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The Friday Report

March 3, 2017

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State News

Education Highlights

Gov. Roy Cooper’s First Budget

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Photo Credit :Walt Unks, Winston Salem Journal

Education is front and center in Governor Roy Cooper’s budget proposal, released Wednesday.

Cooper would have the state spend $13.4 billion on education — about $9.3 billion of that total on the state’s K to 12 system — with the goal of making North Carolina a “Top Ten Educated State” by 2025.

A large part of the increase Cooper’s calling for over the next two years would go toward a 10 percent raise to bring teacher salaries up to a $55,000 average by 2019 — the highlight that Cooper’s been touting for the last week.

“We have to do what we must to attract and retain (teachers),” Cooper said during a stop touting his teacher pay plan last week at Reynolds High School. “Part of that is compensation.”

Cooper’s budget would also increase school-based administrator pay by an average of 6.5 percent and all other state employees by 2 percent or $800, whichever is higher.

Cooper’s budget is largely ceremonial; the General Assembly guides spending. But it does publicly set the governor’s priorities and will provide the standard to which later proposals will be compared.

Cooper cuts an aggressive path forward for public education. It commits new monies to early childhood education for 4,700 additional N.C. Pre-K spots, provides childcare subsidies and supports restoring the Child Care Tax Credit to help families afford high-quality childcare. It would invest $30 million in education lottery funds to hire more staff — including flexible allotments that would give schools discretion to hire the positions they need most — and purchase new instructional materials. Another $10 million in lottery funds would go to “transformation services” — planning and coaching support for low-performing schools.

Cooper is using his budget to make a statement — calling to reinstate several popular proposals cut since the recession and last four years of GOP-led spending. Cooper calls for $5 million each year for digital learning professional development, expanding the summer Governor’s School program and would give teachers a $150 stipend to cover classroom supplies.

The governor’s budget would also bring back a popular education preparation program previously known as N.C. Teaching Fellows.

The Governor’s “Best and Brightest” proposal would award top students annual scholarships of $10,000 for students who commit to work in the state’s public schools for four years after graduation or for three years in low-performing schools or low-wealth schools.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Herron, A. “Cooper unveils education, budget plan.” The Winston-Salem Journal. 3/1/17.

Additional coverage of the Governor’s proposed budget can be found in the News & Observer, available here.

Forum News

This Weekend on Education Matters: Preparing the Next Generation of School Leaders

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This week’s episode of Education Matters looks at preparing the next generation of school leaders.

This week we focus on principal preparation and development. Why is principal development important, what are we doing well, what else do we need to be doing and what are the gaps and challenges in North Carolina?

Guests Include:

  • Lisa Stewart, Principal, Grays Creek High School, Cumberland County
  • Dr. Tom Williams, President, Strategic Educational Alliances
  • Dr. Bonnie Fusarelli, Director, Northeast Leadership Academy, NC State

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When and Where to Watch Education Matters

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

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

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

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

If you missed last week’s episode on our vulnerable students, you can watch it online at https://www.ncforum.org/education-matters-our-vulnerable-students/

In This Issue

Education Highlights Gov. Roy Cooper’s First Budget

This Weekend on Education Matters: Preparing the Next Generation of School Leaders

NC Legislative Update

End of an Era in School Finance Leadership

State Board of Education Votes to Close Durham’s Kestrel Heights High School

African-American Democratic Legislators Back School Choice

I Voted for School Vouchers. Now I Know I Was Wrong.

NC Charter Schools Group Names New Executive Director

Adam Levinson Named NCDPI Chief Financial Officer

Raleigh Principal Who Visits Home of Every Student on NBC News

Income Disparities Seen in Extracurricular Activity Rates for Girls

Trauma & Learning Fellow

Manager, NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP)

NC CAP Annual SYNERGY Conference

Step Up to STEM

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Student Science Enrichment Program

Position Opening for Program Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (MEITE) at UNC-CH

Journal for Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership Submissions

Public School Forum Programs

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The Joint Education Appropriations Committee met on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings this week to gain a general overview from the General Assembly’s fiscal staff on preparations to receive the Governor’s proposed budget. Given the partisan divides, legislators posed questions about what authorities the General Assembly has regarding federal funds received by state education agencies, what local flexibility exists regarding how class size allotments are funded (e.g., impact on music, art, physical education teachers in elementary grades), what prohibitions exist in state law that exclude local flexibility between K-12 allotments, and what state funding has gone to charter schools this year. These “building block” meetings led up to the receipt of the Governor’s budget on Thursday, and this Joint Committee will re-commence its own budget work on Tuesday, March 7.

