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The Friday Report

May 3, 2019

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Forum News

Teachers March on Raleigh to Ask for More Support for Their Students

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Educators begin the march from the North Carolina Association of Educators to the state capitol. Photo credit: Lindsay Wagner, The Public School Forum of NC.

By Lindsay Wagner

A group of Wayne County educators stood alongside the North Carolina Association of Educators’ building on South Salisbury Street Wednesday morning, just seven teachers of thousands who were in Raleigh to march to the state capitol and ask for better learning conditions for their students. Fourth grade teacher Kathy Drew stepped away from her colleagues to explain why she decided to take a personal day to come speak with her lawmakers.

“My students are worth it,” said Drew. “They have so many unfulfilled needs, and only by the grace of God are we able to meet some of them. But our state leaders must provide more if we want to really serve all of our students.”

For the second year in a row, teachers, counselors, school nurses, administrators, and supporters descended on Raleigh, this time to rally for more student support personnel, increased wages for non-certified personnel and retirees, Medicaid expansion, restoration of master’s degree pay and reinstatement of retiree health benefits for new teachers hired in 2021.

All of these asks boil down to improving classroom conditions. The common themes voiced by teachers on Wednesday: class sizes have grown unmanageable in grades 4 through 12, hampering teachers’ ability to meet students’ academic and social-emotional needs. And schools are grappling with insufficient numbers of nurses, counselors, psychologists and social workers to cope with the complex challenges that their students face today.

Drew says most of her fourth grade colleagues have as many as 30 children or more in their classrooms.

“Our classrooms are packed with students, and we don’t have teacher assistants dedicated to one classroom anymore — we all share them,” said Drew. In 2017, state lawmakers reduced class sizes in grades K-3. Working with constrained budgets, districts have had to expand upper grade classrooms — which have no cap — to satisfy the class size mandate. Compound this problem with the fact that lawmakers have decreased funding for elementary teacher assistants over the past decade; current funding levels are around 20 percent less than what they were before the Great Recession.

“And the entire school shares just one nurse with another school. I administer medicine to my students myself,” said Drew. “It’s just become too hard to teach 32 students and meet all of their physical and emotional needs, not to mention their academic ones.”

Cary High School English teachers Alison Davies and Gail Stevens said they came to Raleigh because they want their lawmakers to understand that the students they try to educate today come to the classroom with complex and often unmet needs.

“We have one social worker for our entire high school of roughly 2,500 kids,” said Stevens. “We only have four counselors. Many of our class sizes are nearly 40 children.”

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High school English teachers from Wake and Cumberland counties participate in the May teacher rally. Photo credit: Lindsay Wagner, The Public School Forum of NC.

In North Carolina, the ratios of students to support personnel — school nurses, counselors, social workers and psychologists — are nowhere close to the recommendations released by national school support professionals’ organizations.

The National Association of School Psychologists recommends a ratio of psychologists to students of 1:700; in North Carolina the ratio is closer to 1 psychologist for 2,100 students. In 2018, there were 13 school districts that didn’t have even one school psychologist employed. This trend continues for school counselors – the statewide ratio is 1:386, higher than the recommended 1:250 counselor to student ratio.

Prior to Wednesday’s teacher rally, Senate leader Phil Berger downplayed the need for more support personnel in schools, saying that North Carolina’s ratio is still above the national average, even if it doesn’t meet the recommended ratio set by a national organization.

Stevens said that despite what Senator Berger says, in her school, it’s absolutely not enough: students’ medical and emotional challenges are profound, and educators are expected to cope with a gamut of problems while relying on little support to do so.

“In just one morning, we had a student had a seizure in one classroom, then another student had a seizure in a separate classroom, and we also had a code red lockdown,” said Stevens.

“And one of these students has had multiple seizures this year, and he isn’t medicated. His parents also don’t want us to call 911 when he does have a seizure. We are left to believe that the family can’t afford to address his chronic illness,” said Stevens.

“Not only do we need more support in our schools — we also need to expand Medicaid,” said Laura Booth, also an English teacher but in Cumberland County. “It’s an education issue, too.”

North Carolina is one of 14 states that opted out of expanding Medicaid back in 2014. While Medicaid expansion wouldn’t make children currently coming from low-income households newly eligible, many children who are able to be covered by Medicaid are not insured because their parents don’t realize they are eligible, often because the parents themselves don’t qualify. Once parents become eligible and sign up for coverage, their children become insured too, according to the North Carolina Justice Center.

