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The Friday Report

June 16, 2017

Forum News

This Week on Education Matters: The Latest on the State Budget

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Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke)

This week on Education Matters, two leading NC House members, Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke) and Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Durham, Orange), will discuss the state of the budget process and key education issues being debated.

Guests:

  • Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke)
  • Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Durham, Orange)

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Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Durham, Orange)

To view the previous episode featuring State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey as well as NC Charter School Advisory Board Chairman Alex Quigley and Research Triangle High School Chief School Officer Eric Grunden, visit https://www.ncforum.org/education-matters-state-board-chair-bill-cobey-focus-on-charter-school-policy/.

When and Where to Watch Education Matters

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

Sundays at 6:30 AM and Mondays at 3:00 PM, UNC-TV’s NC Channel (Statewide)

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

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

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The General Assembly’s budget could be released today sometime or it may be next week, with then concurrence votes in the House and Senate. Rumors abounded this week on what the final hurdles are for budget writers – is it teacher salary increases; size of the tax cuts; state employee salary increases; where to spend lottery funds; health & human services issues? Hopefully, we will know the answers to all of these questions very soon.

Aside from no real news on the budget, some education bills saw action this week. With anticipation of the final budget coming any moment now, there is a real sense of getting other bills “through the chute” before it closes entirely; therefore, it is safe to assume an uptick of education bills moving quickly in these next weeks, such as:

HB 135 Technical Changes to Courses of Study
This bill would repeal the state’s Basic Education Plan enacted in 1985, and it seeks to re-codify and re-organize (under separately numbered statutes) much of that language. For those involved in the NC Standard Course of Study and curriculum changes, this bill is a must-read. After repealing the Basic Education Plan, it announces that “…the State Board of Education [SBE] shall adopt a plan of education and a standard course of study as provided in G.S. 115C-12(9c) for the public schools of the State.” Newly proposed statute, G.S. 115C-81.5. Significantly, the following sentence would be removed from current statutes: “It is the intent of the General Assembly that until the Basic Education Program is fully funded, the implementation of the Basic Education Program shall be the focus of State educational funding.” Instead, the newly proposed statute would read, in part: “It is the intent of the General Assembly that the focus of State educational funding shall be to ensure that each student receives a sound basic education.” The bill passed the House unanimously in March, passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, and now awaits action in the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 149 Students with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia
This bill would require SBE and local boards of education to develop tools to ensure identification of students with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Significantly, it would set forth the definition of dyslexia as follows: “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” The bill had unanimously passed the House in April, passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, and now awaits action in the Senate Rules Committee.

SB 253 Partisan Elections/Certain School Boards
This bill had only dealt with the Carteret County Board of Education when it passed the Senate in April. This week, however, the House expanded the counties beyond Carteret to now include Beaufort, Cleveland, Dare, Haywood, Hyde, Madison, Onslow, Pender, and Yancey. The bill, as amended, passed the House on Wednesday along party lines. It is now calendared for what could be a final vote in the Senate on Monday night.

SB 312 Surplus Computers for Low-Income Students
This bill has passed both the House and the Senate, and now goes to the Governor for review and/or signature. It would allow the NC Department of Administration, State Surplus Property Agency, to distribute state surplus computers to nonprofit entities that refurbish and donate computers for the benefit of low-income students and households. It would further grant tax-exempt status to such nonprofits.

In This Issue

Applications Open for 2017-18 NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)

NC Science and Engineering Fair Teacher Workshop Opportunities

NCSSM Summer Accelerator Courses Available

Eastern NC Educators Invited to Attend Free Teacher Leadership Symposium

Public School Forum Programs

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Nominate an Outstanding Education Leader!

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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.

State News

NC Senate Envisions Non-Traditional Teacher Prep Programs

The state Senate wants to ease the teacher shortage, but critics said a bill passed Monday will make it hard for people to switch careers to teach. Schools across the state have a hard time finding teachers. Enrollment in college and university schools of education has dipped over the years.

The Senate bill would allow new teacher preparation programs that are not part of college and universities. The bill also changes the way adults switching careers get into teaching, replacing what’s called a lateral entry license with a residency license.

“We need to have a wholesale reform of how we do education preparation,” said Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Wake Forest Republican.

