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The Friday Report

May 10, 2019

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Forum News

Big Announcement Coming Monday

Color of Education 2019

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Stay tuned for a BIG announcement about

Color of Education 2019

Saturday, October 26, 2019, Raleigh Convention Center

Want to be the first to know? Send us an email: [email protected]

This Week on Education Matters: Teacher Rally Recap and Exploring the House Budget

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The school year may be nearing an end, but education policymaking is heating up in Raleigh. For the second year in a row, thousands of teachers marched and rallied outside the General Assembly. At the very same time House lawmakers were passing their proposed state budget for the next 2 years including many key education provisions. This week we recap the teacher rally with our interviews from the march and then we discuss the House budget with two leading education policy experts on what’s in, what’s out and what’s next.

Guests:

  • Dr. Lauren Fox, Senior Policy Director, Public School Forum of NC (pictured above, far left)
  • Matt Ellinwood, Director, Education & Law Project, NC Justice Center (pictured above, center)

When and Where to Watch Education Matters

Saturday at 7:30 PM, WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)
|
Sunday at 8:00 AM, FOX 50 (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

Sunday at 6:30 AM and Wednesday 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 your local listings and other providers here.

Online at www.ncforum.org.

Education Matters is also available as a podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Overcast, and Google Play Music.

Without Evidence That They Are Effective, NC Senate Moves to Expand Vouchers and Virtual Charter Schools

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Photo Credit: Pixabay, Pexels.

Making an effort to rely on sound data when it comes to making decisions around spending North Carolina’s taxpayer dollars should be a no-brainer.

However, in spite of the fact that we don’t know if our publicly funded school voucher program produces positive academic outcomes for kids, Senate lawmakers passed legislation this week that would expand North Carolina’s voucher program anyway, now proposing to enable middle-income families to receive taxpayer-funded scholarships to attend private schools, too.

To qualify for a school voucher today, families must earn a household income that is less than 133 percent of the amount required to qualify for the free-and-reduced price lunch program, which is roughly $63,000 for a family of four. Senate Bill 609 would lift that eligibility threshold to 150 percent, or a little over $70,000 annually for that four person family.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Wagner, L. “Without evidence to suggest they are effective, NC Senate moves to expand private school vouchers and virtual charter school programs.” Public School Forum of NC. 5/9/19.

Legislative Update

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House Bill 895: Opportunity Gap Task Force

Sponsor(s): Blackwell; Brockman; Horn; Meyer (Primary) Ball; Beasley; Cunningham; Dahle; Fisher; Garrison; Gill; Harrison; Hawkins; Hunt; Insko; Logan; Russell; R. Smith; von Haefen

Status: Passed House, Ref to Com on Rules and Operations of the Senate

Summary: HB 895 would establish a Task Force of 14 members to study the opportunity gap, consider effective approaches and best practices from across the country to close the opportunity gap in grades kindergarten through 12, and propose a plan to reduce the opportunity gap for all subgroups by July 1, 2030. Meetings of the Task Force would begin no later than September 1, 2019, and its final report, including a proposed plan and any proposed legislation, would be due to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on or before December 1, 2020.

The 14 members would include three members of the House, three members of the Senate and other important stakeholders in the field of education, including the Superintendent of Public Instruction and chair of the State Board of Education. Once appointed, the Task Force would extend invitations to other stakeholders who could provide valuable input, including parents and of students adversely affected by the opportunity gap as well as stakeholder groups that include the Public School Forum.

This bill describes the “Opportunity Gap” as the significant disparity in the academic performance and postsecondary readiness between students by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, english-language proficiency, and urban, rural, or suburban domicile.

Usage of the term “opportunity gap” instead of the more commonly used “achievement gap” indicates that this Task Force is focused on understanding the systemic conditions that determine educational outcomes.

House Bill 798: Low-Performing Schools.

Sponsor(s):Elmore; Bell; Brockman (Primary) Gill; Lucas; R. Smith

Status: Passed House, Ref To Com on Rules and Operations of the Senate

Summary: The most notable element of HB 798 is that it will change the way in which schools are selected to become part of the Innovative School District.

The Innovative School District (ISD) was first established in 2016 through House Bill 1080, which requires that five schools in the state with the lowest performance grades be selected for takeover by the ISD. Control of districts selected for ISD would be taken from local districts and given to an outside operator, which could include for-profit or non-profit charter management organizations. Currently, the only school in the ISD is Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County.