Medicaid expansion would also cover more parents and some school workers, paving the way for school staff to be at their best when educating and children’s home lives to become more stable thanks to improved parental health. Improved academic outcomes are a byproduct of Medicaid expansion, say educators.

As teachers converged on the legislative complex, the march culminated in a rally outside of state capitol at which Governor Roy Cooper, the Reverend Dr. William Barber II and other speakers encouraged educators to make their voices heard.

At the same time, educators filed into the General Assembly to meet with lawmakers and lay their concerns on the table, on a day when lawmakers in the House slogged through an hours-long appropriation meeting in an effort to pass a state budget proposal that would provide teachers with raises along with a host of other education-related legislation.

In a press conference the day before, House leadership promised an average 4.8% raise to teachers in the first year of their budget proposal. But after teachers boarded buses to return home to their families, in the waning hours of the day the House unveiled its teacher pay plan, which would delay those raises six months, until January 2020, and only offer them to teachers in years 16 and beyond of their careers.

The budget also kept a provision that would essentially rule out another teacher rally taking place in North Carolina ever again: it does this by making it nearly impossible for schools to close on days of teacher protests and makes it difficult for individual teachers to secure approval of leave requests for teacher protests — they would have to have a confirmed substitute in place (a big challenge) at least five days in advance.

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Guilford County third grade teacher Sharon Rothenberg. Photo credit: Lindsay Wagner, The Public School Forum of NC.

Guilford County veteran third grade teacher Sharon Rothenberg said prior to last year, she had never protested for anything in her life, and the experience has left her feeling empowered.

“Our lawmakers and policymakers here in Raleigh really don’t have a sense of what is needed in the classroom in order to differentiate instruction like they are asking us to do,” said Rothenberg. “We need to find a way to make the General Assembly understand what we need to help students succeed. And we are here, doing it, in a peaceful way.”

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Legislative Update

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Public School Forum of North Carolina

Highlights of the FY 2019-21 House Budget Proposal, Education Provisions

as of Thursday, May 2, 2019

Money Report Link (May 1 version)

Budget Bill (HB966, May 1 PCS, without amendments)

It’s budget season, and the House released and amended their budget proposal over the course of the past week. It passed a second reading on the floor of the House 61-54 on Thursday with final approval expected Friday. Below, we break down the key components.

K-12 Educator Pay

Proposed raises for teachers, which were announced with very little detail in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, on the eve of the teacher march, were later revealed Wednesday evening to only apply to veteran teachers and would not take effect until January 2020. The current pay scale would stay in place until then. Principal pay will continue to be linked to school size, but the House budget proposal also links pay to years of experience and includes additional bonuses related to school growth.

The details (beginning in January 2020)

  • Beginning Teacher Base Pay: $35,000 (no change from last year)
  • Teacher Pay for those in years 0-15: No change; same as current salary schedule with step increases that were enacted last year.
  • Teacher Pay for those in years 16-29: new step increases of $500 each year
  • Base pay for veteran teachers on step 30 and above: $60,500
  • Reinstates advanced (master’s) degree pay, based on the 2013 “M” Salary Schedule
  • Small County Signing Bonus for Teachers: For counties that receive small county supplemental funding. Bonuses shall be provided to eligible employees who are employed by an eligible employer and matched on the basis of one dollar ($1.00) in State funds for every one dollar ($1.00) in local funds, up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) in State funds.
  • Reported Estimate for Average Teacher Pay by 2020: $55,600
  • Overall Percentage Pay Increases:
  • Teachers: 4.6% in year one of biennium (6.3% total over the two years)
  • Asst Principals: 6.3% in year one of biennium
  • Principals: 10% in year one of biennium (principal salary schedule will be connected to teacher salary schedule)
  • Non-certified school staff & central office personnel: 1% raise or $500, whichever is greater, in year one

Teacher Leave/Protests

A new provision in the House budget would make it nearly impossible for schools to close on days of teacher protests and make it difficult for individual teachers to secure approval of leave requests for teacher protests — they would have to have a confirmed substitute in place (a big challenge) at least five days in advance.

Principal Preparation

The House proposed to repeal the transfer of administration of the Transforming Principal Prep Program to the Principal Fellows Program. This move would prevent the program being moved out of the NC Principals and Asst. Principals Association.

Advanced Teaching Roles

The budget proposes additional funding to expand the Advanced Teaching Roles program. The revised net appropriation for Advanced Teaching Roles is $2M in FY 2019-20 and $3M in FY 2020-21.