The State Board of Education would approve the non-traditional programs recommended by a new Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission.

The bill’s critics said straying from traditional teacher education programs is a bad idea. “This would allow anybody who wants to train a teacher to do so,” said Sen. Gladys Robinson, a Guilford County Democrat. “That is not an acceptable standard to me.”

To continue reading the complete article click here.

Excerpt from:

Bonner, L. “NC Senate envisions non-traditional teacher prep programs.” The News & Observer. 6/12/17.

Parents Could Pay More for Their Kids to Take Driver’s Education

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Asher Philips, 15, runs through a driving checklist alongside instructor Curtis Wilson during the behind-the-wheel portion of the driver’s education program run by Jordan Driving School on Aug. 19, 2015.  Photo credit: News & Observer File Photo.

North Carolina might change the way families pay for driver’s education, a revision that could save some parents money but cost others hundreds of dollars more.

Families now pay up to $65 for their teens to take driver’s education, and the state gives school systems money to cover the rest of the cost. But the state Senate’s budget proposal would change the program so parents pay up front the full cost of driver’s education with the option to get reimbursed up to $275 – if the student passes the state test to get a learner’s permit on the first try.

Supporters say the proposed Driver Safety Incentive Program would encourage students to try harder to pass the test to get their permit. Critics say the change would make the roads less safe because more teens, particularly those who can’t afford the higher fee, might skip driver’s ed before they get their license.

The Senate has made multiple attempts over the years to change the driver’s ed program.

“We’ve said for years that the current model for driver’s education simply isn’t delivering the best results for our young people,” Amy Auth, a spokeswoman for Senate leader Phil Berger, said in a written statement. “Past studies have found that 46 percent of students that complete the state driver education course subsequently fail the DMV test, even after multiple attempts.

“By tying reimbursement to passing the DMV exam on the first try, we are creating an incentive for parents to ensure their students actually study and take the test seriously.” Opponents are lobbying lawmakers to back the driver’s ed version in the House budget that would continue the program in its current form.

“If the Senate’s version of the budget prevails, driver’s education will no longer be offered as we have known in the past,” said Connie Sessoms, executive director of the North Carolina Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association. “It will fail to meet the needs of most of our students. At the end of the day, the bottom line is we’re talking life and death.”

To continue reading the complete article click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, T. “Parents could pay more for their kids to take driver’s education.” The News & Observer. 6/10/17.

Senate Approves Changes to Child Protective Services

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The state Senate voted Monday night to approve changes to the state’s child welfare and foster care system, but the major system overhaul originally proposed has been scaled back for now.

The first section of House Bill 630 requires child welfare caseworkers to take additional steps before returning a child to a home with a neglectful or abusive parent. It’s named “Rylan’s Law” after Rylan Ott, a Moore County toddler who wandered away from his home and drowned in a nearby pond after having been returned to a mother who was suspected of neglect.

Sponsor Senator Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, said many people, including the child’s foster parent, tried to warn county social service workers. “The trial placement was a recipe for disaster,” Barringer told the Senate on Monday.

The child was returned to his parent without any caseworker ever observing how he and his mother interacted. Under current law, that’s not required. Under Rylan’s Law, it would be.

“Sadly, this is not the only time this occurs,” Barringer said. “This has occurred countless times over the past 10 years in North Carolina.”

To continue reading the complete article click here.

Excerpt from:

Leslie, L. “Senate approves changes to child protective services.” WRAL. 6/12/17.

Charter Advisory Board Tackles Problem School

Much of the Charter School Advisory Board meeting earlier this week was taken up by a discussion of Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy, a Bertie County charter school that has come before the board previously due to academic, financial, and governance issues.

Following a presentation and questioning of school representatives, members of the board were so dismayed at the state of the school that they considered revoking the school’s license on the spot. A motion to do that failed 6-to-4.

Finally, the board voted 9-to-1 to allow the school to keep operating into next year with a set of stipulations which, if not met, would lead to initiation of revocation of the school’s charter next December.

The school’s problems were discussed extensively by the board. The school opened in 2014 and was labeled as low performing by the state in 2015 and 2016. On at least three occasions, the school missed deadlines to submit a required audit to the state.

