State News

 

Why You Should Care About Education Even if You Don’t Have Kids

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If you have kids, you probably think about education in Charlotte a lot. It affects where you buy a house or rent an apartment. And there are so many decisions to be made — Public or private school? What about a charter or a magnet? Is this what’s best for my child?
But if you don’t have kids, and don’t work in education — or have a family member who does — you may not care about issues surrounding education in Charlotte and around the state. But you should. Why? Ask 2014-15 N.C. Teacher of the Year James Ford.
“You should care because education impacts literally every other institution,” he said. “Every social problem I look at, I can tell you how directly or indirectly it is impacted by education.”
Ford joined on this week’s back-to-school edition of the CharlotteFive Podcast.
Ford started teaching in his native Illinois in 2009. The next year he came to Charlotte and started teaching world history at Garinger High School. After just a few years in the classroom, he was named 2014-15 N.C. Teacher of the Year.
He has since left the classroom and serves as program director for the Public School Forum of North Carolina, an education research and advocacy group. During our interview — which could have gone on for several more hours because there’s so much to talk about — Ford talked about his unlikely path to becoming a teacher, the biggest problems facing education in Charlotte and North Carolina, and what he misses about being in the classroom at Garinger High.
To listen to the podcast, visit
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Excerpt from:
Coming Soon! Education Matters Premieres October 2

 

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The Public School Forum’s new weekly television program,Education Matters, is set to premiere on Sunday, October 2nd on WRAL-TV, the NBC affiliate in the Raleigh-Durham/Fayetteville market. The program aims to provide the public with real facts about the state of public education in North Carolina. The weekly television show will explore everything from the history of public education to exploring the current issues and trends affecting every school and classroom in the state. It will be hosted by Public School Forum President and Executive Director Keith Poston.
Education Matters will premiere on Sundays at 11:30 AM on WRAL-TV. The program will move to its permanent time slot, Saturdays at 7:30 PM, beginning November 26, 2016.Education Matters will also be viewable online as well, with full episodes and additional content on the Public School Forum’s web site https://www.ncforum.org/ and on WRAL at http://www.wral.com/.

 

North Carolina’s Growing Racial Divide: The Need for Championing Policies of Integration over Desegregation

In the last century, North Carolina was known as a southern state struggling to emerge from the devastation of the civil war and reconstruction. Cotton and tobacco fields gave way to expanding housing or solar arrays and abandoned textile mills transformed into vibrant technopoles. From the Charlotte-Concord-Kannapolis statistical area to the Triad and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina rebranded itself as an intellectual leader in technology, finance, and institutions of higher education.
To sustain this growth, a fully engaged educational pipeline from all sectors of the state is necessary to slake the growing thirst for personnel at these high-tech industries and businesses. These businesses thrive on creativity and diversity, elements reflected in the cultural diaspora of North Carolina as well as the disruptive demographics of the entire nation.
Despite great strides in economic progress, the long shadow of Jim-Crow era discrimination and race continues to cast a pallor on our state.
This racial divide may be readily found in our congressional districts, our cities, our neighborhoods, and in our local public schools.
The schools in Wake County were once lauded as a bastion of ethnic diversity due to carefully crafted, conscientious policies around integration. Yet today, many of North Carolina’s public schools, including those in Wake County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, are becoming increasingly racially and ethnically segregated. This tiered system of education already has had devastating downstream effects for our state.
Minority (non-white) students are left out of opportunities to engage in lucrative STEM careers and opportunities to fuel collaboration, ideas, and innovation to sustain North Carolina’s new economic sectors. A quality education for all students is imperative for the future economic success of our state. However, vital steps taken by education officials and policymakers to ensure equal access have unfortunately fallen short.
This failure is due to two major ideological misinterpretations in addressing the issue of racial segregation in our schools and crafting policy to solve it. First is a definitional issue between the terms desegregation and integration. Life-long educator and advocate Dr. Dudley Flood has described desegregation as a process, historically fueled by litigation, which brings children of different races together. Whereas integration is built from a communal mindset where all students, regardless of skin color have equal status and opportunity for a quality education. He argues that this “dual system” within schools facilitates this dichotomy, which has been evidenced for decades with disproportionate African-American representation in school discipline and remedial programs.
Student assignment plans often reflect the neighborhood school model of sourcing schools close to where students live. In North Carolina (as much of the nation), white students attend schools in rural and suburban communities apart from their city-dwelling minority peers. Without modifying the larger architecture of American housing patterns, it is evident school district boundaries will continue to replicate residential demographic patterns into schools. A voluntary change in mindset toward integration versus compulsory programs of desegregation is a fundamental component of a policy that will foster systemic and long-term success in shifting demographics of schools across North Carolina.
The second issue regards erroneously conflating race and economics. Data suggests that there are correlations between race and income, where African Americans in North Carolina possess less wealth than their white counterparts, and the black-white disparity in North Carolina is larger than the rest of the nation. Yet race matters most when it comes to a school’s demographic composition.
According a 2016 Century report by Wells, Fox, and Cordova-Cobo, students benefit from racial and ethnic diversity in schools to “better prepare students for a global society by reducing racial stereotypes and fostering cross-racial understanding” (p. 32). Yet, the authors indicated that integration strategies solely based on income dominate the integration policy landscape.
In This Issue

