The Friday Report
June 23, 2017
The General Assembly passed its $23 billion budget plan this week and sent it to the Governor for signature or veto. If the Governor vetoes the budget bill, SB 257, then it would return to the legislature for a likely veto override. It would be a very tight turnaround, but it is entirely possible for NC to have a final budget enacted into law before the fiscal year ends on Friday, June 30.
Some of the big budget news for public schools includes, but is not limited to, the following:
1. Teacher Salaries:
a. Average 3.3% pay raise in 2017-18, weighted in favor of experienced teachers
b. Average 9.6% pay raise over two years (2017-18 and 2018-19)
2. Principals & Assistant Principals: $35 million for salary increases
3. Retirees: 1% COLA, but no retiree medical benefits for new hires starting in 2021
4. Textbook funding:
a. Non-recurring $11.3 million increase in 2017-18
b. $0 increase in 2018-19
5. Instructional Supplies: 0% increase
6. 2018-19 K-3 Class Size Reductions/Specialty Teachers: No funding
a. Estimated 5,250 new slots funded over the next 2 years – covers 75% of wait list
b. New Birth-3 (B-3) Interagency Council established
8. Children with Disabilities: $6.3 million increase
9. Driver Education: No changes
10. Governor’s School: Saved
11. Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund:
a. $30 million in 2017-18
b. $75 million in 2018-19
12. NC Teaching Fellows: Smaller program with a STEM/Special Education focus. Reinstated with $6 million in 2018-19.
13. Personal Education Savings Accounts (PESAs):
$3 million in 2018-19 for Children with Disabilities
14. Opportunity Scholarships (Private School Vouchers):
a. $44.8 million in 2017-18
b. $54.8 million in 2018-19
15. NCCAT: $300,000 increase
16. Advanced Teaching Roles: $7.18 million (non-recurring)
17. Analysis of Student Work: Eliminated (See Section 7.23E & F11/Money Report)
18. Central Office Cuts
a. $7 million reduction in funds to the central office allotment in 2017-2018
b. $11 million reduction in funds to the central office allotment in 2018-2019
18. DPI Agency Cuts:
a. $3.2 million cut in 2017-18
b. 13.9% cut in 2018-19
c. Several positions eliminated
19. State Superintendent:
a. $700,000 for up to 10 new positions
b. $300,000 for litigation costs
Bonus Round for Bonuses:
a. 3rd Grade Reading Teachers
b. Advanced Placement & International Baccalaureate/ Cambridge AICE Teachers
c. 4th – 8th Grade Math Teachers
d. 4th & 5th Grade Reading Teachers
e. CTE Teachers
f. Veteran (25+) Teacher Bonus (of $385)
g. Eligible Principals whose schools Exceed Growth for consecutive years
Additionally, in what seems to be a record number of controversial education policy provisions included in the budget, here are just a few:
- A-F School Performance Grades
- Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) & NC State Plan Requirements/Indicators
- Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform
- Several prohibitions of local transfers out of state-allotted funds
- Prohibition of State Board of Education’s use of state funds for court actions
- New reporting requirements, including a revised Allotment Transfer Reports for LEAs
See generally, the 80-pages between Section 7.7 through 8.10 in SB 257.
This Week on Education Matters: State Budget Focus
With an actual budget in hand, we talk this week with key education advocates for their take on the budget and with two journalists who’ve been covering the budget process about how this came together and what’s next.
- Mark Jewell, President, NC Association of Educators
- Katherine Joyce, Executive Director, NC Association of School Administrators
- Colin Campbell, News & Observer / The Insider
- Jess Clark, WUNC Radio
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.
Sheronda Witter to Lead North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs
The Public School Forum of North Carolina has named Sheronda Witter manager of the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP). Sheronda has vast experience in program management, analysis, collaboration and youth development. Most recently, she served as an Extension Agent of 4-H Youth Development for North Carolina State University wherein she served youth and families in Orange County, NC. Sheronda officially joined the Public School Forum on June 14.
“We’re excited to have Sheronda join our team at the Public School Forum to head up the NC Center for Afterschool Programs,” said Keith Poston, President & Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina. “Sheronda brings a wealth of practical experience and education around afterschool and expanded learning opportunities that can be used to advance and support the work of programs across the state.”