Teaching Fellows

A provision in the House budget proposes to expand the new iteration of the NC Teaching Fellows program from five institutions to eight, and notes that they should represent a diverse selection of both postsecondary institutions. No clarity was given on what the members mean by “diverse selection.” Representative Craig Horn, when asked by a reporter, noted that the one of the new institutions would “probably” be an HBCU.

Classroom Supplies Teacher App

Superintendent Mark Johnson’s controversial classroom supply bill was included in the House budget. Johnson’s initial proposal would have redirected the bulk of state funds for classroom supplies out of district budgets and into the hands of teachers by way of a mobile app called ClassWallet. The allocation was initially set at $400/teacher, however an amendment proposed by Rep. Fraley later passed, lowering the amount that would go to teachers to $145. The amendment leaves the $47 million in state funds that goes to districts intact, and instead allocates an additional $15 million to fund the $145 per teacher for supplies to be used through ClassWallet.

Infrastructure

While the House proposed $1.5 million towards the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF), this money targets mostly UNC system. A portion complements parts of the planned bond. House leadership says that the bond is still on the table for K-12 in the form of a separate bill, but it is absent from their budget and details remain unclear.

Textbooks and Digital Resources

No new appropriations were included for textbooks and digital resources, which are still funded at roughly $73 million. Some funding was added to keep nonrecurring appropriation from last year going.

Instructional Materials Selection

The House budget includes the entirety of HB 315, which would transfer the responsibility for selection and adoption of school instructional materials (including textbooks and digital resources) from the State Board of Education to local school boards. Local boards would be able to select and adopt any instructional materials that align with the standard course of study to use in their schools — and would also allow groups or individuals– including parents, teachers, and any other citizen– to challenge the choices of curricular materials if they are perceived to be “unfit.” This budget would require districts to give adequate notice and hold a public hearing related to instructional material selection. This language makes it easier for families to object to sexual education in schools.

Financial Literacy Instruction

A new provision in the proposed budget would require that all students receive instruction on financial literacy prior to graduation. The proposal outlines the components of financial literacy that are would be required as part of these courses, and calls on the State Board of Education to determine any other components. Representative Garrison presented an amendment that would require that the wealth gap with emphasis on racial disparities and the role of federal, state, and local policies in creating or contributing to the wealth gap be added as a minimum requirement in this course. However, Representative Horn openly and strongly spoke out against this amendment stating that race, while an important topic, did not need to be considered in this course. Garrison’s amendment failed.

A-F School Grades

The initial House budget proposed changes A-F school grading formula to 50% growth and 50% achievement and made permanent the 15-pt grading scale. Representative Hurley later put forth an amendment that passed, making the proposed school grading formula to be 51% achievement and 49% growth.

Read to Achieve

The House proposed a provision that would open up the number of vendors able to provide third grade reading assessments from one to three.

School Safety

School Safety is at the forefront of most educators’ and parents’ minds these days, and was a key area of focus for the teacher march on May 1. Below are the proposed changes to school safety funding that made it into the House budget:

  • School Mental Health Support Personnel: Provides funding ($19M non-recurring year 1, $30M recurring year 2) for public school units to employ, contract with, and/or train school mental health support personnel as well as to contract for other health support services.
  • School Resource Officers: Provides additional funding for the employment and/or training of school resource officers. The revised net appropriation for these grants is $15 million non-recurring in FY 2019-20 and $19.7 million recurring in FY 2020-21.
  • School Safety Equipment Grants: Provides funding for the purchase of safety equipment for government-owned buildings and related training. $3M nonrecurring first year, $6M recurring second year.
  • School Safety Training Grants: Provides funding to allow LEAs to contract with community partners who provide training to help students develop healthy responses to trauma and stress. $3M non-recurring year one; $6M recurring year two.
  • Students in Crisis Grants: Provides funding to allow LEAs to contract with community partners who provide evidence-based crisis services to students. $2M non-recurring first year, $4.6M recurring second year.
  • Behavioral Threat Assessment Teams: $2 million would go to the State Bureau of Investigation to create a behavioral threat assessment team to head off potential mass shootings.

NC Pre-K

The House Budget proposed funding for 1,700 more slots in 2019-20 and 1,700 in 2020-21, for a total of 3,400.

