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Education Featured Articles

Public school advocates welcome “champion” in the Executive Mansion, offer advice on the challenges Cooper will face

The N.C. Association of Educators was one of the first major political advocacy groups to side with Roy Cooper.

So when news spread over social media Monday that Gov. Pat McCrory had at last conceded a bitterly contested gubernatorial race to Cooper—three weeks and six days after Election Day—it’s fitting that the 70,000-member political arm of teachers across North Carolina was one of the first to trumpet the news.

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Education Featured Articles

Legislators shift gears, back away from controversial pay plan for school principals, administrators

Weeks after a legislative plan to scrap North Carolina’s school principal pay schedule drew a swift rebuke from educators, top state Republicans are seemingly backing off on the controversial proposal while pushing forward with at least modest raises for the state’s underpaid administrators.

Sen. Jerry Tillman, an influential state Republican representing Moore and Randolph counties, told lawmakers in an administrator pay study group this week that district superintendents across the state were “scared” of a proposal floated by lawmakers last month that would have done away with the salary schedule—which sets a floor for pay based on experience and credentials.

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Education

North Carolina school leaders, advocates work to address immigrants’ fears following caustic campaign season

The day after President-elect Trump’s triumph was a day to remember, says Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, president and CEO of El Centro Hispano, one of North Carolina’s largest Latino advocacy and support organizations.

Immigrant children, undocumented and documented, were afraid to return to school. They feared deportation or bullying by their peers, says Rocha-Goldberg, after a presidential election noted for its particularly caustic tone toward immigrants.

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Education Featured Articles

Virtual charters continue to be plagued by high dropout rates, low student performance

State education leaders may be reporting lackluster grades and soaring dropout rates in two new virtual charter schools in North Carolina, but customers, by and large, seem satisfied. That’s the synopsis of a draft report on North Carolina’s virtual charter pilot, which includes two schools, N.C. Virtual Academy and N.C. Connections Academy, run by for-profit companies K-12 Inc. and Pearson, respectively.

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Education Featured Articles

New rules to lower class sizes force stark choices, threatening the arts, music and P.E

North Carolina public school leaders say a legislative mandate to decrease class sizes in the early grades may have a devastating impact on school systems across the state, forcing districts to spend millions more hiring teachers or cut scores of positions for those teaching “specialty” subjects such as arts, music and physical education.

“All 115 districts in the state, this is a problem,” says Leanne Winner, director of governmental relations for the N.C. School Boards Association, a group that represents local boards of education at the legislature.

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Education

A reversal of fortune?

Governor's budget writers backtrack on 2% reduction; education advocates suggest tight re-election battle may be the motivating factor

North Carolina officials say they have been assured by one of Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget chiefs that a controversial directive to ready a $173 million budget cut will not apply to the state’s public schools.

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Education Featured Articles

Ranked 49th in principal pay, lawmakers who haven’t funded raises consider tossing out salary schedule

School administrator pay in North Carolina is dismal, says Frank Till Jr., superintendent of Cumberland County Schools, but a new legislative call to alleviate the problem by completely nixing the state’s principal salary scale could be disastrous.

“Without a salary schedule, it means we’d have to negotiate every single principal’s salary,” complains Till. “It would lead to inequities. You would open yourself up to a variety of things.”

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Education Featured Articles

State Board of Ed chair to charter advisory panel: “Not so fast”

Just days after a key North Carolina charter panel recommended sweeping changes to how State Board of Education (SBE) members hear charter school applications, state board Chairman Bill Cobey said charter advocates aren't likely to get their way on at least one major point.

Cobey spoke to Policy Watch this week, four days after members of the Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB) suggested prospective charters approved by at least 75 percent of the panel be tucked into the state board's consent agenda.

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Education Featured Articles

McCrory administration asks schools to submit plans for $173 million budget cut

Request comes despite large state surplus and big unmet education needs

After years of complaints of paltry spending on public education in North Carolina, public school leaders say they may soon be facing another round of devastating cuts.

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Education Featured Articles

Former state legislator adds fuel to the fire over how charter schools are funded

When North Carolina lawmakers heard proposals in June to dramatically revamp how charters are funded, public school advocates pleaded for more time.

The bill before the chamber, a state Senate draft authored by a staunch charter supporter would have bound traditional K-12 schools to grant charters access to more pots of public funding. Lawmakers, concerned about the precedent of authorizing such a major change in funding during the chamber’s short session, deferred until next year.

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Education Featured Articles

Tempers flare among charter school supporters as state tightens vetting process

It was 13 days ago that the State Board of Education signed off on just eight of 28 aspiring new charter schools in North Carolina, a stunning flip for a board that’s approved dozens of new charters since state lawmakers lifted the 100-school cap on charters in 2011.

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Education Featured Articles

HB2 back in the spotlight after Mecklenburg Commissioner’s incendiary comments

When a U.S. Supreme Court stay on transgender-friendly school bathroom policies forced Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, perhaps the forerunner of such reforms in North Carolina, to reconsider its own groundbreaking policy last week, some bemoaned the news.

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Education

Budget cuts take a bite out of DPI’s ability to support local school districts

As enrollment rises, legislature slashes agency budget

“People in North Carolina, if they knew how little was spent on administration, they should be sending us ‘thank you cards’ for doing the work to support teachers in the classroom.”

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Education

Failing charter schools: Inadequate screening and oversight causing big problems for many NC families

Erinn Rochelle says she beat herself up for months after her sons’ charter school unexpectedly shut down during its first year of operation.

“Not only did I put my kids there, I recommended that school to my friends,” said Rochelle, whose children entered the brand new StudentFirst Academy in Charlotte in 2013. “Four or five of them decided to enroll their children there too, and it just makes me feel really bad. My name is tarnished.”

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Education Featured Articles

Accountability for NC virtual charter operators back in the spotlight after California forces K12 Inc. to pay $168.5 million settlement

Bill Cobey, chairman of North Carolina’s State Board of Education, has heard all about K12 Inc.’s California settlement, a purported $168.5 million pact with the state’s attorney general amid long-running allegations that the for-profit virtual charter school operator inflated student test scores and attendance to drain more cash from public coffers.

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Education Featured Articles

Making the grade

Which education bills passed, which got held back in the short session

Asked to sum up the 2016 short session of the N.C. General Assembly, Mark Jewell, president of the N.C. Association of Educators, takes very little time.

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