HOUSE BILL 87, ESSA Plan Submission, would require the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction to use the latest possible date to timely submit the State’s Plan (Plan) to the U.S. Department of Education as required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. § 6301, et seq., as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, P.L. 114-95, (ESSA). The House Education Committee amended the bill to allow for the Plan to be submitted within the seven (7) business days preceding the final deadline. The House passed the bill and it will next be considered by the Senate Committee on Rules and Operations.

HOUSE BILL 97, Arts Education Requirement, would newly require one credit in arts education to be completed by a public school student any time within grades six through 12 for high school graduation, beginning with students entering the sixth grade in 2020. The bill easily passed the House Education Committee, then the full House, and it will next be considered by the Senate Committee on Rules and Operations.

End of an Era in School Finance Leadership

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This week marked the end of an era in state public school finance with the official retirement of Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Chief Financial Officer Philip Price. Price has been a fixture in school finance in North Carolina for nearly four decades. As the General Assembly explores Education Finance Reform (House Bill 6) including the notion of letting “the money follow the child,” through weighted student funding formulas, Price’s expertise will certainly be missed.

Even with changes across a number of state agencies in budget and finance leadership, the state continues to have strong financial leadership. Charlie Perusse, the Governor’s State Budget Director, had held that position under a prior administration and was most recently the Chief Operating Officer for the UNC System. At DPI, with Adam Levinson (pictured above with Price) becoming the agency’s new Chief Financial Officer, and Alexis Schauss continuing to serve as the Director of DPI’s Financial Business Services Division, the public school finances are in extraordinarily good hands.

Additional coverage of the Chief Financial Officer transition can be found on WRAL, available here.

State Board of Education Votes to Close Durham’s Kestrel Heights High School

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The State Board of Education has voted to close Durham’s Kestrel Heights High School. The public charter school will continue to operate with grades K-8 with a three-year charter instead of the 10-year charter it has sought.

The school reported last year that some 40 percent of its graduates over the past eight years had not taken all the state-required courses to earn a diploma.

The public K-12 charter school has been under fire since an internal investigation found that 160 of Kestrel’s 399 graduates since 2008 – about 40 percent – had not taken all the state-required courses to earn a high school diploma.

The state board discussed the school’s fate Wednesday, at which some board members seemed to lean in favor of following the Charter School Advisory Board recommendation to close the high school.

African-American Democratic Legislators Back School Choice

Several African-American Democratic lawmakers announced their support for school choice Tuesday.

Although alternatives to traditional public schools have historically been promoted by Republicans, Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, Rep. Edward Hanes, D-Forsyth, Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, D-Bertie, and Sen. Ben Clark, D-Cumberland, spoke of the importance of choice in bringing opportunities to disadvantaged students. Parents should be able to choose whatever environment leads to the success of their child, they said, including traditional public schools, charter public schools, private schools, and home schools.

“Make no mistake,” Moore said in a press conference, “the bedrock of strong communities starts with our schools, and we are here to ensure that every child — let me reiterate, every child — receives the best education possible regardless of his or her zip code or family income.”

Sen. Joel Ford, D-Mecklenburg, Rep. Elmer Floyd, D-Cumberland, Rep. Cecil Brockman, D-Guilford, and Rep. Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, also stood at the press conference. The coalition was backed by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC).

Democrats have mostly, in the past, seen public charter schools as distractors of resources and attention from struggling traditional public schools. Smith-Ingram said that mindset needs to change.

“The challenge for us is to get away from the ‘either-or’ and set our hands and tasks to ‘both-and,’” she said. “I support traditional public schools, and I support public charter schools, and I support private schools.”

Opportunity scholarships, also known as vouchers, have been attacked in particular by public school advocates — especially on the Democratic side. In this program, public money helps pay for a child to go to a private school, which critics say are not held to the same standards as public schools.

Clark addressed this concern, saying he often hears people say they don’t want their taxpayer money going to a private institution.

“But what they fail to understand is those public dollars are going to educate children who are a part of our citizenry,” Clark said. “So again, the expenditure of public funds for a public cause is a great thing, and I can think of no greater cause than the education of our children.”

Charter schools have been found to be more segregated when it comes to minority students, particularly black students. But lawmakers Tuesday said they think more options for parents — a free market in education — can only be a positive for students.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

I Voted for School Vouchers. Now I Know I Was Wrong.

By Charles Jeter, Former NC House Member

Last July, the Thomas Fordham Institute released a study on the effectiveness of vouchers (called Opportunity Scholarships in North Carolina) in educating children in comparison to public schools. This is an organization that says on its website that its Policy Priorities are, “… policies and practices leading to a lively, accessible marketplace of high-quality education options for every young American (including charter schools, magnet schools, voucher programs, and online courses)…” In short, a very pro-voucher organization.