Sheronda earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in intercultural youth development from Furman University, a Master of Science degree in youth development leadership at Clemson University and is in the process of completing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational research and policy analysis for K-12 education at North Carolina State University. Academically and professionally, she has been recognized through multiple awards and honors, as well as been inducted into Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi Honors Societies.
Prior to relocating to North Carolina, Sheronda founded the Ladies of Distinction Mentoring Program for middle school girls while a student at Furman University, worked with Bridges to a Brighter Future as a counselor and served as the Director of Marketing and Recruiting at the Potential Youth Foundation in Greenville, South Carolina. During her time in North Carolina, she has worked as Encore! Middle School Afterschool Program Manager at the Durham School of the Arts, Teaching Fellow at Citizen Schools (Neal Middle School), Residential Education Instructor for the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, and a Coach for the Golden LEAF Foundation Scholars Program.
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.
Pivotal June 29 Court Case May Determine Control of Public Education in NC
A three judge panel will decide who in North Carolina has decision making authority over public education in the state. The court case between the State Board of Education and the State of North Carolina/State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson is scheduled for next Thursday, June 29th.
In December 2016, the State Board of Education filed a lawsuit to block House Bill 17 which transferred several powers of the State Board to incoming State Superintendent Mark Johnson.
House Bill 17 was adopted in a special legislative session in December 2016, and a Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the new law from taking effect January 1, 2017. That restraining order has remained in effect until the three-judge panel makes its decision on the legality of the law next week.
House Bill 17 named the Superintendent to serve as the head of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), a duty formerly entrusted to the State Board of Education. This change would give the Superintendent the power to administer DPI’s funds and enter into contracts for DPI operations. He would control administrative and supervisory staff appointed to DPI, and would have the power to fire them in accordance with state law. These were duties previously given to the State Board, but the State Board had the ability to fire staff “for cause,” rather than simply in accordance with state law.
The Superintendent would be able to direct and control “all matters relating to the direct supervision and administration of the public school system.” Previously, he would only have the powers delegated to him by the State Board. He could also “create and administer special funds within the Department of Public Instruction to manage funds received as grants from nongovernmental sources.” Previously, the State Board administered these funds.
In January 2017, Superintendent Johnson indicated that he would join the lawsuit.
For more information on this lawsuit, view the following articles:
Earlier this year, State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey and Superintendent Johnson were guests on separate episodes of Education Matters to talk about pressing issues in public education, including this lawsuit. To view Chairman Cobey’s discussion of the proposed cuts to the state education agency and the Board’s ongoing power struggle and legal battle with the General Assembly and State Superintendent, click here. To view Superintendent Johnson’s discussion of the class size debate, the State Board lawsuit, his listening tour and why he’s focusing on early literacy, click here.
Potential Teachers May Get a Full Ride – If They Teach the Right Subject
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, News & Observer.
College tuition could come free of charge for students headed for careers teaching science, math or special education in North Carolina classrooms. State lawmakers are headed toward reviving – in more limited form – the N.C. Teaching Fellows Program that offered forgivable loans to education students until 2015.
It’s a program that helped educators like Shanta Lightfoot. Coming to N.C. State University in Raleigh from her home in Elizabeth City, Lightfoot said she had some initial fear of how big the university was. Teaching Fellows provided support and connections. As part of the program, she took trips to schools around the state, preparing her for her first job, at Ligon Middle School in Raleigh.
“When I got in the classroom, I wasn’t afraid about what I could do,” Lightfoot said. “That first-year fear wasn’t there … I was naturally comfortable with my students and I think that showed in my teaching.”
The 2008 N.C. State graduate received about $26,000 in scholarships as a teaching fellow.
A state budget compromise plan announced Monday in the General Assembly provides several million dollars for a new version of the program. If lawmakers approve a bill creating the program, it would loan as much as $8,250 per year to each of 160 students who commit to being teachers in special education or in science, technology, engineering and math classes. The loans would pay for two to four years of college as students pursue a degree or teacher’s license from one of five designated public or private universities.
