Wilmington
Register online at http://ncsciencefair.org/index.php/teachers/workshops.
There is a $15 registration fee but all attendees will receive a $65 stipend for participation and 0.5 CEU for completion of the workshop.
ONLY Teachers & Administrators in grades 3 – 12 are eligible to participate. Participants will be asked to implement a science and engineering fair for your class, grade-level or school during the 2017-2018 academic year andcomplete a survey spring 2018.
The following topics will be discussed during the workshop
- Learn how to foster and guide scientific and engineering research in the classroom.
- Learn how to initiate, manage, and evaluate student science and engineering research projects.
- You will be guided through the steps in planning a school or district science & engineering fair.
Workshops are sponsored by the Biogen Foundation.
Eastern NC Educators Invited to Attend Free Teacher Leadership Symposium
The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is pleased to announce its inaugural North Carolina Teacher Leadership Symposium on Tuesday, Aug. 1 in Greenville. As Lead Champion, the Biogen Foundation has made it possible for the Kenan Fellows Program to provide this Symposium at no cost to attendees. The event includes a plated lunch, a networking reception, concurrent professional development sessions, and keynote speakers.
This one-day immersive event will feature concurrent sessions on project-based learning, technology integration, interdisciplinary instruction, building leadership capacity, inquiry-based instruction, developing successful grant proposals, and more!
Educators in the Kenan Fellows Alumni Network will lead the one-day Symposium. These talented Fellows have developed expertise across a wide variety of innovative and effective educational practices that are particularly pertinent to teachers who seek to grow professionally and have a powerful impact in and beyond the classroom.
Registration is open to K-12 educators from 27 Eastern North Carolina school districts:
Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Pitt, Tyrrell, Washington, and Wilson.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
207 Greenville Boulevard Southwest, Greenville, NC 27834
Biogen Foundation, Lead Champion
REGISTER BY JULY 21!
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.