Legislative Updates & Alerts

NCSBA Legislative Update – January 27, 2023

NCSBA Legislative Update – January 27, 2023

 

On Wednesday, January 25, the House and Senate reconvened to begin work for the 2023 legislative long session. In the House, committee chairs were appointed and given their gavels. For a list of House education committee assignments, click here. For a list of Senate education committee assignments, click here. Dozens of bills were filed in both chambers, many of which concern education. In addition to HB 17 and HB 26, which are summarized below, see the “Bills Filed” section for a list of all education-related bills filed this week. Primary sponsors for both HB 17 and HB 26 include two of the three chairs of the House Education K-12 Committee.

Bill to Elect SBE Members and Make State Superintendent SBE Chair

HB 17: Elect the SBE/SPI as SBE Chair (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; David Willis, R-Union) was filed on Wednesday and is similar to a bill filed in the 2022 legislative session. HB 17 is a constitutional amendment that requires 14 State Board of Education (SBE) members to be elected to four-year terms from districts established by the General Assembly. The bill also makes the State Superintendent the chair of the SBE.

The SBE currently has 11 members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly for eight-year terms (eight members are from each of the State’s education regions and three members are at-large). Currently, the State Superintendent is elected to a four-year term and is the Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer of the SBE.

A 3/5 vote in each chamber is required for this constitutional amendment to be put on the ballot for consideration by North Carolina’s voters.

Bill to Reform School Accountability Model

HB 26: Education Omnibus (primary sponsors: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Mike Clampitt, R-Swain) was filed on Thursday and includes a requirement that the State Superintendent study and evaluate school achievement scores and metrics and report back to the General Assembly by April 15, 2023. The bill also requires DPI to submit a report to the General Assembly by February 15, 2024, on suggested changes to the school accountability model.

As a reminder, DPI’s Testing and Accountability Working Group first convened in September 2022 with the goal of creating recommendations for redesigning the State’s school accountability model. A comprehensive presentation of the Working Group’s recommendations is expected to be given at the SBE meeting next Wednesday, February 1. Additionally, reforming the current school accountability model is included in NCSBA’s Legislative Agenda, and you can access NCSBA’s Accountability Issue Brief by clicking here.

 

In November 2022, the NCSBA Delegate Assembly approved NCSBA’s 2023-2024 Legislative Agenda, which is used to guide the Association’s advocacy efforts. To provide additional background information on each item in the Legislative Agenda, including NCSBA’s position, the Governmental Relation’s team is publishing issue briefs, which are linked below. The final three issue briefs will be included in next Friday’s Legislative Update.

 

The following are additional education-related bills that were filed this week.

Statewide Bills

  • HB 3: UNC Report on Computer Science Credit (primary sponsors: Representatives Erin Pare, R-Wake; Donna White, R-Johnston; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke)
    • Requires a study on whether to incorporate one or more computer science courses into the minimum requirements for undergraduate admission for the UNC system
  • HB 4: Increasing Engagement in STEM Grant Program (primary sponsors: Representatives Erin Pare, R-Wake; Donna White, R-Johnston; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe)
    • Establishes the Increasing Engagement in STEM Program to provide public school units (PSUs) with grants to increase STEM engagement in middle school
  • HB 8: Computer Sci. Grad. Requirement (primary sponsors: Representatives Erin Pare, R-Wake; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford)
    • Allows computer science courses to fulfill one high school science elective credit and requires completion of a computer science course for high school graduation
  • HB 11: Schools for the Deaf and Blind (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Ken Fontenot, R-Wilson; Erin Pare, R-Wake; Dianne Wheatley, R-Cumberland)
    • Upon request, for a student who has applied to a school for the deaf or blind, requires the local superintendent to share current evaluation data and the current or proposed individualized education plan for any child enrolled in that superintendent’s PSU
    • Establishes Boards of Trustees to govern the State’s schools for the deaf or blind, taking away the State Board of Education’s authority as the sole governing agency and DPI’s administrative responsibilities and oversight of these schools
  • HB 23: Gooru Contract (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg)
    • Requires DPI to contract with Gooru, Inc., to address negative educational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • SB 3: NC Compassionate Care Act (primary sponsors: Senators Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick; Michael Lee, R-New Hanover; Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth)
    • Legalizes medical marijuana and clarifies that smoking or vaping medical marijuana is prohibited in or within 1,000 linear feet of the property line of a PSU
  • SB 4: Eliminate Tax on Gov’t Retirees (primary sponsor: Senator Jim Burgin; R-Harnett)
    • Allows a taxpayer to deduct from their adjusted gross income the amount received from one or more federal, State, or local government retirement plans for at least 20 years of government employment
  • SB 15: Hands Free NC (primary sponsors: Senators Jim Burgin, R-Harnett; Kevin Corbin, R-Macon; Mike Woodard, D-Durham)
    • States that a person who uses a cellphone while operating a school bus is subject to penalties and guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor

Local Bill

 

Governor Roy Cooper’s Teacher Advisory Commission held a meeting on Tuesday, January 24, which included:

  • Governor’s office updates
  • Teacher licensure/salary model updates
  • School performance grade redesign updates

Updates from the Governor’s office mainly concerned Leandro and the Governor’s plans to continue supporting full implementation of the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. It was noted that the State Board of Education (SBE) and DPI’s legislative priorities also include support for full implementation of the Plan. For the most recent update on the Leandro case, click here to access our January 6, 2023, Legislative Update.

Updates on the new teacher licensure/salary model came from the chair of DPI’s Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) who explained that PEPSC is currently creating pilots to be considered by the SBE. When asked about different ways the new model could be implemented, PEPSC chair Dr. Van Dempsey said he believes different components of the model could be implemented over time, including restoration of master’s pay for teachers. As a reminder, any recommendations brought by PEPSC to the SBE would still require legislative approval prior to implementation. For the most recent update on PEPSC’s work on this new model, click here to access our January 13, 2023, Legislative Update.

Updates on the school performance grade redesign concerned indicators that DPI’s Testing and Accountability Working Group plans to include in its proposed accountability model. These indicators strive to measure school performance in a variety of ways, rather than solely focusing on test scores, and they include:

  • Postsecondary preparation inputs
  • Postsecondary outcomes
  • Improving student group performance
  • Extra/intra-curricular activities
  • Durable skills
  • School climate

The State’s current model calculates school grades based on 80% student achievement and 20% school growth. While the Working Group is continuing to refine its list of indicators that have “valid and reliable measurements”, it is also considering how to weigh growth versus proficiency. The Working Group’s next meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, January 31, and a comprehensive update will be given at the SBE’s meeting next Wednesday, February 1.

 

The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.

January 23, 2023, Weekly Report

  • Headlines for this edition include:
    • Scotland County Schools Wins Community Violence Prevention Grant
      • The US Department of Education awarded $8 million in grants to 11 school districts across the United States through its Project Prevent The grants help school districts expand their capacity to implement school- and community-based strategies to help prevent community violence. Scotland County Schools won a grant in the amount of $800,000.
    • US Supreme Court Hears Case that Could Change IDEA Dispute Resolution For School Districts
      • Perez vs. Sturgis Public Schools, a case involving how school districts handle dispute resolution under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), was argued before the US Supreme Court last week. At issue is whether individuals who have already entered into an IDEA settlement must exhaust the administrative process before pursuing a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The following are recent news articles and reports on state and national education-related issues.

