End of the 2021 Legislative Long Session
The General Assembly wrapped up the longest “long” session in North Carolina’s history. Legislators began the session on January 13, 2021, and adjourned today, March 11, 2022. The session was a total of 423 days. Today, the House had its 199th legislative day, and the Senate had its 197th legislative day. Unless something unforeseen happens, the 2022 legislative “short” session will begin on May 18. Click here for the adjournment resolution and click here for an article on the adjournment.
Failed Veto Override of SB 173: Free the Smiles Act
Following the Governor’s veto of SB 173: Free the Smiles Act, the Senate failed to override the veto on a 27-22 party-line vote. Although Senate Republicans did not reach the needed three-fifth’s majority vote, SB 173 is still alive and can be placed back on the Senate calendar for another veto override vote. The bill initially passed both the House and Senate with a veto proof majority, but the two Senate Democrats who voted for the bill’s passage did not vote for the veto override.
SB 173 would allow a parent to opt their child out of a mask mandate in public schools and repeal the requirement for monthly votes on mask policies. The bill would supersede the Governor’s emergency powers and the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as local school boards and health directors. Additionally, SB 173 would apply to any future pandemic or unforeseen circumstance.
Click here for an article on the failed veto override.
State Budget Technical Corrections Bill
- Section 2.2 Special Education Due Process Hearings (page 2)
- Section 2.3 Add Final Report on Missing Student Identification/ESSER Allocation (page 3)
- Section 2.4 Clarify Support Services Expanded by Communities in Schools/ESSER Allocation (page 3)
- Section 2.6 Dual Enrollment/Opportunity Study (page 3)
- Section 2.7 Extend Deadline for Student Transportation Report on Medicaid Reimbursement (page 4)
- Section 2.9 Revise Deadlines for Report on Science of Reading EPP Coursework Implementation (page 6)
- Section 2.13 Clarify Definition of Eligible Student in Equity in Opportunity Act (page 7)
- Section 2.14 Revise and Clarify PESA Scholarship Awards for Eligible Part-Time Students with Certain Disabilities (page 7)
- Local provisions:
- Section 18.1 SCIF Grant Changes (page 37, number 28)
- Section 19.2 Corrections and Revisions to the Department of Transportation Committee Report (page 42, number 2)
House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future
On Monday, the Committee held a meeting at South Asheboro Middle School. Click here for an article on the meeting, which included presentations from local school district superintendents and public comments from the community.
As of Friday, March 11,
- 110 school districts have mask optional policies (two have mask optional policies with certain stipulations and four have pending effective dates)
- 5 school districts have mask mandates
The number of districts that have adopted optional mask policies has increased by six since last Thursday, March 3.
NCSBA continues to track local school boards’ mask policies as districts vote monthly on whether to modify their current policy (required by Section 10 of SB 654/SL 2021-130). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If your school district changes its mask policy or you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Rebekah Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State Board of Education met for its monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 2, and Thursday, March 3, and was presented with the following:
- Impact of lost instructional time analysis
- State of the Teaching Profession report
- Every Student Succeeds Act update
- DHHS COVID-19 update
- Proposed memorandum of understanding for interscholastic athletics
Impact of lost instructional time analysis: DPI staff presented a data report that compares students’ pre-pandemic expected performance with their post-pandemic actual performance, based on 2020-2021 student performance data. Data shows that there was a negative impact for all students in all grades in almost every subject (except English II), and especially for Math (fifth-ninth) and Science (Biology). Key points of the data are as follows:
- Females were more negatively impacted than was expected
- Regarding race and ethnicity, pre-existing disparities increased
- Gaps have widened between economically disadvantaged students and all other students
- Students with disabilities and English language learners were close to their pre-pandemic learning trajectories compared to the general population of students
DPI’s next steps are to submit the preliminary data report to the General Assembly, gather input from State and local leaders for the next level of analysis, and convert effect sizes to months of learning loss estimates. Click here for the data report. Click here for an article on the report.
State of the Teaching Profession report: DPI staff presented this 2020-2021 data report, which shows that the teaching profession remains stable. The teacher attrition rate for the 2020-2021 school year was 8.2%, compared to 7.53% in 2019-2020. The beginning teacher attrition rate was 9.75%, which DPI staff stated is down from previous years. Regarding the reasons teachers report for leaving the profession, 25.5% noted “other reasons”, which is a drastic increase from 9.8% in the 2019-2020 school year. DPI staff explained that this could be related to the COVID-19 pandemic or to difficulty in gathering data due to the pandemic. The Board’s teacher advisor, Eugenia Floyd, asked if there is any data on the state of the teaching profession for the current school year, and DPI staff acknowledged the difficulty in reviewing old data but explained that the process of gathering and analyzing data for each annual report is extensive. Click here for the report.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) update: The Board approved an addendum to the State’s ESSA plan for the 2021-2022 school year to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education regarding the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on federally required assessments and accountability. The Board also approved the commencement of work on an amendment to the State’s ESSA plan, which will address long-term changes to the State’s accountability system based on lessons learned over the past two years.
DHHS COVID-19 update: The Board received an update from DHHS that showed the State’s four key metrics are rapidly decreasing. Data indicates that COVID-19 case rates are highest among young age groups and lowest among older and more highly vaccinated groups, but that case rates continue to decrease among children. DHHS staff reviewed changes to the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit that were announced in February, regarding contact tracing and exclusions, as well as no longer recommending universal masking in schools. As of March 7, 2022, all updates to the Toolkit are effective.
Proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for interscholastic athletics: The Board approved a MOU for high school interscholastic athletics with the NC High School Athletic Association, as well as a MOU for charter school high school interscholastic athletics with the Carolina Athletic Association for Schools of Choice. These MOUs are in effect for four years.
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association