The state would forgive a year of the loan for every two years the recipient teaches in North Carolina – or one year of forgivable loans for a single year at a school the state recognizes as “low performing.”
The original program was created in 1986 and funded by the General Assembly to address a teacher shortage. It 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. During the program’s existence it graduated more than 8,500 students and took students from all 100 North Carolina counties.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
Adams, M. “Potential teachers may get a fully ride – if they teach the right subject.” The News & Observer. 6/21/17.
Tweak to Educator Preparation Bill Could Favor Texas Organization
The House K-12 Education Committee changed Senate Bill 599 this week in a way that could create a faster path for certain types of teacher preparation organizations to enter the state. One such group, Teachers of Tomorrow, previously tried and failed to gain concessions from the Senate bill sponsor that would allow it to enter the state sooner.
The bill allows organizations other than universities to operate educator preparation programs in North Carolina. The Senate bill’s sole sponsor, Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, received $5,000 from Texas Teachers of Tomorrow in the month prior to the start of the 2017 long session of the General Assembly.
Barefoot said he did not solicit the donation and has never heard of the person who gave him the donation on behalf of the Texas Teachers of Tomorrow — its president Vernon Reaser.
In the House K-12 Education Committee this week, a proposed committee substitute (PCS) to the bill establishes a pilot program that could create an opening for Teachers of Tomorrow to begin in North Carolina as soon as the fall.
Under the original version of SB 599, the State Board could give initial approval for educator preparation programs no later than March 1, 2018. Organizations who receive the approval would be able to start accepting students in the 2018-19 school year.
The revised bill, given approval in the House committee, keeps the bulk of Barefoot’s language but adds more provisions. One would direct the State Board to create a three-year Educator Preparation Pilot Program that would start operation in the 2017-18 school year and could include two programs.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
Granados, A. “Tweak to educator preparation bill could favor Texas organization.” EducationNC. 6/21/17.
NC to Offer Debit Cards for Disabled Students’ Tuition. Fraud Was Found in Arizona’s Program
Taxpayer money will be loaded onto debit cards for families to pay disabled children’s private-school tuition and other education expenses under a new state plan. Supporters say these education savings accounts, which give parents $9,000 a year, open more options to disabled children. Critics say the system is ripe for fraud and provides no assurances that students will receive a good education.
Five other states have laws allowing education savings accounts, according to EdChoice, a pro-school-choice group. In one of them, Nevada, its legislature put no money into the savings accounts this year.
The provision allowing for the education accounts in North Carolina is included in the state budget.
The state already has taxpayer-funded grants for special-needs students that pay up to $8,000 a year and a voucher program paying up to $4,200 a year for children whose families meet income guidelines.
Eligible families could receive both of those grants as well as the new $9,000 savings account, said Darrell Allison, executive director of Parents for Education Freedom, a group that worked to get all three programs. “That’s a family getting over $21,000 for the education of their children,” he said.
To qualify for the $8,000 grants, students must need special education. The $9,000-a-year savings accounts are open to children who have disabilities even if they don’t need special instruction.
Students would also be able to use the savings account money to attend private school part time if they are enrolled part time in public school, Allison said. The guidelines are “trying to give parents the opportunity to have that customized education” for children with special needs, he said.
Arizona was the first state to use education savings accounts. An audit there last year found that some parents were using the money for purchases that had nothing to do with education. In one instance, a parent spent $300 at a grocery store, according to the audit. Two parents spent $3,600 on books and other educational materials, then returned those items for store gift cards they used to buy a snow globe, a sock monkey, a Walking Dead board game and other items.
Parents who ran private schools used the accounts to pay themselves, the audit found. The Arizona law did not explicitly prohibit that practice.
The Arizona audit found $102,600 misspent over six months.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Bonner, L. “NC to offer debit cards for disabled students’ tuition. Fraud was found in Arizona program.” The News & Observer. 6/20/17.
Budget Benefits Current State Retirees, But Dings Future Ones
State retirees are celebrating the inclusion of a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment, the first in several years. But another group of retirees will lose out – those people who don’t work for the state yet.
Tucked deep into the 438-page state budget is a provision stating that state employees hired four years from now will not receive health benefits from the state once they retire after decades of service.