State News

National News

 

Tuesday, January 31

1:00 pm – House Education K-12 Committee – Legislative Offices Building, rm 643 (livestream)

 

 

If your school board is planning to have a function with your legislative delegation, we would be happy for a member of the NCSBA Governmental Relations team to attend. Just let us know! Also, if your school board adopts its own legislative agenda, please forward it to rhoward@ncsba.org.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Advocacy Coordinator
NC School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – January 27, 2023
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NCSBA Legislative Update – January 20, 2023

NCSBA Legislative Update – January 20, 2023

 

On Tuesday, House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, announced House Committee assignments for the 2023-24 legislative session. This announcement follows last week’s opening ceremonies for the 2023 long session and the release of Senate Committee assignments (click here to access last week’s Legislative Update for a list of those assignments.) The legislature plans to start conducting business next Wednesday, January 25.

House Committee Assignments

House Education K-12 Committee

House Education Appropriations Committee

 

In November 2022, the NCSBA Delegate Assembly approved NCSBA’s 2023-2024 Legislative Agenda, which will be used to guide the Association’s advocacy efforts. To provide additional background information on each item in the Legislative Agenda, including NCSBA’s position, issue briefs will be published on the NCSBA website in the coming weeks. In the meantime, five of those issue briefs are linked below.

 

The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.

January 17, 2023, Weekly Report

  • Headlines for this edition include:
    • NC Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-5th) was selected by Republican leadership to be Chair of the renamed Education and Workforce Committee.
    • The rules package approved by the US House of Representatives includes a provision to keep spending for fiscal year 2024 at the same level as fiscal year 2022.
    • No extension of federal funds for home digital connectivity
      • The fiscal year 2023 omnibus spending plan passed by Congress last month did not include extra funding to extend the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). The ECF was established during the pandemic to provide students and teachers with both internet access and digital devices in their homes. The concern is that without such funding, it is harder to close the “homework gap,” that is a result of students not having home internet access.

 

The following are recent news articles and reports on state and national education-related issues.

State News

National News

 

If your school board is planning to have a function with your legislative delegation, we would be happy for a member of the NCSBA Governmental Relations team to attend. Just let us know! Also, if your school board adopts its own legislative agenda, please forward it to rhoward@ncsba.org.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Advocacy Coordinator
NC School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

 

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – January 20, 2023
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NCSBA Legislative Update – January 13, 2023

NCSBA Legislative Update – January 13, 2023

 

On Wednesday, January 11, the North Carolina General Assembly held opening ceremonies for the 2023 legislative session. The legislature plans to start conducting business on Wednesday, January 25. Committees, however, are likely to begin meeting in February. Committee assignments for the State Senate have been announced and can be found below. Committee assignments for the State House are expected to be announced soon.

State House

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby administered the oath of office for the 120 State House members. After the oath of office, the body elected Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, to serve as Speaker of the House for a record-setting fifth term.

“We will have a number of challenges this year we need to deal with,” Speaker Moore stated in his opening remarks. “We know that learning loss is real. We need to continue to invest in education and make sure that all of our students are getting a quality education whatever that path may be for that child and for that family, and that they have the access to those opportunities.”

The House then adopted temporary rules for the 2023 legislative session.

By unanimous vote, Representative Sarah Stevens, R-Surry, will once again serve as Speaker Pro Tempore. In addition, Speaker Moore re-appointed Representative Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, to serve as Chairman of the House Rules Committee. Finally, Democrats re-elected Representative Robert Reives, D-Chatham, as the Minority Leader.

State Senate

Associate Justice of the State Supreme Court Tamara Barringer administered the oath of office for the 50 State Senate members. After the oath of office, Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, was once again elected as President Pro Tempore, the top operational officer of the Senate, and a position he’s held since 2011. Senator Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, was elected as Deputy President Pro Tempore. Additionally, Senate Leader Berger re-appointed Senator Bill Rabon, R- Brunswick, to serve as Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. Finally, Democrats re-elected Senator Dan Blue, D-Wake, as Minority Leader.

Upon election for another term as President Pro Tempore, Senator Berger spoke about issues of priority that will be addressed during the legislative session. Concerning education, Berger stated, “We must continue to demand world-class educational opportunities for our students. We’ve made incredible strides, but there is always more to be done. Parents across North Carolina want a greater say in their child’s education — from being involved and knowledgeable about the curriculum, to the opportunity to send their child to a school that fits that child’s educational needs. Our schools must be focused on serving students and parents.”

Berger continued, discussing student outcomes and funding. “There are still far too many students who are struggling to read. We must renew and redouble efforts to improve reading outcomes for all students. We must disabuse ourselves of the notion that more money alone buys positive outcomes for our students. Success in education policy is about more than hitting some arbitrary funding goal. This isn’t a partisan issue. We must come together to ensure that our students can read and have the opportunity for a quality education. Without question, education is a great equalizer in a free society. We fail in our most important task if we fail to recognize and act on that fact.”

Prior to adjournment, the Senate adopted permanent rules for the 2023 legislative session.

Committee Assignments

Senate Education/Higher Education Committee

Senate Appropriations on Education/Higher Education Committee

 

In November 2022, the NCSBA Delegate Assembly approved NCSBA’s 2023-2024 Legislative Agenda, which will be used to guide the Association’s advocacy efforts. To provide additional background information on each item in the Legislative Agenda, including NCSBA’s position, issue briefs will be published on the NCSBA website in the coming weeks. In the meantime, three of those issue briefs are linked below.

 

DPI’s Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) met on Thursday, January 12, and reviewed the next steps for the Commission’s working groups. These working groups will create recommendations on policies and/or rules necessary to implement a pilot program of the new teacher licensure/salary model. As a reminder, PEPSC is developing this model, which would pay teachers based on performance, effectiveness, and years of experience, rather than exclusively on years of experience. The model is expected to provide higher salaries for most, if not all, teachers.

The following are the four working groups’ focus areas:

  • Advance teaching and leader roles
  • Student impact measures
  • New pathway entry points
  • New professional learning tools and structures

Each working group is co-chaired by PEPSC members and includes individuals from school districts, DPI, public and private universities, and community colleges. PEPSC Chair Dr. Van Dempsey explained that the goal of the working groups is to focus on the key structural components of a pilot and that operational details will come when pilot school districts have been identified. Each working group has a January and February meeting scheduled. Working group recommendations will be presented at the next PEPSC meeting on February 23, followed by PEPSC presenting recommendations at the State Board of Education (SBE) meeting on March 1 and 2. Any recommendations adopted by the SBE will require legislative approval.

Click here for the presentation, which includes more about the goals of the working groups and lists of working group members.

