The State Board of Education (SBE) met on Wednesday and Thursday this week and were presented with the following:
- Draft teacher licensure model update
- Virtual charter school enrollment waiver
- Rural-urban differences in ELA progress and home internet access during the pandemic
- Promising Practices Clearinghouse update
Draft teacher licensure model update: During the monthly chairman’s report, Board Chair Eric Davis and State Superintendent Catherine Truitt voiced their support for redesigning the State’s teacher licensure system. During the April Board meeting, the SBE received an initial update on the draft teacher licensure model that is being developed by the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC). This draft model has received a range of critiques to which Chair Davis and Superintendent Truitt stated the following:
- The current teacher licensure system needs to be overhauled because it offers few supports to teachers in their early years, provides no opportunity for teachers to increase their compensation, and does not contribute to the growth and development of teachers as professionals.
- The draft model would allow teachers to advance in their career without having to leave the classroom for an administrative position.
- The draft model does not threaten to withhold raises from teachers but rather provides multiple avenues for teachers to increase their compensation that are not offered in the current system.
- The draft model does not threaten to revoke a teacher’s license but instead aims to ensure that every student has access to a highly qualified teacher. The draft model would require teachers to demonstrate effectiveness for three years within two five-year renewal periods, while providing teachers with support to achieve this goal.
- This draft model is not merit pay, which is pay based solely on student testing. Only a minority of teachers teach in subject areas with standard student testing data. There are many teachers who are creating positive outcomes for their students who are not being recognized, and this draft model would identify that great work so that it can be rewarded and learned from.
Superintendent Truitt stated that this process is not close to being done and that feedback continues to be welcomed (feedback can be sent to email@example.com). It is expected that PEPSC will present an update on this teacher licensure model at the September SBE meeting. Chair Davis stated that even if the Board votes to approve a final model this fall, it is very likely to be “a preliminary final model with further iterations for improvement as we gather feedback from teachers and other stakeholders.” Ultimately, the General Assembly would have to fund the implementation of this new teacher licensure model, and Superintendent Truitt stated that the ideal goal is to send the model to legislators during the 2023 session. Click here to watch this part of the meeting. Click here to access an article on this draft teacher licensure model and the pushback it has received.
Virtual charter school enrollment waiver: The SBE approved a waiver allowing the State’s two virtual charter schools to enroll hundreds more students for the 2022-2023 school year than is allowed under current law. The schools are legally required to abide by the virtual charter school pilot program’s 2,592 enrollment cap for the 2022-2023 school year, but as of July 29, NC Virtual Academy had enrolled 3,425 students and NC Cyber Academy has enrolled 2,705 students.
Board member discussion on the enrollment waiver occurred during closed session. Prior to the Board’s vote on the waiver, Board Member Amy White, who chairs the committee overseeing charter schools, explained that DPI staff did not notice the discrepancy in enrollment numbers until July 29 and that the waiver is in the best interest of students, given that the start of the school year is only weeks away. The Board approved the waiver, which allows each school to maintain its enrollment numbers, as of July 29, for the 2022-2023 school year only; prohibits enrollment of additional students during the 2022-2023 school year if some students withdraw, unless enrollment has dropped below the statutory cap; and requires the schools to submit timely enrollment waiver requests for future school years. All Board members voted in favor of the enrollment waiver except Board Vice Chair Alan Duncan.
Rural-urban differences in ELA progress and home internet access during the pandemic: DPI’s Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration (OLR) presented data showing that home internet access was 2.5 times more important for academic progress in English Language Arts (ELA) during the pandemic than in prior years. Students in the farthest rural areas experienced about 30% more ELA learning loss than students in cities or city adjacent areas. This rural-urban difference was largest in third grade, with data showing that rural students experienced about 60% more ELA learning loss than their urban peers. While the data did not allow DPI staff to estimate the independent value of home internet to student academic outcomes, the report concluded that the State should continue to increase home internet access, especially in rural areas. Geoff Coltrane, Governor Roy Cooper’s education advisor, explained that this is already in the works because the 2021 State budget appropriated roughly $700 million to broadband expansion. Click here to access the OLR white paper.
Promising Practices Clearinghouse update: The Board was presented with an update on the Promising Practices Clearinghouse, which was launched in January with the goal of sharing information about evidence-based practices across the State. The Promising Practices focus on six key strands: learning recovery and acceleration, district and school transformation, reforming accountability and testing, strengthening literacy, student support services, and human capital. Since January, DPI staff has organized data into these six strands, including data on work-based learning, teacher housing initiatives, and literacy. Click here to access the Clearinghouse website.
Click here to access all meeting materials.
On Monday, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt and DPI staff gave a presentation to the House Select Committee on an Education System for North Carolina’s Future. The presentation included information about State and federal education expenditures, research findings on the impact of the pandemic from the 2020-2021 school year, state-level plans for pandemic recovery, and diagnostic reading data.
Following the meeting, DPI corrected the reading data that had been presented. The corrected data shows that at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, students in kindergarten and first grade were 27% and 38% proficient in reading, respectively, and at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, students in kindergarten and first grade were 67% and 63% proficient in reading, respectively. Previously, the reading data chart labeled the data from the beginning of 2021-2022 school year as being data from the 2018-2019 school year. This article notes that the corrected data does not compare these 2021-2022 school year reading proficiency gains with previous school years, and that a final version of the data will be presented later this month.
The Committee also heard a presentation on Harnett County School’s contracted services from the district’s superintendent, Dr. Aaron Fleming, and the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services, Andrew Cox.
Click here to access all meeting materials.
We are now receiving federal updates on education-related issues, which we will be including in our legislative updates. The following are the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent weekly education reports.
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association