Virtual Pre-K

The House also included language from H485, which would create a three year Virtual Early Learning Pilot Program — UPSTART — to offer an online platform for at-risk, preschool-age children to develop school readiness skills. This proposal has been widely panned by early childhood advocates and those who caution against excessive screen time for children below the age of five. This proposal included $1 million non-recurring funds for the pilot. However, a recently approved amendment by Rep. Carla Cunningham strips the funding from the Virtual Pre-K Pilot program and instead adds the designated $1 million to the Department of Public Instruction’s Students in Crisis grants. These grants are intended to increase school safety by providing evidence-based and evidence-informed crisis services and training to help student develop healthy responses to trauma and stress.

Class Size & Arts Requirement

The House budget would allow districts to spread out program enhancement teacher funding over grades K-12; current statute allows only for grades K-5. It also would change the allotment ratio for program enhancement teachers for kindergarten through twelfth grade to be one teacher per 140 students (was 1:191). This language is coupled with the arts education graduation requirement, in which students must complete an art class at some point between grades 6 and 12.

School Vouchers

The budget proposal weakens already lacking accountability for private schools receiving voucher funds by removing language that requires schools that have more than 25 voucher students to make public their students’ standardized test scores on the aggregate. The state can still audit the schools to ensure they are administering assessment tests, but the outcomes no longer have to be made public. In addition, the bill strikes language that requires the agency to file annual reports with the General Assembly and the Department of Public Instruction that details the learning gains or losses of students receiving vouchers, and the competitive effects on public school performance on standardized tests as a result of the voucher program. It also eliminates a third party evaluation of the OSP that would produce said annual reports.

The proposal also expands eligibility for vouchers by allowing some children already enrolled in a private school to receive vouchers, but does not increase the budget by doing so. Moreover, it diverts unspent voucher dollars to the Division of Nonpublic Education ($2.5 million) for that agency to collect data on private schools and maintain a website, in the spirit of helping families select which private school is best for them. Also diverts $500,000 to a private nonprofit for marketing and advertising of the OSP — probably intended for Parents for Educational Freedom (PEFNC)

And finally, the House budget combines special education voucher programs — Disabilities Grant and Education Savings Accounts would be combined into a new “Personal Education Student Account.” Award amounts would not exceed $8,000 annually, unless the student has one or more of the following disabilities: autism, hearing impairment, moderate or severe intellectual or developmental disability; multiple, permanent orthopedic impairments; or visual impairment, in which case award amounts can be up to $17,000 annually. All funds can be placed on a debit card and up to $4,500 can be carried over annually. Expenses are limited to tuition and fees at a private school and qualifying expenses, such as educational therapies, technology, transportation and more.

Charter Schools

Language included in the House proposal would broaden charter school sibling priority and extend priority to children of employees that are contracted by the charter school; no funding change associated with this provision.

Lab Schools

The budget would reduce the size of lab school program from nine schools to six; terms of operation after initial five years can be extended an additional five. The proposal also includes language that lab schools should reasonably reflect the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic composition of the LEA in which they are located.

School Funding Formula

A notable but largely undiscussed provision in the budget authorizes DPI to issue RFPs by September 15, 2019, to independent research organizations to conduct an evaluation of the current funding system for public schools, and to propose an alternative weighted student funding formula. The organization must be selected by December 15, 2019 and its report must be submitted by December 30, 2020. The study would include:

  • review of the current allotment system
  • review of alternative funding systems for public and charter schools, including weighted student funding models.
  • suggested base amount of funds per student to provide a sound basic education
  • student characteristics that could be eligible for weighted student funding and suggested weights for each characteristic
  • suggested adjustment to the base funds in relation to characteristics of LEAs or groups of LEAs with similar characteristics
  • consideration of which funding components should remain outside of the base amount of funds distributed per student
  • suggestions for improving the system of distributing state funds to public schools to maximize equity, transparency, and adequacy and minimize complexity and inefficiency
  • estimated fiscal impact of alternative funding system on public schools, including positive and negative outcomes on both LEAs and charter schools

House Budget Would Shred the Small Amount of Accountability that Exists for the School Voucher Program

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By Lindsay Wagner

Since its inception, North Carolina’s school voucher program has suffered from a stunning lack of transparency and accountability that should safeguard the public’s investment in private schools.

The voucher program already makes public dollars accessible to private schools that are free to discriminate by turning away students who are gay or transgender, have disabilities, or who don’t subscribe to a religious doctrine. Voucher schools are also allowed to teach any kind of curriculum they choose—including including ones that fail to meet high standards. And the lion’s share of voucher schools don’t have to explain to the public how they manage the tax dollars they receive.