 

The Union County Board of Education unanimously voted in December 2022 to make August 9 the start date for the 2023-24 school year. On January 9, 2023, two parents from Union County filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against the Union County School Board alleging the Board adopted a school calendar in violation of State law.

Click here for a copy of the filed lawsuit. Click here for an article on the lawsuit.

 

The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.

January 9, 2023, Weekly Report

 

The following are recent news articles and reports on state and national education-related issues.

State News

National News

 

 

If your school board is planning to have a function with your legislative delegation, we would be happy for a member of the NCSBA Governmental Relations team to attend. Just let us know! Also, if your school board adopts its own legislative agenda, please forward it to rhoward@ncsba.org.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

 

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
NC School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

 

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

 

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – January 13, 2023
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NCSBA Legislative Update – January 6, 2023

NCSBA Legislative Update – January 6, 2023

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met this week on January 4 and 5 for its monthly meeting. Board members were presented with the following:

 

New State Health Plan administrator: State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who is a member of the SBE, notified the Board that Aetna won the contract to administer NC’s health coverage plan for State employees, starting in January 2025. The State Health Plan covers nearly 740,000 people, including teachers. Aetna will replace Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC, which has been the administrator for over 40 years. Blue Cross reportedly said it was “deeply disappointed” by this decision and that the company will pursue a formal appeal.

Treasurer Folwell said the Aetna contract could create $140 million in cost savings over five years. He added, “A change of this magnitude is a great opportunity for a fresh perspective, and we look forward to working closely with Aetna to create new ways to provide price transparency, increase access and quality while lowering the cost of health care for those who teach, protect and serve, and taxpayers like them.”

Budget requests for 2023 legislative long session: The Board approved the DPI/SBE budget requests for the upcoming 2023 legislative long session. Requests include the following:

  • $5 million in recurring funds for a school psychologist internship program
  • $10 million in recurring funds for master’s level pay for school social workers
  • $100 million in recurring funds for a school nurse and school social worker application program to help tier one and tier two districts hire those personnel
  • $5 million in recurring funds to eliminate student co-pay for reduced-price meals
  • Continuation of non-recurring General Assembly initiatives
    • Needs-Based Capital Grants – totaled more than $800 million over the past two fiscal years
    • School Safety Grants – totaled $41.7 million in FY 2022-23
      • These grants support students in crisis, school safety training, and school safety equipment

Additionally, the Board approved a motion requesting support from the General Assembly and Governor for full implementation of the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan (see next section for most recent Leandro updates), approval of the Board’s 2023 budget requests, and approval of pilot implementation of the new teacher licensure/salary model once dollar amounts are provided (see below for most recent update). Click here for the presentation that includes all budget requests.

Teacher licensure/salary model blueprint for action update: The Board was presented with statutory, rule, and policy changes that would need to be made to establish a pilot program of the teacher licensure/salary model blueprint. The presentation given by SBE General Counsel Allison Schafer includes general recommended changes that will be more narrowly tailored when DPI’s Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) establishes specifics of the model. PESPC is scheduled to present recommendations for the pilot at the Board’s March meeting. Board Chair Eric Davis reminded the Board that the current plan is to potentially begin pilot implementation in fall 2023, which would require legislative approval. Click here for the presentation, which includes legislative changes needed for pilot implementation on slides 21-31

As a reminder, PEPSC is developing this model, which would pay teachers based on performance, effectiveness, and years of experience, rather than exclusively on years of experience. The model is expected to provide higher salaries for most, if not all, teachers.

K-3 literacy data: State Superintendent Catherine Truitt presented K-3 literacy data from the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, which shows improvement at each grade level. For example, at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, 45% of third graders were ready for core literacy instruction compared to 51% at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. The data also shows that NC students had higher percentages of growth compared to other states using the same assessment. Click here to access DPI’s press release on this K-3 literacy data. The press release says, “State education leaders are encouraged by the latest assessment outcomes, which they say indicate that schools across the state are implementing science of reading-based practices even as many teachers are still learning about the instructional approach…”

2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data: The Board was presented with 2021 YRBS data. DPI deploys the survey in every odd numbered year to help assess youth behaviors that impact their health now and in the future. This was the first YRBS since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. This data was presented in December at a meeting of the Child Fatality Task Force, and we included data points in our December 16, 2022, Legislative Update. In case you missed it, here are some data points for high school students.

  • 49% of students reported feeling good about themselves, compared to 60% in 2019
  • 43% of students reported feeling sad or hopeless, compared to 36% in 2019
  • 34% of students reported being physically active at least one hour per day, compared to 38% in 2019
  • 30% of females reported they seriously considered suicide, compared to 14% of males
  • 21% of gay, lesbian, or bisexual students reported they attempted suicide during the past year, compared to 6% of heterosexual students
  • 42% of students reported their teachers really care about them and give them encouragement, compared to 51% in 2019
  • 60% of students reported there is at least one teacher or adult in their school they can talk to if they have a problem

Click here for the presentation that includes more YRBS data (slides 15-35), as well as data from the 2021 Healthy Active Children Policy Report (slides 3-11).

Following Board member discussion, DPI staff said they will work on comparing social media use with mental health issues that have increased among students. Chair Davis noted the need for more mental health support personnel in schools and referenced the Board’s legislative budget priorities that aim to fill those positions (see above). Additionally, on Wednesday, DPI announced the State was awarded approximately $17 million in federal grant funding to increase mental health support in public schools. Click here to access DPI’s press release.

Impact of COVID on absences, grades, and grade retention: The Board was presented with results of a State-funded study assessing the impact of COVID on student attendance and grades. The report found, “In 2020-21, students had more absences and lower course grades, were more likely to be chronically absent, to fail at least one course, and to be retained in grade.” Those most impacted by chronic absenteeism include students in the lowest quartile of prior achievement (42.4%), economically disadvantaged students (35.6%), black students (33.3%), and English learners (32.9%). In the 2020-21 school year, 39.6% of middle school students failed at least one course, compared to 15.5% pre-pandemic, and 34.9% of high school students failed at least one course, compared to 21.7% pre-pandemic. Regarding students who enrolled in summer 2021 programs, the study found that enrollees were less likely to repeat failed courses. Click here to access the presentation, which includes more disaggregated data.

New Local School Board Advisor: At this month’s meeting, Chair Davis recognized Henry Mercer of Wilson County Schools as the new Local School Board Advisor. Mr. Mercer is the 2022-23 recipient of the Raleigh Dingman Award for Outstanding Boardsmanship.

Click here to access all meeting materials. Click here to access an article on the meeting.

 

The decades-old Leandro case has a new presiding judge. On December 29, 2022, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby reassigned the case to Superior Court Judge James Ammons of Cumberland County. This follows Superior Court Judge Michael Robinson’s November 30, 2022, letter to Chief Justice Newby requesting the case be reassigned to another judge because of Robinson’s workload and demands on his docket as a Business Court Judge.

The following is a recent timeline leading up to the reassignment of the Leandro case to Judge Ammons.