Under current law, the State Board of Education is responsible for selecting schools that are to be considered for placement in the ISD. Qualifying schools are those that have earned an overall school performance grade in the lowest 5% of school in the year prior, served students from kindergarten through fifth grade, did not meet or exceed growth in at least one of the previous three years and was not using a continually low-performing school reform model. Districts have the option of allowing the school to be taken over by the ISD or choosing to close the school.

HB 798 would change this process completely. It would expand eligibility for ISD takeover to any Title 1 elementary or secondary school in the state. Schools characterized as among the lowest-performing 5% of Title 1 schools would be eligible for takeover. For the next four years (2019-2020 to 2022-2023), the State Board of Education would be required to select the lowest scoring school in the state for ISD takeover.

Starting in 2023-2024, qualifying schools would be transferred to the ISD after a three-year selection process. In the first year, a school that meets criteria for selection to the ISD would be placed on the “qualifying list,” and district leaders would be alerted. In the second year, schools that still meet criteria would move to an “ISD watch list,” at which point a public hearing would be held with parents and employees to provide notice and discuss plans for improvement and potential impacts of selection. In the third year, schools that still qualify would move to a “warning list,” and local school boards would be required to hold another public hearing. At the end of the third year, schools that still meet ISD selection criteria would be officially transferred to the Innovative School District.

The Innovative School District has been a controversial school reform model, and several school districts and communities that were under ISD consideration have held meetings to demonstrate their disapproval of a possible school takeover and the serious concerns over the loss of jobs and local control that would come with it. This past year, after Carver Heights Elementary School in Goldsboro was selected for ISD, the General Assembly passed legislation to allow the district to retain control after much push-back by the district and community members. Critics have also argued that the ISD is yet another effort to privatize public education and potentially shift control to for-profit companies. The new bill leaves open the potential for districts to retain control of the ISD-eligible school if the state board opts to select a consultant instead of an outside operator to run the school.

House Bill 31: Allow Durham Pub. Schools to Provide Housing

Sponsor(s): Black; Morey; Reives; Hawkins (Primary) Adcock; Autry; Clemmons; Dahle; Gill; Harrison; Holley; Insko; Meyer; Quick; B. Turner; Willingham

Status: Passed House, Ref to Com on Rules and Operations of the Senate

Summary: HB 31 would allow Durham Public Schools Board of Education to construct, provide or maintain affordable rental housing property owned by the Board or by Durham County to Durham Public School teachers or other Durham Public Schools employees and to establish reasonable rents which may include below-market rates.

This bill, if passed, would allow teachers and employees of Durham Public Schools to afford to live in Durham where affordable housing has become a pressing concern. Being able to pay a reasonable rent and live in the community in which they work may alleviate some of the strain teachers and other public school employees have been feeling while they advocate for salary increases and other pressing concerns. The ability to offer affordable housing to its employees may be a strong strategy for Durham Public Schools to recruit and retain educators.

While HB 31 would benefit teachers and public school employees of Durham Public Schools, it may exacerbate the teacher shortage that rural and less wealthy Public Schools systems are facing. Rural and low-wealth districts have already been struggling to attract and retain teacher due to their inability to provide competitive salary supplements, if this bill passes these counties, which do not have the funds to provide housing assistance or additional pay, may see even more teachers leaving their districts to move to the Triangle area.

House Bill: 924: Teacher Contract Changes.

Sponsor(s): D. Hall; Horn (Primary) Cunningham; Gill; R. Smith

Status: Passed House, Ref to Com on Rules and Operations of the Senate

Summary: HB 924 would explicitly state how much time a teacher must have already worked for a local board of education in order to be eligible for an extended employment contract. Under current law, if a teacher has been employed by a local board of education for less than three years, they are only eligible for an employment contract for a term of one year. If a teacher has been employed for three or more years, they are eligible for a contract with a term of one, two, or four years. This bill would require that teachers be employed for three consecutive years in order to be eligible for a new or renewed contract for one, two, or four years.

This bill would also require that a teacher work 120 work days in a full-time permanent position in order to be considered as having been employed for a “year.” These 120 work days would not include any approved or legally entitled leave.

2019 Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Gala

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James (Jim) and Barbara Goodmon are the recipients of the 2019 Public School Forum of North Carolina Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award. The Forum established the award in 2000 to recognize leaders who have demonstrated innovative, creative, and effective leadership for public education in North Carolina. Mr. and Mrs. Goodmon will be honored at a gala event on Thursday, May 30, at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Jim Goodmon, chairman and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company, and Barbara Goodmon, president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, have spent decades finding innovative ways to meet their community’s needs—and public education has been at the top of their agenda. As actively engaged philanthropists and changemakers, the Goodmons have promoted effective and high-quality human services for disadvantaged people and communities and spearheaded efforts to ensure North Carolina’s citizens have access to first-class early childhood education and public schools across the state.