Already among the weakest nationally in terms of accountability, North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, as it is formally known, needs more transparency, not less. Yet despite this, House lawmakers released a budget last week that signaled their intention to do just the opposite by removing one of the very few requirements in law that does offer taxpayers a modicum of accountability: the provision that some voucher schools must tell the public how their students are performing academically.

All North Carolina private schools must administer a nationally normed standardized test of their choosing once per year in certain grades, and it appears that practice would have to continue under this House budget provision. But there has been an additional requirement that schools with 25 or more voucher students (nearly a third of all private voucher schools) must make those standardized test results on the aggregate a public record–and that one is on the brink of extinction.

Because a school can choose which standardized test to administer, comparing student outcomes between schools hasn’t provided the public a whole lot in the way of transparency and accountability. Looking at test results between a school that administers the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and a school that administers the TerraNova doesn’t give you a good understanding of which school is doing a better job of ensuring students are progressing toward academic goals because those outcomes aren’t comparable. But the requirement has at least provided a glimpse into how students have fared at the state’s larger voucher schools.

House lawmakers want to get rid of this requirement, and in its place create a Nonpublic School Information Dashboard that would include a brief summary of a voucher school’s standard testing protocol, including the specific tests and assessments used by the school (but not outcomes); graduation rates of the students who receive vouchers (there are no uniform standards for graduation, by the way); and information on the school’s accreditation status (accreditation is not a requirement to receive taxpayer dollars).

Schools are free to voluntarily post more information to the public, if they so choose–but they would not be required to do so.

The House budget includes a few other proposed changes to the Opportunity Scholarship Program that raise concern:

  • Would enable unspent voucher dollars to be redirected to a nonprofit organization for marketing and advertising to promote the voucher program ($500,000);
  • Would enable unspent voucher dollars to be redirected to the Division of Nonpublic Education for data collection from nonpublic schools and to maintain a web site to provide information to students and parents to assist them in the selection of private schools;
  • Strikes language that currently requires the agency overseeing school vouchers to file annual reports with the General Assembly and the Department of Public Instruction that detail the learning gains or losses of students receiving vouchers, and the competitive effects on public school performance on standardized tests as a result of the voucher program; and
  • Eliminates a third party evaluation of the program intended to produce annual reports.

Instead of shielding the public from knowing how students perform academically at private, taxpayer-funded voucher schools, House lawmakers could have done better. How? Require private voucher schools to develop standards for the curricula they adopt and administer either state assessments or limit the number of nationally-normed tests private voucher schools can use to three that are highly regarded. This would allow researchers to compare voucher and public school students’ academic performance in a meaningful way.

And while the House budget still requires private voucher schools receiving more than $300,000 annually in taxpayer dollars to undergo a financial review that is submitted to the state and made public, that requirement only captures a small percentage of the schools that currently receive public dollars, and a review is not nearly as rigorous as a financial audit.

The largest recipient of private school vouchers, Trinity Christian School, has been embroiled in a scandal in which nearly $400,000 in taxpayer funds were embezzled by the school’s basketball coach. It’s more important than ever to ensure private voucher schools are fiscally accountable, too, as the state continues to be on track to spend roughly $1 billion on the voucher program during its first ten years of operation.

The lack of transparency and accountability for publicly-funded private schools is a real head scratcher when you consider how closely the state scrutinizes public schools. The General Assembly sets the precise date that all public schools must start and end the school year, and the number of instructional hours each year must include. The state created and mandates dozens of standardized tests starting as early as pre-K, the results all publicly reported. The finances and academic outcomes of public schools are held to a very high standard by state leaders every day, and at a time when public school state investments fall well short of where they were a decade ago, when adjusted for inflation and student growth. Yet for some reason, we don’t expect the same for our private schools, in which we are investing more and more state dollars in the name of better educational options. It’s past time that North Carolina does better — families and taxpayers have a right to know.

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].

Education Matters

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Education Matters is pre-empted this weekend on WRAL-TV. We’ll be airing an encore of our recent episode where Governor Roy Cooper joins us to talk about his education priorities and what he hopes to accomplish over the next two years. To read about last week’s special 100th episode: How Do We Keep Our Children Safe?, click here.

Next week we’ll be back with new brand new episodes. On next week’s episode we’ll have our Teacher Rally recap featuring interviews from the march and dig into the NC House’s proposed education budget.