  • On November 4, 2022, the State Supreme Court ruled that certain State officials must transfer funds necessary to comply with years two and three of the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. Prior to that transfer, the Court required the trial court to recalculate the transfer amount based on what was accounted for in the 2022 State budget.
  • On December 12, 2022, a report was filed with the court that includes the following timeline:
    • “On or before 19 December 2022, Defendant State of North Carolina shall file with the Court an accounting showing the recalculations, if any, of the amount of funds to be transferred in light of the State’s 2022 Budget.
    • “On or before 20 January 2023, Plaintiff Parties and any other party shall respond.”
    • The report also says the State Controller opposes the proposed timeline because “additional procedures are needed to assure an accurate and responsible handling of any money which the Controller authorizes.”
  • On December 19, 2022, an affidavit was filed by the Office of State Budget and Management that says, “The analysis reveals that 63% of the Year Two Action Items of the Comprehensive Remedial Plan, and 60% of the Year Three Items of the Comprehensive Remedial Plan have been funded. This means that approximately $257,679,390 of Year Two Action Items remain unfunded, while $420,121,777 of Year Three Action Items remain unfunded.”

Click here for an article with more information on these Leandro updates.

 

JROTC programs across North Carolina (and the country) won an important victory just before the New Year as Congress passed and President Biden signed legislation to ease the requirements on the type of military personnel that can be hired as instructors for the program. Previously, those instructors were limited to retired military. Under the new law, active reservists and the honorably discharged with at least eight years of service may now be employed as instructors. This makes it much easier for schools with JROTC programs to staff the instructor positions.

The legislation passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. NCSBA alerted districts across the State to contact their members of Congress and urge support of the bill. One of the early leaders in the fight was William “Bill” Sharpe, Nash County Board of Education Chair. Sharpe worked with Senator Thom Tillis’ office to monitor the legislation as it progressed through both chambers of Congress.

“This is a great victory for districts across North Carolina,” said Sharpe. “JROTC programs have benefitted so many students by not only teaching them leadership but providing them with real career opportunities. The challenge has been to keep the instructor positions staffed and with this important legislation passing, that task is much easier. I’m thankful to all the other districts who contacted their member of Congress and told them how important this was.”

 

The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.

December 19, 2022, Weekly Report

Headlines for this edition include:

  • National Center for Education Statistics Releases Results from National Teacher and Principal Survey
    • The survey produced four reports centered on reported characteristics of teachers, principals, schools, and the impact of COVID on public and private education. The teacher report notes that K-12 instructors are putting in 13 more hours per week on average than their contracts require. The principals’ report noted similar long hours.
  • Congress Passes Omnibus Spending Bill for Fiscal Year 2023
    • On December 23, 2022, President Biden signed the omnibus spending bill for the 2023 fiscal year. The legislation contains important education-related items including:
      • Title 1 increases of $850 million to a total of $18.39 billion, assisting more than half the nation’s public schools.
      • A 100% increase for Full Service Community Schools, which went from $75 million to $150 million.
    • For a more detailed analysis of the education-related items in the omnibus spending bill, click here.

 

The 2023 legislative long session kicks off with a ceremonial day on Wednesday, January 11. Legislators will then have a two-week break, and return to Raleigh on Wednesday, January 25 to begin their work. Unlike the circus we’ve been seeing in the US House these past few days, we expect House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, to easily be reelected into their leadership positions next Wednesday.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
NC School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – January 6, 2023
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NCSBA Legislative Update – December 16, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – December 16, 2022

 

House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future

On December 12, the Committee approved its final report, which includes summaries of the Committee’s meetings and six findings/recommendations for consideration by the 2023 General Assembly. The report does not include any draft legislation.

School Calendar: As we mentioned in our December 2 Legislative Update, the Committee’s Senior Chair, Representative John Torbett, R-Gaston, said the report will “suggest a Labor Day to Memorial Day calendar.” Instead, the report says, “the mandatory school calendar law should be adjusted to better fit the needs of students and educators” and “local boards of education should be given greater calendar flexibility” (see page 25). The report does not provide a clear solution to the local school calendar issue, and Chair Torbett stated that he wants to continue looking at the possibility of a Labor Day to Memorial Day calendar because it would be beneficial to keep students on the same statewide school calendar. Committee member, Representative David Willis, R-Union, said consideration should be given to aligning the traditional public-school calendar with the community college calendar to allow more students to participate in dual enrollment programs.

State Board of Education & State Superintendent: The report also includes a recommendation regarding the division of authority between the appointed State Board of Education (SBE) and the elected State Superintendent: “The Committee recommends that the General Assembly pass a constitutional amendment to allow the voters to determine the division of authority between the SBE and the Superintendent of Public Instruction” (see page 25). Committee member, Representative Rachel Hunt, D-Mecklenburg, cautioned against asking citizens to vote on this constitutional amendment because many people do not understand the responsibilities of the SBE and State Superintendent. Hunt said there would need to be a lot of public educatoin prior to placing this on the ballot.

Click here to access the final report, which includes these additional findings/recommendations:

  • All students should receive a high-quality standard education
  • NC should continue to increase educator pay, allow educators to focus on instructional duties, and provide educators with growth and advancement opportunities
    • Chair Torbett noted he is watching the teacher pay/licensure work of the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) and SBE
  • All children deserve a safe place to learn free from distraction
  • The NC student assessment system should be designed to generate useful data to help ensure students’ post-secondary success

Chair Torbett said this is the beginning of a long course of building a better education system in the State. He said he will be asking for the Committee to have more time next year to further develop these findings. Click here for an article on the meeting and the report.

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee

The Committee met on December 13 and approved its final report, which includes summaries of the Committee’s hearings and testimony, along with seven recommendations for consideration by the 2023 General Assembly. The report does not include any draft legislation. The K-12 education-related recommendations include:

  • Competency Based Education
    • DPI should conduct a statewide survey to determine what schools are implementing regarding competency-based education
  • Special Education Funding Formula
    • The State should move toward a service level model rather than a disability category model to ensure students are not over identified or placed in high-cost funding tiers
  • Excellent Public Schools Act/Read to Achieve/Literacy
    • DPI should partner with the UNC system and independent colleges and universities as they incorporate the science of reading into educator preparation programs (EPPs)
    • DPI should focus on incorporating highly effective interventions in low-performing schools
    • The General Assembly should continue supporting evidence-based early literacy practices and interventions
  • Schools That Lead
    • Schools That Lead, which provides professional development to school administrators and teachers, and the UNC system’s EPPs should collaborate to better equip beginning teachers

Click here for an article on the meeting and the report.

House Select Committee on Advancing Women in STEM

On December 6, the Committee approved its final report, which includes summaries of the Committee’s meetings and draft legislation for consideration in the upcoming 2023 long session (see pages 25-27). The draft legislation requires the State superintendent to establish a new STEM Program for the 2023-2025 fiscal biennium. The purpose of the Program is to provide grant funds to public school units to engage in experiential science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs.

