Education

Education

Education Top Story

General Assembly-ordered cuts likely to hamper services for poor, rural schools

Support for needy districts and key positions within North Carolina’s top public school agency may be in jeopardy this week as the State Board of Education mulls ways to pass down millions in legislative cuts.

Officials confirmed this week that the State Board of Education could vote as early as Wednesday on how to dish out $3.2 million in General Assembly-ordered funding reductions for the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

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Education Top Story

State School Superintendent muzzles communication from DPI

A directive from Superintendent Mark Johnson to temporarily halt key listserv communications from the Department of Public Instruction has some concerned the order will chill the flow of information from North Carolina’s top public school agency.

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Education Top Story

School districts prepare for another year of class size controversy

When North Carolina legislators pushed through their $23 billion budget plan in June, it included one key, last-minute insertion in a separate technical corrections bill.

State lawmakers wrote that it’s their “intent” to use data collected this year from school districts to fund a new allotment for arts and physical education teachers beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.

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Education Top Story

Budget bill fires State Board of Ed director, DPI staffers with ties to Atkinson

A N.C. General Assembly budget mandate to fire certain North Carolina public education officials would target Republican rivals’ allies and the top staffer in the State Board of Education, N.C. Policy Watch has learned.

Of the five filled positions set for termination within DPI—including an associate state superintendent, an education consultant, a business and technology analyst, a clinical research specialist and the agency’s director of external meetings and special projects—three are currently held by former campaign volunteers of Democratic ex-state Superintendent June Atkinson.

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Education Top Story

Public school advocates wary of “vouchers on steroids” in GOP-authored budget

The $23 billion budget deal speeding through the N.C. General Assembly this week includes a platoon of significant public school initiatives, including much-touted teacher raises, a swift ballooning of the state’s funding for a private school voucher program and dramatic cut-backs for North Carolina’s central K-12 bureaucracy.

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Education Top Story

Draft policing reforms for Wake schools come up short say children’s advocates

A draft agreement that sets campus police policy in North Carolina’s largest school system has yet to be publicly released, but the much anticipated document is already fetching criticism from youth justice advocates.

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Education Top Story

State Superintendent may be violating law by ignoring public records request

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson’s inaction on a long-standing public records request from Policy Watch may be a violation of state law, a prominent North Carolina media attorney says.

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Education Top Story

Education leaders say House budget falls short

Based on the state House budget plan, North Carolina teachers may be virtually assured of at least some raises in the upcoming school year, but the state’s top teacher advocacy organization says state lawmakers have still “fallen short” of their promises to educators.

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Education Top Story

Republicans advance education budget over strong Democratic objections

A key House committee signed off on the chamber’s public school budget report Thursday, despite Democrats’ complaints that they had only just received the details of that multi-billion dollar spending plan that morning.

“We’re looking at a $17.5 billion budget that we’ve seen for the first time today and we’re going to vote on it in three hours,” said Rep. Henry “Mickey” Michaux, a veteran House Democrat from Durham, Thursday morning. “No, hell no.”

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Education Top Story

Veteran House Democrats question the substance and process behind Senate budget proposal

Wednesday was the 63rd anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the milestone U.S. Supreme Court case that ordered an end to racial segregation in American public schools.

That fact hasn’t escaped Rep. Henry Michaux’s attention as the veteran Democrat—the longest-serving member in the state House and a civil rights hero in Durham—shreds a $22.9 billion spending plan approved by the Senate shortly after 3 a.m. last Friday.

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Education Top Story

Despite GOP claims, education advocates say Senate budget fails to repair damage to public schools

The N.C. Senate’s $22.9 billion budget plan may be rolling swiftly through the chamber this week. But public education advocates—given just hours to review the massive budget document after it was posted online early Wednesday—say the Senate’s GOP leadership is shortchanging teachers and students with their latest spending package.

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Education Top Story

General Assembly must still provide $293 million in teacher money to settle class-size debate

On April 27th, the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, House Bill 13, bringing a temporary reprieve to North Carolina’s great class-size debate. The bill delayed the unfunded class-size requirements by one year, preserving elementary school students’ access to “enhancement courses” such as art, music, technology, and physical education for the 2017-18 school year.

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Education Top Story

National group cautions GOP-backed charter school bills will exacerbate problems, increase segregation

A nonpartisan, national organization setting benchmarks for charter policy is expressing concerns with a pair of GOP-backed charter reform proposals advancing in the N.C. General Assembly, at least one of which the organization describes as the first of its kind in the nation.

The criticism comes after lawmakers in the state House approved controversial House bills 779 and 800 last week before the legislature’s crossover deadline.

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Education Top Story

Local school districts prepare for “enormous disruptions” as Senate refuses to ease class size requirements

North Carolina’s largest public school system may be warning of “enormous disruptions” without speedy action from state lawmakers on a looming class size funding crisis, but key education leaders in Raleigh tell Policy Watch there’s little sign Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly will act soon.

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Education Top Story

Competing bills would alter method for funding charter schools

For the better part of a decade, charter and traditional school advocates have bickered over charters’ share of North Carolina dollars.

But two bills drafted by influential state Senate leaders in recent days want to settle the issue this session. One, Senate Bill 562, has the blessing of public school advocates; the other, not so much.

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Education

School officials preparing to fire thousands of specialty teachers in order to meet K-3 classroom mandate

For Linda Welborn, the impending crisis over North Carolina classroom size cannot be overstated.

Welborn, a Republican member of the Guilford County Board of Education, says her district—the third largest in the state—will need to find an additional $16.6 million and 242 new teaching positions to meet the state’s legislative mandate to cut class sizes for kindergarten through third grade beginning next school year.

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