So what did this report say that the Fordham Institute undertook, ostensibly to promote the expansion of vouchers in America? It said that vouchers have failed miserably. That’s right, a pro-voucher group had to put out a report that concluded that vouchers are failing our children. And keep in mind, this isn’t an outlier of empirical studies of vouchers’ effectiveness in educating our children. Two other recent studies (one in Indiana and another in Louisiana) came to the same conclusion.

So what does this mean for North Carolina? In 2013 the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Opportunity Scholarship Act that created the voucher program for our state. (In full disclosure, I was a member of the General Assembly at that time and did vote in favor of the legislation.) Opportunity Scholarships were pitched as a way to ensure better educational outcomes for those children who may not be thriving in public schools. At the time the legislation was passed, there were little data on the effectiveness of these programs and many legislators were encouraged by the anecdotal evidence that was available.

To continue reading the complete press release, click here.

Excerpt from:

Jeter, C. “I voted for school vouchers. Now I know I was wrong.” The Charlotte Observer. 3/2/17.

NC Charter Schools Group Names New Executive Director

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The North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools has named Rhonda Dillingham as its new executive director. Dillingham co-founded Uwharrie Charter School in Asheboro and brings a decade of teaching and leadership experience from both public charter schools and district schools, according to the group.

“Mrs. Dillingham is a perfect fit for our consolidated organization’s renewed focus on providing valuable, accessible member services to public charter schools and their teachers. Her experience as a charter school co-founder and a teacher bring great understanding of current, on-the-ground issues and needs of our members,” NCAPCS co-chair Lisa Gordon-Stella said in a statement.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “NC charter schools group names new executive director.” WRAL. 2/27/17.

Adam Levinson Named NCDPI Chief Financial Officer

The State Board of Education today hired Adam Levinson as the new Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Public Instruction. Levinson has been a member of the Department’s senior leadership team since 2007, serving as chief of staff, director of Policy and Strategic Planning, director of the Race to the Top program, chief performance officer and interim director of the Office of Charter Schools.

Before his work at the education agency, Levinson served as a fiscal analyst at the NC General Assembly for seven years. Early in his career, Levinson provided early childhood intervention and family support services in Orange, Person, and Chatham counties for four years.

“Adam is an excellent choice given the range and depth of his experience in state government finance, in K-12 education and as a fiscal analyst with the General Assembly,” said State Board Chairman Bill Cobey. “I am confident that public schools and public charter schools will be well-served through his leadership.”

The Chief Financial Officer manages nearly $10 billion in state and federal funds for education and leads an important part of NCDPI that includes financial services, and school business and support for school operations, including transportation, school facility planning and operation, school nutrition services, textbook services and insurance.

Levinson holds a bachelor’s degree in Government and Psychology from Cornell University, a master’s degree in Early Intervention & Family Support from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in Public Affairs & Urban and Regional Planning from Princeton University.

Reprinted from:

NCDPI. “Levinson Named NCDPI Chief Financial Officer.” 3/2/17.

NC Highlight

Raleigh Principal Who Visits Home of Every Student on NBC News

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Elizabeth MacWilliams, principal of Carroll Magnet Middle School, center, takes a selfie with 6th grader Nevaeh Boyd, left, and her friend and neighbor Samiya Jacobs, right, after visiting Nevaeh’s home in North Raleigh on Feb. 6, 2017.

Photo Credit: Chris Seward, News & Observer. 

A Wake County school principal who visits the homes of all 1,000 of her students was profiled on Tuesday’s edition of the NBC Nightly News.

Elizabeth MacWilliams, the principal of Carroll Middle School in Raleigh, was featured on the newscast’s “Inspiring America” segment, where viewers “meet the remarkable people who are making a positive impact on our communities and making the world a little bit better.” NBC News visited Carroll earlier this month.

“Sometimes we mistake hardworking parents,” MacWilliams said as she explained to NBC why she visits the homes of students instead of relying on parents to come to the school. “We mistake their absence for a lack of interest, and I found that’s not the case.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, T. “Raleigh principal who visits home of every student on NBC News.” The News & Observer. 2/28/17.

National News

Income Disparities Seen in Extracurricular Activity Rates for Girls

A report from the Girl Scout Research Institute finds that girls with lower socioeconomic status participate in extracurricular activities less often than their more affluent peers.

The report by the research arm of the Girl Scouts of the USA entitled “The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends,” uses data from national and government sources to take a look at girls’ well-being in the United States. The information was collected between 2012 and 2016.