 

Why You Should Care About Education Even if You Don’t Have Kids

 

Coming Soon! Education Matters Premieres October 2

 

North Carolina’s Growing Racial Divide: The Need for Championing Policies of Integration over Desegregation

 

Project LIFT: Forget Miracles, Celebrate Schools’ Small Steps

 

Hickory-Area Schools Extend Partnership to Increase Dropout Age

 

Edgecombe Schools Show Improvement

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Career Awards for Science & Math Teachers

 

NC Creating Plan to Meet New Federal Education Requirements

 

NCSU Humanities Extension Program

 

World View Fall Programs

 

Journal for Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership

Public School Forum Programs

 

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Nominate an Outstanding Education Leader!

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The Public School Forum is seeking nominations for education leaders to be profiled on our new weekly TV show, Education Matters, premiering October 2nd on WRAL-TV.
Do you have a great leader in your local school? Nominate them today! We are seeking leaders who make a difference in their school each and every day.
To nominate an education leader, please fill out the form here.
Project LIFT: Forget Miracles, Celebrate Schools’ Small Steps

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Chris Triolo, executive director for Project LIFT, reviewed 2016 performance data for the nine LIFT schools at a Wednesday news conference at Ashley Park PreK-8 School. Photo Credit: Davie Hinshaw, The Charlotte Observer.

Project LIFT leaders acknowledged Wednesday that the bold goals they announced four years ago may not be realistic, but they urged people to celebrate smaller gains that make a difference for students in nine west Charlotte schools.
“Everyone thought success would be this easy incline toward the goal,” said Denise Watts, the zone superintendent who supervises West Charlotte High and its feeder schools. “In reality it’s messy. It’s difficult. You have setbacks.”
Project LIFT (for Leadership and Investment for Transformation) debuted in 2012 with roughly $50 million in pledged donations and a five-year plan to help students at high-poverty, low-performing schools log achievements that would rival the best of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The project would be driven by data and would end with 90 percent of students on grade level and 90 percent graduating on time in 2017.
Private money has been used to recruit and reward teachers, buy technology for students, extend the school calendar at two schools and provide various kinds of support for students, families and faculty.
Four years in, only the graduation goal seems within reach. West Charlotte, which had an on-time graduation rate of 54 percent in 2012, hit 86 percent in 2016.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Excerpt from:
Hickory-Area Schools Extend Partnership to Increase Dropout Age

In 2013, Newton-Conover City Schools (NCCS) and Hickory Public Schools (HPS) worked together to propose a resolution to the North Carolina State Board of Education for a pilot program meant to raise the dropout age from 16 to 18 in both their districts.
The State Board approved the resolution and the two school systems became the first in North Carolina to work with higher dropout ages.
Just a couple of weeks ago, NCCS Superintendent Dr. David Stegall found out that the North Carolina State Senate approved an extension of the pilot and added another county to it, Rutherford.
Stegall told the NCCS School Board during their meeting Monday they just need to sign-off on the new resolution.
“They just want to make sure the board is still in support of it,” Stegall said. “It’s through 2021, so they gave us an extension, which we requested…we wanted to make it permanent. They originally said three years, so this is a compromise.”
According to the Department of Labor, 17 states and the District of Columbia have already raised the minimum age at which a student is legally allowed to leave compulsory education.
In accordance with G.S. 115C-378, every parent, guardian, or custodian in North Carolina having charge or control of a student between the ages of 7 and 16 years shall cause the student to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time which the public school to which the student is assigned is in session.
“The way (the new resolution) was written in the senate law, it actually puts Hickory and Newton-Conover as one,” Stegall said. “Rutherford is by themselves and Hickory, Newton-Conover are together so our resolution has to be together, and we worked with Hickory Public to use the same wording as last time.”
Both school boards will have to approve the new resolution, sign it and then send it back to the state senate.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Excerpt from:
Edgecombe Schools Show Improvement