Child Fatality Task Force

At its meeting on December 12, the Task Force was presented with 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data (see slides 54-73). DPI deploys the survey in the spring of every odd numbered year to help assess youth behaviors that impact their health now and in the future.

This was the first YRBS since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. The following are data points for high school students:

  • 49% of students reported feeling good about themselves, compared to 60% in 2019
  • 43% of students reported feeling sad or hopeless, compared to 36% in 2019
  • 30% of females reported that they seriously considered suicide, compared to 14% of males
  • 49% of LGBTQ+ students reported purposefully hurting themselves without wanting to die, compared to 13% of heterosexual students
  • 13% of students reported experiencing physical dating violence, compared to 7% in 2019
  • 14% of students reported being bullied on school property, compared to 19% in 2019

Click here for an article on the YRBS survey data.

 

DPI’s Testing and Accountability Working Group met on December 12 and continued its work of creating recommendations for redesigning the State’s school accountability model. The current model calculates school grades based on 80% student achievement and 20% student growth.

The Working Group was presented with updates to academic and school quality indicators, which will be included in the Working Group’s proposed accountability model. These lists of indicators were created based on feedback from a public statewide survey and input from education groups. During the meeting, DPI staff explained that some indicators were collapsed to provide more aligned metrics, and some indicators were removed because they had minimal agreeance (e.g., discipline and per-pupil expenditures) and because they had little to no valid and reliable measurements (see slides 6-12).

Click here to read more about the meeting. DPI staff will continue to refine the list of indicators and engage in stakeholder feedback. The next Working Group meeting is scheduled for January 31, 2023.

 

DPI’s Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) met on December 8 and reviewed the motion approved by the State Board of Education earlier this month regarding the teacher licensure/salary model blueprint for action. As a reminder, this model would pay teachers based on performance, effectiveness, and years of experience, rather than exclusively on years of experience. It would also provide higher salaries for most, if not all, teachers.

The motion directs PEPSC to make recommendations on how to implement pilots for the following areas of the model:

  1. Advance teaching and leader roles
  2. Student impact measures
  3. New pathway entry points, such as apprenticeships
  4. New professional learning tools and structures for beginning and experienced teachers

This draft working document provides guidance on how PEPSC is to create these recommendations. PEPSC Vice Chair, Dr. Aaron Fleming, explained that Commission members will break into four working groups based on the above key areas and that each group will hold an initial meeting prior to the holiday break.

The next PEPSC meeting is scheduled for January 12, 2023. Click here for an article on the December 8 meeting.

 

The following are the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education reports.

December 5, 2022, Weekly Report

  • Headlines for this edition include:
    • US Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee held a hearing to discuss the mental health needs of students and how the federal government can better support and ease the transition from high school to college. To watch the hearing, click here.

December 12, 2022, Weekly Report

  • Headlines for this edition include:
    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): The US Department of Education Office of Special Education Policy issued guidelines to help highly mobile children – those who are experiencing frequent moves into new school districts – receive special education services.

 

The 2023 legislative long session kicks off with a ceremonial day on Wednesday, January 11. Legislators will then have a two-week break, and return to Raleigh on Wednesday, January 25 to begin their work.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
NC School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – December 16, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – December 2, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – December 2, 2022

 

On November 14, the NCSBA Delegate Assembly approved NCSBA’s 2023-2024 Legislative Agenda, which will be used to guide the Association’s advocacy efforts. We are currently working on issue briefs for each item on the Legislative Agenda, so be on the lookout for those. Click here to access NCSBA’s Legislative Agenda.

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met this week on November 30 and December 1 for its December monthly meeting. Board members were presented with the following:

Teacher licensure/salary model – blueprint for action: On Thursday, the Board approved a blueprint of the draft teacher licensure/salary model, which would most likely be implemented as a pilot rather than a statewide revamp. Last month, Board members heard a presentation from the chair of DPI’s Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) on this blueprint. As a reminder, this draft model would pay teachers based on performance, effectiveness, and years of experience, rather than exclusively on years of experience. The draft model would also provide higher salaries for most, if not all, teachers.

At its November 10, 2022, meeting, PEPSC approved a version of this blueprint to be sent to the SBE for approval. On Thursday, the Board unanimously approved a motion acknowledging receipt of the blueprint, which includes 10 items. The motion also does the following:

  1. Requires the State Superintendent to identify how the blueprint aligns with the Board’s Strategic Plan and DPI’s Operation Polaris
  2. Directs SBE General Counsel to determine statutes and policies that would be impacted by the work of PEPSC
  3. Requests PEPSC to make recommendations to implement field testing or piloting for specific parts of the blueprint

The State Superintendent and SBE General Counsel are required to report back to the Board at the next monthly meeting on January 4 and 5, 2023, and PEPSC is required to report back to the Board no later than the monthly meeting on March 1 and 2, 2023. Board Chair Eric Davis explained that this approved motion precedes a motion for a formal legislative ask.

Click here for an article on the presentation and the Board’s discussion. Click here for an article on PEPSC’s November 10, 2022, meeting, which provides more information on PEPSC’s approval of this blueprint and the work still to be done.

NC school performance grades redesign: The Board was presented with an update on the work of the Testing and Accountability Working Group, which is in the process of creating recommendations for redesigning the current school accountability model. Earlier this fall, the Working Group launched a public survey to gain stakeholder feedback. The presentation to the Board included top academic and school quality indicators based on that feedback, as well as feedback gathered from various education groups including the NCSBA Board of Directors.

DPI presenters stated that there is consensus among education groups to recommend separate accountability models for elementary, middle, and high schools. Going forward, DPI will continue to refine the list of indicators based on feedback, review indicators to determine measurements of validity and reliability, and provide findings to the Working Group at its December 12, 2022, meeting. DPI staff stated that a recommendation from the Working Group will most likely be brought to the Board in February 2023.

Click here for an article on the presentation to the Board. Click here for an article on the Working Group’s November 7, 2022 meeting, which includes a review of the survey results and discussion about which indicators should be prioritized.

DPI’s Portrait of a Graduate update: The Board heard two presentations on DPI’s newly released State Portrait of a Graduate. The Portrait identifies seven competencies that students need for success after high school (click here for the list). State Superintendent Catherine Truitt explained the “why” behind the creation of the Portrait, saying that employers seek durable skills almost four times more than the top five technical/hard skills. Following a study over the past two years of 2.8 million job postings across 20 industries, DPI staff found that 2.1 million NC jobs demand durable skills. Truitt also presented the Portrait Playbook, which is meant to familiarize school districts with Portrait competencies. The Playbook is a living document that allows educators to provide feedback.

The other presentation on the Portrait was a request to continue using federal COVID reserve funds to roll out phases II and III, during which rubrics and performance assessments around the seven competencies will be created to guide the work of school districts in implementing the Portrait. The Board approved the funding request.

Click here for the Portrait FAQ and click here for the Portrait webpage.

Legislative requests for the 2023 long session: The Board received a brief update on DPI’s and SBE’s draft legislative requests. Minimal changes had been made since the November monthly meeting presentation, but Chair Davis said that more work will be done on the requests prior to the Board’s vote for approval at the January 2023 monthly meeting.