Complimentary NC Educator Tickets

Each year the Public School Forum reserves complimentary tickets for NC educators to join us for the Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Gala. Complimentary tickets will be given on a first come, first served basis with priority given to Public School Forum program participants.

To request a ticket, fill out the form here. We will notify those selected on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Please note that filling out the request form does not guarantee you will receive a ticket. Please contact Irene Mone at 919-781-6833 ext. 102 or [email protected] with any questions.

Event Details:

Thursday, May 30, 2018

Raleigh Convention Center

6:00 p.m. Reception, 7:00 p.m. Dinner and Program

To purchase event tickets, click below.

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If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact Marisa Bryant at [email protected].

State News

Senate Lowers Performance Standards for Charter Schools, Eliminates Enrollment Cap

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Photo Credit: WRAl.

Legislation that cleared the Senate on Wednesday would allow charter schools to continue operating in North Carolina even if their students perform worse than students in traditional public schools.

Senate Bill 522, which passed on a 25-18 vote, also would eliminate an enrollment cap for the state’s two online charter schools, Connections Academy and North Carolina Virtual Academy.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Burns, M. “Senate lowers performance standards for charter schools, eliminates enrollment cap.” WRAL. 5/8/19.

Should a Family Making $70,000 Get a Private School Voucher? Some NC Lawmakers Say Yes.

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NC Senate Leader Phil Berger addressed the issue of state vouchers and the value the Opportunity Scholarship Program offers to low income families on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at The Male Leadership Academy. Photo Credit: Jeff Siner, The News & Observer.

Millions of dollars go unspent annually in a state program paying for students to attend private schools. So some North Carolina lawmakers want to expand who is eligible to receive vouchers.

The N.C. Senate voted 27-18 on Wednesday to modify the Opportunity Scholarship Program, including expanding the income eligibility requirements and eliminating the limit on the number of kindergarten and first-grade students who can be served. Much of the floor debate Wednesday was over how the bill would now allow a family of four making $71,456 a year to receive a voucher.

To continue reading the complete press release, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “Should a family making $70,000 get a private school voucher? Some NC lawmakers say yes.” The News & Observer. 5/8/19.

Wake Schools Want $48 Million More from County. They Blame Lack of State Funding.

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Wake County Superintendent Cathy Moore speaks in English and Spanish at the March 5, 2019 school board meeting about what the district is doing to protect the rights of undocumented students to get an education. Photo Credit: Wake County Schools.

Wake County Manager David Ellis wants to increase school funding by $36.5 million this year. But Wake school leaders say that increase isn’t enough to meet the district’s needs.

The Wake County school board voted Tuesday to ask county commissioners for a record $48.3 million increase in local funding — $11.8 million more than what Ellis recommended Monday. School board members acknowledged that they’re asking for a large increase but said that they need the full 10% increase to address in part what they say is insufficient state funding.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K . “Wake schools want $48 million more from county. They blame lack of state funding.” The News & Observer. 5/7/19

NC Could Require Some Low-Performing Public Schools to Be Turned Over to Private Operators

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Mike Lee, Chair of Durham’s Board of Education, spoke at an Oct. 3, 2017 event against a proposal to include Durham schools in the new Innovative School District. Under new legislation, the lowest-performing school in the state would be required to be turned over to the district. Photo Credit: Casey Toth, The Herald Sun.

Some low-performing, high-poverty North Carolina public schools could be required to be taken over by the state and turned over to a third party to run, such as a charter school operator.

The N.C. House voted 62-51 on Friday to pass a bill changing how schools are selected for the Innovative School District, a controversial program allowing state takeover of low-performing schools. The bill would require the lowest performing school in the state to be added to the program annually.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “NC could require some low-performing public schools to be turned over to private operators.” The News & Observer. 5/3/19.

Native American History Is Glossed Over in Schools, Education Advocates Say

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Sean Jones, from the Lumbee tribe, during a dance competition at the 39th Annual Guilford Native American Association Pow Wow at Country Park, on Saturday, September 17, 2016, in Greensboro, N.C.

In February, a stare-down between a Native American man beating a drum and a white teenager in a MAGA hat caused a national stir outside the Lincoln Memorial.

Three years ago, President Trump began calling U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.”

And 10 years ago, Leslie Locklear, a member of the Lumbee and Waccamaw Siouan tribes, was a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill when classmates asked if she lived in a teepee.