Alexis Schauss, the Department of Public Instruction director of school business, described the finances of the school as very lean, noting that at the end of 2016, their fund balance was a little over $5,000. “They are very much on the edge of significant deficits,” she said.

Schauss also said that the ratio of teachers at the school versus other personnel seemed out of balance in comparison to other similar schools. Heritage has about 65 people on its payroll.

“For a school of 300 students, it did seem like they had a large number of non-certified personnel,” she said, adding that the money for salaries could be better spent in the classroom.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Granados, A. “Charter advisory board tackles problem school.” EducationNC. 6/14/17.

UNC Law School Rallies as Legislators Consider Big Budget Cut

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The rotunda of the UNC School of Law building. Supporters of the school are working the phones and sending emails to try to keep legislators from cutting the school’s budget.. Photo credit: The News & Observer .

UNC law alumni are building their case against a budget cut that they say would be catastrophic to the state’s oldest professional school.

As state House and Senate budget negotiators work out their differences in the coming days, supporters of the UNC School of Law are working the phones and sending emails to try to win legislators over. The Senate, which rolled out its budget last month, proposed a $4 million reduction, which amounts to 30 percent of the school’s state appropriation. The more recent budget plan, from the House, had no cut for the law school.

The prospect of losing such a large share of their state funding is more than worrisome to the school’s leaders. It would, no doubt, lead to cuts in staff and programs at the school, said Martin Brinkley, dean of the school. “If we had a cut like that, it would be really difficult to not have a significant personnel impact at some level,” Brinkley said.

The law school’s total annual budget this fiscal year was $31 million. About 70 percent of the school’s budget is personnel cost, according to Brinkley. He said he had not devised a specific plan for how the school would deal with the size cut the Senate proposed. Instead, he said, he’s focused on keeping the cut from happening.

A small group of well-connected UNC law graduates has met every couple of days to talk about strategy, said 1986 law graduate Walter Fisher, managing partner of the Raleigh and Charlotte offices of Troutman Sanders, an international law firm.

To continue reading the complete article click here.

Excerpt from:

Stancill, J. “UNC law school rallies as legislators consider big budget cut.” The News & Observer. 6/9/17.

Summer Food Program Provides Meals to Kids in Need

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Volunteer Jessie Collier talks nutrition with a group of children from the neighborhood around the Casa De Luna Apartments during a stop by the Dream Center of Raleigh on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 in Raleigh. Photo credit:  Robert Willett, The News & Observer.

For children who receive free and reduced price lunches during the school year, having enough food becomes more challenging during summer break.

In the Casa de Luna apartment complex in northeast Raleigh, those kids can come every Tuesday and receive a free, nutritious lunch — part of a coordinated effort across Wake County to feed tens of thousands of kids at risk of going hungry this summer.

Wake County’s summer food program, which started Monday, is working with local organizations in the hopes of distributing more than 300,000 meals to low-income children in the county this summer.

There are over 150 meal distribution sites across the county, said Regina Petteway, director of the Human Services department. “These sites will provide a nutritious meal, they will provide free activities, and also education about building healthy habits that will last a lifetime,” she said.

The Casa de Luna site, which is run by the faith-based organization the Dream Center, fed 26 kids Tuesday. The children are preschool-to-middle school aged; almost all are Latino. They filled the small room with bilingual chatter as volunteers and a few parents helped distribute chocolate milk, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apple sauce.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Killenberg, S. “Summer food program provides meals to kids in need.” The News & Observer. 6/13/17.

National News

Nation’s Rural Students Deserve Better From State, Federal Leaders, New 50-State Report Shows

ne50-state report urges state and federal leaders to make rural students and their communities a far greater priority.

The new edition of Why Rural Matters, from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Rural School and Community Trust, provides an overall “priority” ranking of the 50 states, showing the greatest needs in rural education. The report also ranks the states and includes state-by-state data on demographics and poverty, student achievement, state resources, and college and career readiness.

“While some rural schools thrive, far too many rural students face nothing less than a national emergency. Many rural schools and districts face vastly inequitable funding and simply cannot provide the opportunities that many suburban and urban schools do,” said Robert Mahaffey, the executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust, based in Washington, D.C.