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.

State News

House Budget Delays Raises Till January Because of ‘Availability’ of Funds

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Photo Credit: WRAl.

Raises for teachers and state workers won’t kick in until next year under the House’s proposed 2019-20 state budget because the state doesn’t have enough money to pay for them just yet.

The House is expected to cast votes Thursday and Friday on its $23.9 billion spending plan.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Burns, M. “House budget delays raises till January because of ‘availability’ of funds” WRAL. 5/1/19

New Website Provides Deeper Dive on N.C. School Finances

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N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, pictured here in his office.Photo Credit: Don Carrington, Carolina Journal.

The Department of Public Instruction has unveiled a new tool for shedding light on state education funding.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced Thursday, April 25, the launch of North Carolina School Finance, a website offering data on how public education money spent across school districts.

To continue reading the complete press release, click here.

Excerpt from:

Marchello, L. “New website provides deeper dive on N.C. school finances” Carolina Journal. 4/26/19.

NC Lawmakers Want to Shut Down Future Teacher Rallies on School Days

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On Wednesday May 16, 2018, the opening day of the legislative session, educators and their supporters from across the state traveled to Raleigh to demand more funding for public education.Photo Credit: Julia Wall, News & Observer.

Some state lawmakers want to prevent North Carolina school districts from being able to cancel classes in the future to allow teachers to take off work to protest the legislature.

The state House Education budget released on Friday would change state law to say that schools can’t give permission for teachers to use personal leave on a school day unless they can confirm that a substitute teacher is available. School districts have cited the lack of substitutes to cancel classes, both for last year’s mass teacher rally and the one scheduled for May 1 in Raleigh.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K . “NC lawmakers want to shut down future teacher rallies on school days” News & Observer. 4/26/19

For the Second Year, Teachers March Through Raleigh Demanding More Education Funding

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For the second year in a row, North Carolina educators marched en masse to the legislature in Raleigh on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 to demand more funding for public education from state lawmakers. Photo Credit: Julia Wall, News & Observer.

Thousands of teachers, other school employees and their supporters marched through downtown Raleigh and then held a rally near the state legislature Wednesday, demanding that lawmakers increase funding for public education and Medicaid.

A sea of protesters wearing red filed up Fayetteville Street from the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts to the State Capitol and the Legislative Building.

They carried signs that talked about teacher pay, too much testing, the General Assembly and state school superintendent Mark Johnson. Pop culture messages abounded in their signs, from “Game of Thrones” to “Star Wars” to “The Avengers” to Ariana Grande.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K., Quillin, M., Baumgartner Vaughan, D., Johnson, A., & Polk, S. “For the second year, teachers march through Raleigh demanding more education funding.” News & Observer. 5/1/19.

Hate Out of Winston Wants African American History Classes in School District

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Photo Credit: .Pixabay, Pexels

Advocates showed up at Tuesday’s Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board meeting to push for a mandatory African American history class in the school district.

Hate Out of Winston, a group that was vocal in seeking removal of the Confederate statue from downtown Winston-Salem, organized the push for the mandatory class.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bragg, M. “Hate Out of Winston wants African American history classes in school district.” Winston-Salem Journal. 5/1/19

National News

A RedForEd Wave: Teachers in North and South Carolina Leave Classrooms in Protest

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Photo Credit: Education Week.

A sea of red swept the capitals of North and South Carolina on Wednesday, as thousands of teachers turned out to demand higher pay, more school funding, and other changes to education policy.

The protests, which forced dozens of school districts to close, are the latest in a wave of teacher activism that has been sweeping the country since last year. Teachers in both Carolinas make less than the national average of $61,730—North Carolina teachers make about $54,000 and South Carolina teachers make about $50,400, according to the National Education Association.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Will, M. “A Red4Ed wave: Teachers in North and South Carolina Leave Classrooms in Protest.” Education Week. 5/1/19

How Corporate Interests are Overtaking Well-Intentioned Goals of Personalized Learning

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Photo Credit: The Washington Post.

It’s been years now that we’ve been hearing about how “personalized learning” is the new thing in education. Actually, it isn’t.

All these years later, the marketing has only increased, and there are real consequences for schools and students, as Faith Boninger and Alex Molnar of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder explain in this post.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Strauss, V. “How corporate interests are overtaking well-intentioned goals of personalized learning.” The Post and Courier. 4/22/19.

Opportunities

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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