“As a younger Native woman, I spent countless hours explaining myself and my race,” she said. “It was both infuriating and exhausting to have the same conversation, in every class, with every new group of people, for countless semesters.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Whisnant, S. “Native American history is glossed over in schools, education advocates say.” News & Record. 5/7/19.

School Board Tackles Neighborhood Schools, Racial Bias Training

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Rebecca Trammel (standing) presented the school board with a report of recommendations to make schools more racially equitable. New Hanover County Schools is rolling out a variety of racial bias and cultural competency training for employees, starting this spring. Photo Credit: Cammie Bellamy, StarNews.

A packed agenda Tuesday evening brought redistricting, racial-bias training and an $85.3 million budget proposal before the New Hanover County Board of Education. Here’s a run-down of the top issues board members tackled:

“Neighborhood schools” debate reopened

In a reversal of long-standing board decisions, members voted Tuesday not to include the phrase “neighborhood schools” in its principles for redistricting, replacing it with what some board members saw as a less charged phrase: “close proximity.”

New Hanover County Schools is in the process of redrawing its elementary and middle school maps in an effort to better balance enrollment and create a district for the soon-to-open Porters Neck Elementary. The district is contracting with Ohio-based Cropper GIS Consulting, LLC to draft new maps.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bellamy, C. “School board tackles neighborhood schools, racial bias training.” StarNews. 5/7/19.

NC Highlight

NC State’s Kenan Fellows Program Names 2019-20 Cohort of Teacher Leaders

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On National Teacher Day, the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is pleased to announce the 27 North Carolina public school educators who have been awarded 2019–20 fellowships. This cohort of K‒12 teachers from across the state were selected from a highly qualified applicant pool of 85 educators following a competitive application process.

The educators represent 16 school districts across the state from Western to Eastern North Carolina and teach a wide range of grade levels from elementary to high school. The teachers are subject matter experts in a variety of disciplines including math, science, English as a Second Language, Language Arts and Social Studies.

To continue reading the press release, click here.

Excerpt from:

Solano, A. “Meet the 2019-20 Cohort of Kenan Fellows.” Kenan Fellows Program. 5/7/19.

National News

A Telling Story About a Charter School

Controversy in a Rural Alabama Count

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This is a story about a loud and rather unlikely controversy in a sleepy rural Alabama county over the establishment of a charter school.

While the specifics are unique to Washington County, the narrative is being repeated in states throughout the country. And the episode helps explain why the nearly 30-year-old charter movement in this country is facing a backlash even as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continues to promote it.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Strauss, V. “A telling story about a charter school controversy in a rural Alabama county.” The Washington Post. 5/3/19.

Florida to Let Teachers Carry Guns. Will Black Students Pay the Price?

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A memorial garden to honor victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Photo Credit: Saul Martinez, The New York Times.

The outcome of the vote in the Florida State House this week was a foregone conclusion: A proposal to allow teachers to carry firearms in school would easily win approval.

But that did not mean the debate would not be long and emotional, as Democrats implored Republicans in the majority to consider the possible risks — one of them being teachers with guns who might represent yet another source of risk for black and Latino students.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Mazzei, P. “Florida to Let Teachers Carry Guns. Will Black Students Pay the Price?” The New York Times. 5/2/19.

Opportunities

NCSSM Seeks Assistant Coordinator for Summer Student Engagement

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The North Carolina School of Science & Math (NCSSM) is seeking candidates for its Assistant Coordinator for Summer Student Engagement Position. This position is to support, manage, and expand NCSSM’s extended programs, including, but not limited to, already existing summer programs. With a specific focus on student recruitment, enrollment, and communication, the Assistant Coordinator for Summer Student

Engagement’s responsibilities will include:

  • Admissions and enrollment
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Site supervision
  • Program management

How to Apply:

Submit electronic application via: http://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/northcarolina/. Please create an account, search for the Assistant Coordinator for Summer Student Engagement position vacancy, and complete/submit online application. Deadline: May 20, 2019.

Public School Forum Seeks Program Coordinator

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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, Color of Education Summit, 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 [email protected] Please include “Forum Program Coordinator” in the subject line.

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

Applications Open for 2019-20 NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)

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The Public School Forum is accepting applications for the 2019-20 cohort of the North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).

The North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program is the only statewide program of its kind that focuses on leadership and professional development in the context of education policy. Fellows come from public schools, higher education, community colleges, 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. Fellows will 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.

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, 2019. Contact Lauren Bock, Director of Policy & Programs, at [email protected] with questions.

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.

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