Rural schools offer many attributes of quality schools that parents want for their children: smaller settings, personal attention, and a strong sense of community and identity. But many rural schools and students face serious challenges, the report shows.

To continue reading the complete press release click here.

To read the complete report, click here.

Excerpt from: The Rural School and Community Trust. “New ‘why rural matters’ report now available.” 6/14/17.

Kids Count Report Finds Positive Gains on Child Well-Being, With Areas of Concern

The percentage of children living in poverty has fallen slightly over the past six years, as has the percentage of children whose parents lack secure employment and those whose families face a high housing-cost burden, according to an analysis of national data compiled in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count Data Book.

But the data book also finds places where child well-being is slipping, according to the foundation’s measures: The percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds not in preschool has risen slightly, as has the percentage of 8th graders who are not proficient in math, based on scores of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

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Put together, the data show steady improvement over previous years, but with areas that are a concern. For example, the percentage of children in single-parent households has risen slightly.

“Eight years after the most devastating recession of our lifetime, we are pleased to see some positive trends in many areas of child well-being,” said Patrick McCarthy, the foundation’s president and CEO. But to continue those gains, policymakers should continue to make targeted investments in areas such as early learning and health care, he said.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

For more information on North Carolina’s Kids Count Databook, visit www.ncchild.org.

Excerpt from: 

Samuels, C. “Kids Count Report Finds Positive Gains on Child Well-Being, With Areas of Concern.” Education Week. 6/13/17.

Opportunities

Public School Forum Seeks Program Coordinator

The Forum seeks a Program Coordinator to support the programmatic and policy work of the organization. The Program Coordinator will work with Forum staff in the efficient and high-impact implementation of programs, including the Beginning Teacher Leadership Network, the NC Education Policy Fellowship Program, the NC Center for Afterschool Programs, and the NC Institute for Educational Policymakers. He or she will support major Forum events, including our annual Jay Robinson Awards Gala, Eggs & Issues Breakfast, and Synergy Conference. The Program Coordinator will also contribute to research and communications, as well as the Forum’s social media presence and website.

Interested candidates should submit cover letters and resumes to Rhonda van Dijk at rvandijk@ncforum.org. Please include the job posting title in the subject line. The Forum is accepting applications through July 7, 2017.

The full job description can be found on our website here.

Applications Open for 2017-18 NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)

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The Public School Forum is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 cohort of the North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).

The Public School Forum has led the North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program since 1992, and it has continued to be the only statewide program of its kind that focuses on leadership and professional development in the context of education policy. Each new class continues the trend of high caliber participants and is rich in its members’ range of experiences, both professionally and personally. Fellows come from public schools, higher education, community colleges, state agencies, and a diverse array of education organizations across North Carolina. Each class includes a cohort of Fellows who focus on education policy issues and the wide range of factors that influence education in North Carolina. The program is designed for Fellows to learn about issues and perspectives in education that they don’t always encounter in their daily work so that they can be more informed, rounded contributors to the critical education debates that shape the quality and focus of schools. Fellows increase their awareness of how public policy is made, learn whom the key players are in the formation of this policy, and become more confident and involved in the policy-making process. Leadership development is a key focus of the Education Policy Fellowship Program.

Application information for both EPFP Central and EPFP West can be found online at https://www.ncforum.org/education-policy-fellowship-program/. Applications are due by June 30. 2017.

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.

NCSSM Summer Accelerator Courses Available

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The NC School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) is bringing faculty and programming to Brevard College’s campus for one week this summer. The courses below will take place on the campus of Brevard College in the western NC town of Brevard, NC.

Early Accelerator | rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders | June 25 to 30, 2017

For Durham campus schedule, visit www.ncssm.edu/accelerator

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.

WHEN

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE

Hilton Greenville

207 Greenville Boulevard Southwest, Greenville, NC 27834

SPONSOR

Biogen Foundation, Lead Champion

REGISTER BY JULY 21!

https://nc-teacherleader-symposium.eventbrite.com

The Friday Report is published weekly by the Public School Forum of NC and is distributed to Forum members, policymakers, donors, media, and Forum subscribers. Archived editions can be found at www.ncforum.org.

©2017 Public School Forum of North Carolina. All Rights Reserved.

Public School Forum of North Carolina

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Follow us at @theNCForum

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