Edgecombe County Public Schools made significant gains in state school performance scores for the third year in a row and now has one of the best-performing schools in the state, but it still faces challenges as it teeters on the edge of becoming identified as a low-performing school district.
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction recently released data drawn from testing during the 2015-16 academic year. School performance scores are based on a formula that weights performance data on testing at 80 percent and weights growth, the measure of how much knowledge is gained in a single year, at 20 percent. These school performance scores are then converted into preliminary letter grades based on a 15-point scale.
Based on this formula, five of the district’s 14 schools improved a letter grade since the 2014-15 academic year. In other good news, three middle schools in the district posted more than a 10-point increase in school performance scores: Phillips Middle showed the most progress with a 14-point bump. West Edgecombe Middle School and Middle Martin Millennium Academy both posted 11-point gains.
Superintendent John Farrelly said he feels the improvement at the middle school level is cause for celebration.
“The school cultures — particularly at W.A. Pattillo and West (Edgecombe) — have changed dramatically. Our teachers are doing a fantastic job of meeting students where they are and engaging them with challenging learning opportunities,” Farrelly said.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
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Forum News

 

Beginning Teacher Leadership Network Accepting Applications for 2016-17

 

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The Public School Forum’s Beginning Teacher Leadership Network is accepting applications for the 2016-17 school year for Mecklenburg, Wake, and Union counties. Application links are available online at https://www.ncforum.org/beginning-teacher-leadership-network/.

 

The Beginning Teacher Leadership Network (BTLN) offers early-career teachers (1-3 years) the chance to continue their development as classroom instructors while learning how to advocate for the educational profession. Participants in BTLN meet regularly to improve their classroom practice, network with one another, and learn about state and local education policy. It offers beginning teachers the chance to grow in their pedagogical practice, as well as bolster their impact beyond the classroom. BTLN implements specific interventions to retain beginning teachers by fostering their leadership ability and leveraging the skills of veteran teachers. It is completely voluntary and intended as a supplement to the required professional development delivered by the local education agency. It takes a three-pronged approach to teacher-leadership by focusing on the areas of education policy and advocacy, cross-curricular collaboration, and professional development.

 

More questions? Check out THIS video about the BTLN or contact Forum Program Director James Ford at jford@ncforum.org.

National News

 

Divided America: In Recovery, Many Poor Schools Left Behind

 

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, students gather between classes in a lounge area overlooking an Olympic-size

pool at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill. Photo Credit: Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press.

 

Consider Waukegan and Stevenson, two Illinois school districts separated by 20 miles — and an enormous financial gulf.
Stevenson, mostly white, is flush with resources. The high school has five different spaces for theater performances, two gyms, an Olympic-size pool and an espresso bar. Meanwhile Waukegan, with its mostly minority student body, is struggling. At one school, the band is forced to practice in a hallway, and as many as 28 students share a single computer.
Last year, Stevenson spent close to $18,800 per student. Waukegan’s expenditure? About $12,600.
And the gap has only been getting wider — in the suburbs north of Chicago, and in many places across the nation. In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, school districts serving poor communities generally have been hit harder than more affluent districts, according to an Associated Press analysis of local, state and federal education spending.
The result has been a worsening of America’s rich schools, poor schools divide — and its racial divide, because many poor districts are also heavily minority. It also perpetuates the perception that the system is rigged in favor of the haves, at the expense of the have-nots — a major driver of America’s angst in this election year.
The AP found that aid to local districts from the federal government surged after the economic downturn, as part of the stimulus, but then receded. Schools were left to rely more on state funding that has not bounced back to pre-recession levels. And poorer districts that cannot draw on healthy property tax bases have been left in the lurch.
The effects vary widely across the 50 states. Each has its own unique funding formula.
For example, per-pupil spending in poorer Missouri districts fell behind richer districts in 2013 — the first time in a well over decade.
Most rich districts have seen a steady increase in revenue while poorer districts — such as Louisiana RII, a predominantly white district 80 miles northwest of St. Louis — have seen cuts since 2010. That rural district has started waiting longer to replace textbooks, and it will likely abandon initiatives to distribute new computers and to bring wireless internet into classrooms. Todd Smith, the superintendent, said the district will likely seek a tax increase or a bond sale because there isn’t enough money for basic maintenance.
“We find ourselves more and more dipping into our reserves,” Smith said.
In Connecticut’s largest city, Bridgeport, schools have struggled with cuts in state and federal grants, Superintendent Frances Rabinowitz said. And the gap widens between her district and neighboring, affluent Fairfield County towns with smaller class sizes and students with far fewer needs.
The result? No aides for kindergarten classrooms, or guidance counselors for elementary schools, or buses for students at some high schools (they get city bus passes, instead).
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Excerpt from:
Judge, Citing Inequality, Orders Connecticut to Overhaul its School System