Click here to access all meeting materials. Click here for an article on the meeting.

 

House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future

During the November 15 meeting, Committee Chair, Representative John Torbett, R-Gaston, hinted at a few items that will be included in the Committee’s forthcoming report. Torbett said the report will “suggest a Labor Day to Memorial Day calendar” and recommend realigning the responsibilities of the State Superintendent, State Board of Education, and General Assembly. The report will also include a recommendation for increased teacher pay and advancement opportunities for teachers that will keep them in the classroom. Torbett said the report will be discussed and voted on at the Committee’s next meeting, which has not yet been scheduled.

Click here for a list of Committee members to contact if you have concerns about the upcoming report. (Click on individual Committee member pictures to access their contact information.)

The Committee also heard two presentations:

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee

The Committee met on November 29 and heard four presentations, two of which focused on K-12 education. DPI presented the Excellent Public Schools Act 2021-22 State Summary. Most notably among the findings, NC’s literacy growth in K-2 students outpaces all other states. Additionally, DPI is placing one Early Literacy Specialist in each of the State’s 115 school districts.

Schools That Lead presented on its efforts to provide professional development for teachers and principals. The organization focuses on improvement efforts at the classroom level, in order to elevate student outcomes. Their Networked Improvement Community initiative works with 52 schools across 15 districts and charters to increase on-time graduation, reduce ninth grade retention, and reduce the number of students with early warning indicators in attendance, behavior, and course performance. The network serves 30,000 students, 70% of whom live in poverty. According to the presentation, graduation rates and chronic absenteeism in these schools generally improved.

Click here for an article on the meeting.

 

As Congress wraps up its business before the end of the year, there’s an opportunity to help schools operating JROTC programs. The US Senate’s version of the annual Defense Authorization Bill contains language that broadens the pool of military professionals that schools may employ as JROTC instructors. Previously, those instructors were limited to retired military. The new language would allow active reservists and the honorably discharged with at least eight years of service to also be employed as instructors, thereby making it easier for schools to staff these positions.

NOW is the time to call and email members of the NC Congressional delegation to urge the inclusion of this important language in the final version of the Defense Authorization Bill. To find out who represents you and obtain contact information, click here.

 

The following are the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education reports.

November 7, 2022, Weekly Report

  • Headlines for this edition include:

November 14, 2022, Weekly Report

November 21, 2022, Weekly Report

 

The Committee met on November 29 and worked on goal setting and planning for 2023. The Committee broke into groups and discussed the following:

  • What State policies the Committee should inform
  • How the Committee can use its platform to elevate the teaching profession
  • What local education issues need to be highlighted
  • Who to partner with to advance the Governor’s priorities

Click here to read more about the Committee’s discussion. The Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for January 24, 2023.

 

Tuesday, December 6

3:00 pm – House Select Committee on Advancing Women in STEM – Legislative Offices Building, rm 643 (livestream)

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
NC School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – December 2, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – November 4, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – November 4, 2022

 

DPI’s Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) is in the process of drafting a new teacher licensure/salary model that pays teachers based on performance, effectiveness, and years of experience, rather than exclusively on years of experience.

PEPSC most recently met on October 13, where discussion centered around this presentation. Under the proposed salary schedule, NC teachers start with a base salary of $38,000 and can make up to $80,434. A hold harmless provision is also included to ensure teachers do not make less than they currently receive. Below is a snapshot of the proposed salary schedule, and a more detailed chart can be found on slide 20 of the presentation.

Click here for the October 13 meeting agenda and materials, click here for an article on the meeting, and click here for a recording of the meeting.

The State Board of Education (SBE) met for a planning and work session on November 1 and November 2 and heard two presentations pertaining to the draft teacher licensure/salary model. Neither presentation included a description of the draft model but rather provided guidance on what action the Board may take once it is presented with the draft model.

The first presentation explained the legal roles of PEPSC and SBE concerning policy-making around teacher licensure. Slide 12 spells out the governing law that allows PEPSC to bring the teacher licensure/salary model to SBE as a requested recommendation. This recommendation request was made by the SBE Chair after the Board heard a presentation on February 4, 2021, from members of the Human Capital Roundtable regarding a proposal to revise teacher training and licensure requirements. SBE Attorney, Allison Schafer, said Board members need to begin thinking about what request they want to submit to the General Assembly – statutory implementation of the draft model, which would limit SBE flexibility, or statutory changes to allow SBE to implement the draft model through rulemaking.

The second presentation was given by the PEPSC Chair who explained the architecture and design elements for the draft model. Following this presentation, Board members participated in small group discussions and provided feedback on the design elements (slides 10-11) and the blueprint for action (slides 12-15). There were multiple requests to provide clarity about what “learner outcomes” are expected when teachers are “assessed and analyzed”. Additionally, support was expressed for the blueprint of action that would assess teacher effectiveness from multiple evidence points.

Click here for an article highlighting SBE’s discussion on the teacher licensure/salary reform plan.

The timeline for approval of the draft teacher licensure/salary model is as follows:

  • PEPSC plans to vote on the finalized draft model at its next meeting scheduled for November 10
  • PEPSC plans to present the draft model as a discussion item at the next SBE meeting scheduled for November 30 and December 1
  • A date has not been set by SBE to approve the draft model
  • Once approved by SBE, the model will go to the General Assembly for consideration

 

As mentioned above, the State Board of Education (SBE) met on November 1 and November 2 for a planning and work session.  SBE met once more on November 3 for the Board’s monthly meeting.

During the planning and work session, where Board members heard two presentations pertaining to the draft teacher/licensure model, Board members also heard the following presentations:

Click here to access all planning and work session materials.

During the monthly meeting, Board members were presented with the following:

Teacher Working Conditions Survey update: The Board was presented with an in-depth review of the 2022 NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey results. The survey had a 92% response rate, and results can be viewed online in summary (on the state, district, or school level) or by individual item/question. Presenters stated a big takeaway from the survey results is the need for effective and differentiated professional development opportunities for educators and administrators. The presentation includes a series of slides showing administrator-educator question comparison, as well as a demonstration of how district leaders can use scatterplots to understand which schools need additional support and which schools are examples of success. Click here to access the survey webpage, which includes survey results from 2022, 2020, and 2018.

Legislative requests for the 2023 long session: Board members were presented with the first draft of DPI’s and SBE’s budget priorities for the 2023 legislative long session. Priorities include:

  • Continue funding to eliminate the student copay for reduced-price lunch through the next fiscal year
  • Increase funding for Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) programs
  • Modify the school psychologist allotment law that requires each LEA to employ one school psychologist to allow those funds to be used for contractual services if a LEA is unable to fill the school psychologist position

There was minimal discussion, as this was the first presentation on the budget priorities. These priorities will come back before the Board for discussion and approval.