While it covers a lot of ground, including demographic information, a look at the number of girls living in poverty, and the state of girls’ physical and mental health, our focus here is on girls’ participation in extracurricular and after-school activities.

Researchers found that among high school seniors, girls with lower socioeconomic status (SES) were less likely to participate in student government (6 percent versus 10 percent) and sports (17 percent versus 31 percent) than girls with higher SES backgrounds. Girls with lower SES were also less likely to do volunteer work “at least a few times a year” compared to girls who are more affluent (73 percent versus 86 percent).

The report notes that “these differences are found in activity areas that have shown to contribute to girls’ positive development.”

Public School Forum Job Opportunities

Trauma & Learning Fellow

The Forum recently began an intensive effort to support educators as they help students traumatized by exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) succeed in school.

To achieve its goals in this area, and to help launch the North Carolina Safe & Supportive Schools Initiative (NCSSSI), the Forum is seeking to hire a Trauma & Learning Fellow to work with Forum staff, consultants, and partners. The Fellow will help develop awareness among educators of the potential impact of childhood trauma on learning. He or she will also assist schools in partner LEAs as they join a growing movement of educators piloting efforts to create trauma-sensitive schools.

This full-time, one-year fellowship provides an incredible opportunity to become immersed in the interplay of trauma and learning and to actively contribute to the growth of a new and significant program. Fellowship dates are negotiable but will ideally start no later than June 2017. 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 March 15, 2017. The full job description can be found on our website here.

Manager, NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP)

The Public School Forum is currently seeking a manager to lead its North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP). Established in 2002, NC CAP works with key partners, including afterschool providers, state agencies, state and local policymakers, universities and community colleges, business, and the philanthropic community, to increase access to high-quality afterschool and expanded learning opportunities for children and youth, particularly low-income children and those at risk of educational failure. NC CAP is part of a 50-state Afterschool Network focused on improving education and out-of-school time opportunities for children and youth.

The NC CAP Manager will work with key partners to develop, lead, coordinate and drive the network’s initiatives. He or she will guide the design and delivery of professional development opportunities, advocacy, and shaping of policy that advances afterschool learning and brings together state and national afterschool stakeholders. The NC CAP Manager will also lead our annual conference, SYNERGY, the only statewide conference that brings together providers of out of school time programs, along with education and community stakeholders.

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 March 17, 2017. The full job description can be found on our website here.

Opportunities

NC CAP Annual SYNERGY Conference

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Registration is open for the NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) SYNERGY Conference. The 2017 SYNERGY Conference will be held April 3-5, 2017 at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. We invite you to join NC CAP to Spring into STEM!

This year’s conference will focus on STEM and healthy living in afterschool and expanded learning. We will continue the SYNERGY trend of engaging keynotes, a plethora of workshop opportunities, and networking with providers across the state!

Registration is online here

Step Up to STEM

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) seeks to inspire diverse populations in North Carolina to engage in STEM by offering a free one-week summer residential program for African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students.
July 16 – July 21, 2017 on the campus of NCSSM. 
For rising 9th graders, the Step Up to STEM program exists to:
  • Improve underrepresented students’ competence in science and mathematics
  • Nurture underrepresented students’ enthusiasm for science and mathematics
  • Interest students in pursuing careers in research or other science-related areas
Step Up to STEM offers a specialized and innovative interdisciplinary curriculum in science and mathematics designed to improve the student’s competence in those fields. The curriculum consists of exciting real-world science in the medical applications of cellular biology, anatomy and physiology, and applied science. Math concepts will be reinforced and used to analyze and interpret the data obtained from science experiences.
For more information and to apply to the the program, go to: www.ncssm.edu/stepup.  The application deadline is March 13, 2017.

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.

Position Opening for Program Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (MEITE) at UNC-CH

The UNC Chapel Hill School of Education (SOE) seeks an experienced professional to serve as the first Program Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (MEITE; www.meite.info), at the rank of Clinical Assistant or Associate Professor. The position begins July 1, 2017. The appointment is for a one-year term, with potential to renew for additional terms.

Additional details can be found online at https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/115437. Applications are due by March 24, 2017.

Journal for Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership Submissions

The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is accepting articles and literary reviews to be featured in the third issue of the Journal for Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership (JoITL).

The peer-reviewed publication features original work on K–12 educational topics from research to pedagogy to policy, and more.

Special consideration will be given to works that address:

  • STEM education and science literacy
  • Project and inquiry based learning
  • Teacher leadership and research experiences for educators
  • Data literacy and digital learning

Submissions will be accepted through Friday, March 31, 2017. For submission guidelines, visit kenanfellows.org/journals. Please send questions to the managing editor, Amneris Solano, at asolano@ncsu.edu.

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

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

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