In a decision that could fundamentally reshape public education in Connecticut, the state was ordered on Wednesday to make changes in everything from how schools are financed to which students are eligible to graduate from high school to how teachers are paid and evaluated.
Reading his ruling from the bench for more than two hours, Judge Thomas Moukawsher of State Superior Court in Hartford said that “Connecticut is defaulting on its constitutional duty” to give all children an adequate education.
Judge Moukawsher’s decision was a response to a lawsuit filed more than a decade ago that claimed the state was shortchanging the poorest districts when it came to school funding. What separates the decision from those in dozens of similar suits around the country is that rather than addressing money only, it requires the state to rethink nearly every major aspect of its system.
“This is a game changer,” said Joseph P. Ganim, the mayor of Bridgeport, Conn., one of the state’s poorest and lowest-performing school districts. “It’s an indictment of the application of the system, and of the system itself.”
Joseph P. Moodhe, who represented the plaintiffs in the case, Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, said that virtually every state had faced an education funding suit. This year, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s financing plan created “intolerable” inequities. And in New York, a 2006 lawsuit was supposed to yield additional money in New York City and districts with high poverty rates, but a battle persists over whether the state is meeting its obligations.
William S. Koski, a professor of law and education at Stanford University, called the scope of the ruling “highly unusual.” “Most of these school finance lawsuits are about numbers, and about whether adequate funding is being provided for whatever learning outcomes the court establishes,” he said. “Really, it’s typically about the money.” As for the Connecticut ruling, he said, “I would call it a school reform decision rather than a school funding decision.”
Connecticut is known for the quality of its schools, and the decision cited several impressive statistics about the good ones, including the highest average reading scores in the country for fourth and eighth graders on the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress, or NAEP often called the nation’s report card.
But the state is also home to failing schools, especially those serving poor children. The 2015 NAEP report found that poor students in 40 other states, including perennial poorly performing Mississippi and Arkansas, did better than poor students in Connecticut. Schools serving the poorest children are concentrated in 30 of the state’s 169 municipalities.
The current system “has left rich school districts to flourish and poor school districts to founder,” Judge Moukawsher said, betraying a promise in the State Constitution to give children a “fair opportunity for an elementary and secondary school education.”
Connecticut finances its schools with a combination of local property taxes and federal and state money in a way that is supposed to offset the huge disparities in property values between rich and poor towns. Bridgeport, court documents noted, has nearly eight times the population of nearby New Canaan, but property in that wealthy Fairfield County town is worth more than $1 billion more.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
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New Report Finds Big Demand For After-School Programs in Poor Communities

 

A new report from Afterschool Alliance finds high levels of participation in summer and after-school programs in low-income communities along with an even greater demand for these services.
The nonprofit organization released its “America After 3PM Special Report: Afterschool in Communities of Concentrated Poverty,” on Tuesday. The study used survey data that were collected in 2014 from more than 30,000 parents and included 13,000 in-depth interviews to examine parents’ thoughts on after-school and summer learning opportunities. For the purpose of this report, survey respondents were identified as living in a community of concentrated poverty if they lived in a zip code that falls within a census track that has been designated as such and if they lived in a zip code that has a poverty rate of 30 percent or above.
“We were really interested in looking at how after-school and summer programs are supporting children and their families living in communities of concentrated poverty,” said Jen Rinehart, Afterschool Alliance’s senior vice president for policy and research. “We know from years of collecting America After 3PM data that students who are from low-income families and students who are African-American and Hispanic are more likely to participate in after-school programs but are also more likely to show high levels of demand for after-school programs and report not enough programs available.”

