North Carolina State Board of Education

Fingers on a keyboard, computer,
Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday we reported that state education officials were expected to vote on whether to approve two virtual charter schools to open next fall.

The schools would serve up to 3,000 students who would take all of their classes at home and interact with students and teachers online. Supporters have argued that it would help students who don’t thrive in traditional settings – especially those dealing with health issues, athletic schedules, or bullying.

Melissa Hayden teaches her AP U.S. History class in Pittsboro, North Carolina at Northwood High School.
Reema Khrais

At a high school in Chatham County, Melissa Hayden reminds her students about tomorrow’s big history test. They’re learning about the populism movement and western expansion.

But before they delve into those lessons, Hayden begins class with something she read in the news.

“Let’s see, this is an article that I printed off in Newsweek last night,” says Hayden, an Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher at Northwood High School.  

This is from a math classroom in Chapel Hill
Carol Jackson

State lawmakers are moving forward with a proposal to get rid of the Common Core standards in North Carolina classrooms. The House Education Committee voted on Tuesday in favor of a bill that would come up with new Math and English standards. Common Core was initially adopted by 45 states and set high goals for what students across the country should be able to do before they move on to the next grade. But opponents of the standards say they are not developmentally appropriate for children and that they take control away from the state. 

Lawmakers voted this summer to eventually eliminate teacher tenure, replacing it with temporary contracts. The State Board of Education will discuss a model contract this week.
cybrarian77 / Creative Commons/Flickr

 The State Board of Education is expected to approve a model employment contract for teachers this week, as teacher tenures will end within the next few years. 

The model is expected to give local school boards some guidance when drafting their own pacts with teachers.

Arapahoe Charter School
Dave DeWitt

Arapahoe Charter School - and others across the state - will soon be able to grow by one grade per year without seeking approval from the State Board of Education.

Language was changed in HB 250 earlier this month that included the one-grade expansion provision without much warning. It cleared both the Senate and the House yesterday.

Pat McCrory at a middle school earlier this year.
NC Governors Office

Governor Pat McCrory is pushing a Five Pathways plan to improve education. The plan is broad and affects all levels of public education in North Carolina, from early childhood education to Universities.

Eric Guckian, the Governor’s Education Advisor, presented the plan to the State Board of Education today. He highlighted one of the five pathways:  growing “innovative learning options” for families.

Nine new charter schools have been approved by the State Board of Education. They were fast-tracked after the legislature eliminated the cap on charter schools last summer.

Dave DeWitt: All nine schools were eventually approved by the State Board of Education, after some discussion. Many of the questions raised came from State Treasurer Janet Cowell, who wondered, among other things, about the future bond ratings for school districts that lose students to charters.

But in the end, the separate votes on each school were mostly unanimous.

 The State Board of Education voted unanimously on a resolution that sharply criticizes the budget passed by the state senate today. They say it will lead to thousands of teachers and teacher assistants being laid off.