The provision on page 406, not obvious at first, changes the definition in an old law to redefine an eligible retiree as someone who “earned contributory retirement service… prior to January 1, 2021 and did not withdraw that service.”
The only way to know what that means is to dig into the old law being changed, and realize this small change makes anyone hired after that date ineligible for retiree health benefits.
It doesn’t matter for anyone now, but it could matter when it comes time to recruit future workers.
“Retirement benefits are the cornerstone to recruitment and retention of good employees and it has been for many, many years,” said Richard Rogers from the N.C. Retired Governmental Employees’ Association. “It’s not competitive with the benefits that are offered.”
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Hoban, R. “Budget benefits current state retirees, but dings future ones.” North Carolina Health News. 6/22/17.
Teachers are Bailing Out of High-Poverty Schools. Some Say That Needs to Change
Amanda Hall won the Wake County school system’s 2016 First-Year Teacher Award when she was a math teacher at East Garner Middle School. A recent Wake County report found that beginning teachers, on average, are assigned lower-achieving students and are more likely to be hired at high-poverty schools.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Alexander, News & Observer.
By the time most Wake County students return to class in August, a fifth of their teachers will likely have either changed schools in Wake or left the school district entirely.
The annual turnover among Wake’s 10,000 teachers creates challenges in which beginning teachers get more lower-scoring students than experienced educators do – and high-poverty schools have higher teacher turnover.
Now school leaders want to re-examine how teachers are assigned and allowed to transfer between schools.
“You’re at 20 percent as an average of change occurring,” Wake Superintendent Jim Merrill recently told school board members. “That’s a lot of moving parts on average across all our schools.”
Some of Wake’s most vulnerable students won’t get the help they need if they’re assigned to less-experienced teachers who are still learning their jobs, advocates say. Research shows that beginning teachers are less effective at raising student achievement.
Students at high-poverty schools will see less stability in their education if their teachers are leaving at higher rates to work in more affluent schools.
Census: North Carolina’s Population Getting Older, More Diverse
North Carolina’s population is getting older and more diverse, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
North Carolina’s median age – where half the population is younger and half the population is older – jumped from 37.4 to 38.7 between 2010 and 2016, making it the 20th oldest state – tied with Kentucky and Tennessee, according to estimates released Thursday. Utah was the youngest state, at 30.8, while Maine was the oldest, at 44.6.
During that time, Hispanics of all races became a larger portion of North Carolina’s population, while the proportion of whites decreased and blacks held steady. In 2016, Hispanics made up 9.2 percent of the population, up from 8.4 percent in 2010.
Whites remain the largest race at 63.5 percent last year, down from 65.3 percent in 2010. Blacks accounted for about 21.3 percent.
The Hispanic population grew by 127,000 statewide since 2010, to an estimated 932,221. Duplin County in the eastern part of the state has the largest proportion of Hispanics, at 21.9 percent, while Gates County in the northeastern part of the state has the lowest at about 1.5 percent.
Student Vouchers Aren’t Working. Here’s Why.
While vouchers appear to be enjoying a higher profile with Betsy DeVos as the U.S. Secretary of Education, the research on outcomes from these programs has taken a dramatic turn, one at odds with the direction DeVos and other policymakers are pursuing.
But that has all changed. In April, the Institute of Education Sciences released a rigorous study showing that the congressionally mandated Opportunity Scholarship Program in the nation’s capital caused significant negative effects on student learning. Students who used vouchers through the program to attend private schools in Washington experienced a 7-percentile-point decline in mathematics and an almost 5-percentile-point decline in reading compared with students who applied to, but were randomly rejected from, the program.
This report follows recent research on voucher programs in Louisiana, Ohio, and Indiana, all producing large, negative effects on learning for voucher students. In Louisiana, an average student using a voucher would end the first year of the program falling from the 50th to the 34th percentile in math. If the student was in 3rd through 5th grade, he or she would end the year even lower, at the 26th percentile. The impact of participation in Ohio’s EdChoice program was “unambiguously negative across a variety of model specifications, for both reading and mathematics,” according to a study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute last year. Similar negative findings are reported for Indiana’s statewide voucher program, the largest in the nation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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)
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.
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.