School-Based Mental Health Plans and Compliance Report: The Board heard a presentation on a school mental health policy report that will be submitted to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. The presentation lists data sources that school districts used when identifying their priorities, which included the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and data from the Say Something App. Additionally, the presentation contains a series of slides comparing specific goals included in school districts’ mental health plans vs. compliance with those goals in the 2021-22 school year. Click here for the full report.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

Click here for an article on potential SBE budget priorities for the upcoming long session.

 

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) recently released a report assessing fourth and eighth grade math and reading scores. The report compared the 2022 scores to math scores from 1990 through 2019 and reading scores from 1992 through 2019. NC, and a majority of the country, saw a decline in scores in both subject areas and in both grades.

In response to the NAEP report, US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, stated: “The results released today from the National Assessment of Educational Progress are appalling, unacceptable, and a reminder of the impact that this pandemic has had on our learners. The data also represent a call to action for the important work we must do now for our students—especially those who have suffered the most during the pandemic.”

For NC, in particular, a DPI press release stated that average scores in fourth and eighth grade math have not been this low since 2000. Additionally, the percentage of fourth grade students scoring at “below basic” for reading achievement reached a 15-year high of 39%. State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said, “These findings reflect what our Office of Learning Recovery identified in March of this year regarding the effects of lost instructional time and reaffirms our commitment to working towards recovery and acceleration statewide.”

Click here for an article that takes a closer look at NC’s scores compared to prior years and shows break downs of the data by student subgroups.

 

DPI’s Center for Safer Schools awarded $74.1 million in school safety grants for the 2022-23 school year. The safety grants will benefit 111 LEAs and 89 charter schools across NC and will be used for safety equipment, school resource officers, training, and services for students in crisis.

A full list of districts and schools awarded grants can be found here.

 

In September 2022, DPI’s Testing and Accountability Working Group convened with the goal of creating recommendations for redesigning the State’s school accountability model. The current model calculates school grades based on a school’s achievement score (weighted 80%) and a school’s students’ academic growth (weighted 20%).

Thus far, the Working Group has held two meetings –  one on September 12 and another on October 17. During the October 17 meeting, the Working Group reviewed the results of a statewide survey conducted by DPI and EdNC about school performance grades. Over 19,000 people responded to at least one question on the survey. Survey results include the following statements of highest agreement across roles (see breakdown of roles on slide 16):

  • The NC legislature needs to reform school performance grades.
  • K-12 schools should have different measures of success for elementary, middle, and high schools.
  • Some level of standardized testing is necessary to understand how students are doing.
  • School performance grades should include measures beyond test scores and student growth.

For more information on the statewide survey results, click here. Click here for an article on the October 17 meeting.

Moving forward, the Working Group will continue to receive stakeholder feedback through November and begin examining new measures for school grades starting in December. The Working Group’s next meeting is scheduled for November 7.

 

On October 18, DPI released the State’s Portrait of a Graduate, which identifies seven competencies that students need for success after high school:

  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Learner’s mindset
  • Personal responsibility

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said, “There was and remains a steady need for students to develop skills outside of what we consider traditional technical skills and academic knowledge… This newly unveiled statewide Portrait is an important way we can allow, encourage, and invite schools to begin emphasizing durable skills in the classroom, and is a tool that will help students develop these competencies during their time in North Carolina public schools.”

Development of the Portrait began earlier this year as DPI staff worked directly with school districts, educators, students, employers, and business leaders to create a model that ensures student success in a range of postsecondary opportunities. DPI’s press release about the Portrait states: “The Portrait of a Graduate provides a potential framework for designing a multi-measured system of accountability that not only emphasizes strong academic outcomes but also highlights the durable skills and mindsets students need to thrive.” Additionally, the Portrait will inform the work of DPI’s Testing and Accountability Working Group as it creates recommendations for redesigning the State’s school accountability model.

Click here to access the Portrait webpage.

 

The NC Child Fatality Task Force (CFTF) met on October 31 and unanimously adopted the following two recommendations that will be included in the CFTF’s annual report submitted to the Governor and General Assembly:

  1. Appropriate $40 million in recurring funding for school health professionals to replace the $40 million provided through a COVID fund set to expire in 2023. According to CFTF’s presentation, with suicide rates for NC teens at the highest level in a decade, increased school supports for mental health are critically needed.
  2. Appropriate funding for a statewide school health data system. According to CFTF’s presentation, the current practice for keeping required health records varies, and many LEAs cannot afford an effective electronic record keeping system, which typically correlates with less access to healthcare for students.

Click here to access the meeting presentation, which includes more information on the adopted recommendations.

 

The following are the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education reports.

October 10, 2022, Weekly Report

October 17, 2022, Weekly Report

October 24, 2022, Weekly Report

October 31, 2022, Weekly Report

 

Tuesday, November 29
9:30 am – Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee – Legislative Offices Building, rm 544 (livestream)

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
NC School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – November 4, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – October 7, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – October 7, 2022

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met on Wednesday, October 5, and Thursday, October 6, for the monthly meeting. Board members were presented with the following:

School performance grade redesign update: State Superintendent Catherine Truitt provided the Board with an update on DPI’s advisory group that is creating recommendations to redesign the school performance grade model. Currently, school grades are calculated as 80% achievement and 20% growth. The redesigning work is being led by DPI’s Office of Innovation, and the advisory group held its first meeting on September 12 (click here for an article on the meeting). On September 22, the advisory group launched a public survey to gain critical stakeholder feedback. So far, over 15,000 people have completed the survey. About 43% of respondents are K-12 teachers, and so far, 91% of respondents agree that school quality needs to be measured in addition to testing and growth. Click here to access the survey, which closes on October 10.

Recommended changes to principal preparation requirements: Board members spent hours discussing proposed changes to principal preparation/licensure requirements. Over the past several months, DPI has gathered recommendations from various stakeholder groups based on the current principal licensure requirements, asking what should stay the same and what should change. During the meeting, DPI staff presented recommendations based on that stakeholder feedback, and Board members voted to approve a modified version of those recommendations. The Board approved the following motions to be submitted as requests for legislative action in the 2023 long session:

  1. Amend the statute requiring the passage of a licensure exam to allow the option of submitting an evidenced-based portfolio, as defined by SBE
  2. Remove “year-long” from the statute that requires a school administrator internship and allow SBE and DPI to adopt a framework to guide the development of the internship
  3. Amend the statute that requires classroom teaching experience to allow other licensed support personnel, such as social workers, media specialists, and counselors to be eligible for a school administrator license
  4. Amend the statute requiring a master’s degree in education administration to allow the option of an add-on licensure program if a candidate is holding a master’s in an education-related field

Although all four motions were approved, there was disagreement on whether to recommend keeping the licensure exam in statute and whether to recommend expanding the experience requirement to include other licensed support personnel. All stakeholder groups recommended removing the exam requirement, but some Board members pushed back, saying the exam is a baseline measurement of professionalism. The motion that was approved recommends allowing individuals to either take the exam or submit a portfolio. To read more about the Board’s discussion, click here.

