Public Schools

Glenwood Elementary students
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a bill that could replace parts – if not all – of the Common Core academic standards in North Carolina.

The two chambers drafted separate bills earlier this session that would create commissions to review the English and Math standards. The House bill recommended flat out replacing the standards, while the Senate legislation left open the possibility that parts of Common Core could continue.

PACE ACADEMY
Reema Khrais

State officials have agreed to grant a three-year renewal to PACE Academy’s charter, months after the State Board of Education voted to terminate the Carrboro school’s charter.

WUNC reported on the status of the school earlier this year  in January and February

Segregation Again

Jun 26, 2014
Photo of African American students getting on a school bus in Grimesland, North Carolina in the 1950s
ECU Digital Collections/Flickr

    

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Brown V. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that ushered in the era of school desegregation.

Governor Pat McCrory gathered with school leaders and legislators on Wednesday to show their support for a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay.
Reema Khrais

State House Republicans are teaming up with Governor Pat McCrory to help speed up slow budget talks. Legislators are supposed to make adjustments to the two-year state budget by July 1, but progress has been sluggish.

Representatives say they want to at least pass a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay. It would give teachers an average five-percent raise without relying on funds from the lottery. 

Teachers and supporters carried heavy cardboard boxes of petition signatures calling lawmakers to raise the teacher pay to the national average.
Reema Khrais

 A group of teachers and supporters dropped off a 61,000-signature petition to lawmakers on Thursday, demanding pay raises that do not result in destructive cuts to public education.

They carried the 14 heavy and large cardboard boxes to the offices of Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis, who are currently leading the efforts to raise teacher pay. 

Glenwood Elementary students
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

  State lawmakers say they want to create an education endowment fund to help pay high-performing teachers more money.

A proposed bill passed by a Senate Education Committee on Wednesday suggests collecting money for the fund through individual and business donations, tax refunds and special license plates.

Originally introduced by Republican Lt. Governor Dan Forest, the proposal presents a framework for an endowment and does not lay out the criteria for how the money is used.

Parents, advocates and families gathered outside the legislative building on Tuesday to show their support for the state's private school voucher program.
Reema Khrais

  North Carolina legislative leaders, parents and advocates are looking to expand the state’s private school voucher program.

They say they want to lift the cap so that all low-income families that applied and qualified for the program can receive help.

The program gives families up to $4,200 in tuition money at private and religious schools. More than 5,000 families – most of them minorities - applied for the coming fall, but less than half will be randomly picked, according to leaders of Parents for Educational Freedom North Carolina.

A group of retired generals is advising lawmakers not to support legislation that would get rid of the Common Core academic standards.

The group Mission Readiness: Military Leaders for Kids says the standards will help ensure the success and strength of the military by better preparing students who choose to serve. Military officers say about 23 percent of graduates looking to enroll don’t pass entrance exams in math, literacy and problem solving.

Classroom
WUNC File Photo

A Senate Education Committee has approved a bill that makes certain that charter schools are subject to the same public records and open meetings laws as traditional public schools.

The bill comes at a time when charter schools are thriving in North Carolina - 26 new schools are set to open in the fall.

Charter schools are run by private nonprofit boards, but get public money from the state. For that reason, lawmakers say charter schools should be bound by the same state public record laws as traditional schools.

NC House
house.gov

State House Republicans released a proposed budget on Tuesday that is significantly different than the Senate's spending plan in terms of education. House leaders say they want to give all public school teachers raises without making them give up their job protections.

They're also looking to pull from lottery money to pay for those raises, instead of making cuts to public education. 

Glenwood Elementary students
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

School leaders across the state say proposed cuts to the Department of Public Instruction would hurt North Carolina classrooms.

The Senate’s spending plan would slash DPI’s budget by 30-percent. Several school administrators say they rely on the department to help run their schools. It helps out with recruiting and evaluating teachers, and offering professional development.

Mike Dunsmore, superintendent of Tyrell County, says his district is the smallest in the state. It serves about 550 students.

Senate Republicans released a plan on Wednesday to provide what they call the "largest teacher pay raise in state history." The plan calls for an average 11 percent raise for teachers as long as they give up career status, otherwise known as tenure. Teachers who choose to not give up their job protections would stay on the current pay plan and not receive any increases. 

Gavel, Court
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

 A Wake County superior court judge ruled Friday that a state law ending teacher tenure is unconstitutional, arguing the state cannot take away the due process rights of teachers.  

Judge Robert Hobgood ordered a permanent injunction against the law, which would eliminate career status – commonly known as teacher tenure – by 2018. His ruling also said that the law violated the constitutional protection of contracts, and the prohibition against taking a person’s property.

teacher at blackboard
Wikimedia commons

Governor Pat McCrory released his $21 billion budget on Wednesday, setting aside $262.9 million for teacher raises and state employees. 

The governor and lawmakers have made it clear that teacher pay will be a major priority for this year’s short session, which is a time meant for lawmakers to adjust the budget approved last year. 

Teachers held their own “day of action” on Wednesday, the first day of the session. They outlined their demands and concerns in a morning press conference held by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Gavel, Court
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

 The North Carolina Supreme Court has overturned a lower court’s order to halt the state’s voucher program.

That means the program can go on – at least for now. It’s a program that gives low-income families scholarships of up to $4,200 to help send their children to private schools.

Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood issued an injunction earlier this year to stop the program, siding with critics who say it’s unconstitutional because the private school scholarships are funded with taxpayer dollars.

Students in a Guilford County school classroom on computers.
Guilford County Schools

 Attorneys for some low-income school districts say the state is failing on its commitment to provide all students with a sound, basic education.

The lawyers are asking for a hearing in August and a written plan from the state as to how it intends to meet the basic education mandate outlined in the decades-old landmark lawsuit, known as the Leandro case.

State lawmakers voted on Monday to postpone a bill that would allow North Carolina students to attend any public school in the state, noting that more study is needed.

Fourth-grade teacher Rosalyn Bailey explains a math assignment about fractions that involves higher-level thinking under the new Common Core standards.
Reema Khrais

State lawmakers say they’re hoping to throw away the Common Core standards and replace them with North Carolina’s own education standards.

In a legislative study committee on Thursday, lawmakers proposed a bill that would create a review commission to rewrite the academics standards by December 2015. 

The Common Core standards, initially adopted by 45 states, set high, rigorous goals for what students across the country should be able to do. Supporters of the national standards say they raise the bar in terms of what students should know – that they’re more rigorous.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Crime, violence, dropout rates and out-of-school suspensions declined across North Carolina public schools last school year, according to a report released by state education officials.

The report shows 10,630 reported acts of school crime and violence last school year, a 4.8 percent decrease from the 11,161 acts in 2011-12. The most common reported acts involve illegal possession of drugs or alcohol, weapons or assault.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

In light of the winter storm, Governor Pat McCrory says he will work with education leaders to review laws on make up days for public schools.

This week's snow storm led to closings that lasted up to three days for many schools across the state, forcing school officials to make tough decisions on how to make up for the lost time. Many schools still need to make up time from last month's snow. 

School bus
Dave DeWitt

North Carolina ranks eighth in the nation in the percentage of state funding schools receive, according to officials.

The state’s public schools receive 58% of their revenues from the state government, compared to nation’s average of 44%. The remaining profits come from local and federal sources, though most states receive about 50-50 from state and local levels.

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