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So Rinehart said the researchers wanted to find out if this problem was exacerbated for minority and low-income families living in areas of concentrated poverty. And, the data confirmed their hunch. The survey found that 24 percent of children living in areas of concentrated poverty participated in after-school programs. That’s compared to 18 percent nationally. But the number of students living in concentrated poverty who would participate in an after-school program if it were available to them was 56 percent. The comparable average figure for the nation is 41 percent. For African-American families in these communities, the demand was even higher. The survey found that while 27 percent of black students living in these areas attend after-school programs, 71 percent would attend if these programs were available.
The report cited statistics that show that African-Americans are 2.5 times as likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty as whites, while Hispanics are about two times as likely.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
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Opportunities

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Career Awards for Science & Math Teachers

 

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The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is currently accepting applications for the Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers (CASMT). CASMT is a five-year award available to outstanding science and/or mathematics teachers in the North Carolina public primary and secondary schools. The purpose of this award is to recognize teachers who have demonstrated solid knowledge of science and/or mathematics content and have outstanding performance records in educating children. This five-year award presents opportunities for professional development and collaboration with other master science and/or mathematics teachers who will help to ensure their success as teachers and their satisfaction with the field of teaching. Special consideration will be given to teachers working in hard-to-staff, economically deprived classrooms in North Carolina. The award also offers schools and school districts the opportunity to fully develop teachers as leaders in the field.

Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers provide $175,000 over a period of five years ($35,000 per year) to eligible teachers in the North Carolina public school system.
The application deadline is September 15, 2016.
NC Creating Plan to Meet New Federal Education Requirements

 

What will the new federal education law, Every Student Succeeds Act, mean for North Carolina students? State educators and policymakers are crafting North Carolina’s plan now for submission to the US Department of Education during its March submission calendar.
Academic indicators will continue to include proficiency on English language arts/reading and mathematics, progress of English language learners, graduation rates, and a to-be-decided other academic indicator for elementary and middle schools. In addition, the new law requires the inclusion of other measures of school quality or student success as long as those indicators are valid and reliable, comparable, available statewide, and meaningful indicators of student success.
Input is being collected online through the “Let’s Talk” application, which may be accessed from the Department’s website; in regional meetings with superintendents and school officials; as well as in six public comment sessions to be held from 4-6 p.m. on each of the following dates:
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October 6 – North Wilkesboro
October 12 – Jacksonville
October 18 – Fayetteville
October 19 – Tarboro
October 24 – Waynesville
October 25 – Burlington
Reprinted from:
NCSU Humanities Extension Program

North Carolina State University is currently looking for K-12 teachers across the state to participate in our Humanities Extension Program for the 2016-2017 school year. The Humanities Extension Program allows NC State University professors to come to K-12 classes and present on a topic related to Humanities and Social Sciences topics that is currently being taught in the classroom. More information and a sign up form can be found at the link below. We would greatly appreciate you distributing the form to the teachers in your group or association.
Apply online here. Email Jackie Parker at humanities_extension@ncsu.edu with any questions about the program.
World View Fall Programs

 

World View at UNC-Chapel Hill offers exciting professional development opportunities in global education for K-12 teachers, school administrators, and community college educators. Our fall programs for K12 educators feature innovative strategies to drive global learning. Continuing Education Units earned can be applied toward the NC Global Educator Digital Badge process. Register for the fall global education symposium and online course today!
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Innovation and Technology to Drive Global Learning 
October 19-20, 2016
  • Fuel the drive with dynamic presenters, interdisciplinary sessions, curriculum development opportunities and a wide-range of exhibitors.
  • Be in the passenger seat as you experience lessons that demonstrate technology and innovation.
  • Support your road trip by collaborating with colleagues as you consider your own classroom.
  • Drive away with tools, strategies, resources and a professional network to drive global learning.
Location: The Friday Center for Continuing Education, Chapel Hill, NC
Cost: $175 per person. $600 for a team of four; $150 for each additional member
CEU: 1.5 CEUs offered

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October 6 – November 16, 2016
Join World View’s online course for an exploration of global topics such as the economy, the environment, diverse populations and the U.S.’s place in the world. Educators will gain hands-on experience with web-based resources for teaching about global issues in the classroom.
Location: Online!
Cost: $250 per person for World View Partners; $300 for Non-Partners
CEU: 4 CEUs offered
Journal for Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership

The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is accepting articles and literary reviews to be featured in the second 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 Monday, Oct. 31, 2016.
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.

 

©2016 Public School Forum of North Carolina. All Rights Reserved.

Public School Forum of North Carolina

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Photo: John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer

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