Read to Achieve data report: The Board was presented with 2021-22 Read to Achieve accountability data, which shows NC’s K-2 students outperformed students in other states on literacy skills. Overall, the State’s first through third grade students saw literacy improvements from the 2020-21 school year, but proficiency is still below the pre-pandemic numbers of the 2018-19 school year. DPI staff stated that while there have been some great gains, there are also some large gaps in proficiency, and efforts need to continue to be proactive. Click here to access the state level summary report.

Virtual charter school pilot program report: The Board was presented with 2021-22 school year data on the State’s virtual charter school pilot program, which includes enrollment numbers, student performance and accountability data, graduation rates, and demographics. Both virtual charter schools continue to be low performing – receiving D performance grades and “Not Met” growth designations. The presentation also included comparative data to the State’s full-time virtual public schools, which shows the virtual charter schools are behind the virtual public schools in grade level proficiency and college and career readiness. The Board was also presented with a final report on virtual charter school enrollment, which follows the SBE’s approval of a waiver allowing these schools to enroll hundreds more students for the 2022-23 school year than is allowed under current law. (For more on the enrollment waiver, click here to access our August 5, 2022, Legislative Update.)

Click here to access all meeting materials. Click here for an article on the meeting.

 

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee

The Committee met on Wednesday, October 5, and heard a presentation from Dr. Sherry Thomas, Senior Director of the Office of Exceptional Children at DPI. Dr. Thomas presented recommendations from a report on special education funding that was previously presented by RTI to the State Board of Education.

The report found that other states are moving towards special education funding models based on service level, rather than the model used in North Carolina based on disability category. RTI recommends that DPI continue the development of a funding model based on service level, using Every Child Accountability Tracking System (ECATS) data to monitor implementation, and ensure students are not over-identified or placed in service-intensive, high-cost funding tiers. RTI also explained that a service level model provides more accurate and direct accounting of costs.

House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future

The Committee met on October 3 at the North Carolina Center for Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in Cullowhee. Committee members were given a presentation on teacher trends in the State, which included data on teacher preparation programs, and a presentation on NCCAT, which is a State organization that provides residential professional development for NC public school teachers. Click here to watch a recording of the meeting.

The Committee also met on September 12 at Harding University High School in Charlotte. Committee members were given a presentation on career pathways provided by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, including partnerships with Road to Hire, The ROC (Rebuilding Opportunities in Construction), and Central Piedmont Community College. Click here to watch a recording of the meeting.

 

The following are the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education reports.

September 6, 2022, Weekly Report

September 12, 2022, Weekly Report

  • Headlines for this edition include:
    • Secretary of Education Cardona Comes to NC: Recently, Secretary Cardona was in the Triad, along with First Lady Jill Biden as part of a Road to Success School Bus Tour. They visited North Carolina A&T State University, as well as Guilford Technical Community College.

September 19, 2022, Weekly Report

  • Headlines for this edition include:
    • Four NC Universities Win $4.5 Million In Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Grants: The TQP program from the USED funds teacher preparation programs in high-need communities at colleges and universities for the undergraduate, “fifth-year” level, and for teaching residency programs for individuals new to teaching with strong academic and professional backgrounds. Four North Carolina Universities have won the grants: High Point University, Winston-Salem State, East Carolina University, and UNC-Charlotte.
    • Five NC Schools Among 297 Nationwide Awarded as National Blue Ribbon School by USED: Founded in 1983, the Blue Ribbon School award is specifically meant to recognize schools that close achievement gaps in subgroups. North Carolina’s 2022 recipients are:
      • East Robeson Primary School, Robeson County
      • Southeastern Academy, Robeson County
      • 71st Classical Middle School, Cumberland County
      • A. Bess Elementary School, Gaston County
      • Weatherstone Elementary School, Wake County

September 26, 2022, Weekly Report

  • Headlines for this edition include:
    • Educators Release Joint Statement on Solution to Teacher Shortage: A number of professional organizations for teachers released a statement detailing solutions for the national teacher shortage crisis, arguing that short-term solutions will not correct the systemic issues that existed prior to the pandemic; that “filling classrooms with under qualified individuals” is not the answer.

October 3, 2022, Weekly Report

 

The NCSBA Governmental Relations team is now fully staffed after adding two new lobbyists in September. Please welcome Madison Skeens and Rob Black. Madison earned her law degree from Campbell University and worked at the General Assembly for the House majority before joining NCSBA. Rob Black earned his master’s degree from George Washington University. He was involved in DC politics for more than a decade before returning home to North Carolina where he ran his own public relations/lobbying firm for fifteen years. One thing to know about Rob – his favorite color is red and to say he’s extremely proud of that is putting it lightly.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
NC School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – October 7, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – September 2, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – September 2, 2022

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met on Tuesday, August 30, and Wednesday, August 31, for a planning and work session, followed by the Board’s monthly meeting on Thursday, September 1. During the September monthly meeting, Board members were presented with the following:

2021-2022 school year accountability data: Prior to the presentation of 2021-2022 school year accountability data, it was noted that 2018-2019 school year data would be included for context, not evaluation. Additionally, Board members were reminded that due to the COVID-19 pandemic both testing and accountability was waived for the 2019-2020 school year and accountability was waived for the 2020-2021 school year. While test scores have increased from the 2020-2021 school year, students are not back to pre-pandemic levels of proficiency. The following are highlights of 2021-2022 school year accountability data:

  • School growth scores (slide 47)
    • Exceeded: 28.8% (27.9% in 2018-2019)
    • Met: 40.8% (45.5% in 2018-2019)
    • Did Not Meet: 30.4% (26.7% in 2018-2019)
  • School performance grades (slide 54)
    • A: 5.6% (8% in 2018-2019)
    • B: 17.2% (29.3% in 2018-2019)
    • C: 35% (41% in 2018-2019)
    • D: 32.1% (18.2% in 2018-2019)
    • F: 10.2% (3.6% in 2018-2019)
  • Low-performing designation (slide 67)
    • Schools: 864 (488 in 2018-2019)
    • Districts: 29 (8 in 2018-2019)
  • The four-year cohort graduation rate was 86.2% (slide 8)
    • 86.5% in 2018-2019

Following the presentation, Board members praised the progress that schools have made while also acknowledging the work that still needs to be done. Vice Chair Alan Duncan said, “For anyone who seeks to criticize educators based on the release of this data, you are wrong…We should be praising and encouraging our educators and lifting them up.”

  • Click here to access the performance and growth data
  • Click here to access the graduation rate data
  • Click here for a further breakdown on the data on the state, region, district, and school levels
  • Click here for an article on the presentation and discussion of the data

Principal retention supplement: The 2022 State budget requires principals’ salaries to be based on school growth scores from the 2021-2022 school year, beginning on January 1, 2023. For the past several years, salaries have been based on school growth data from the best two out of three previous school years. This change in salary calculation is predicted to decrease pay for 15% of principals by amounts between $7,200 and $18,000 over a one-year period. In response to this legislative change, the Board approved the utilization of $4.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to supplement the salaries of principals whose pay will be negatively impacted. Click here to access the State Superintendent’s statement about the plan to address this principal pay issue.

Recommendations for changes to principal preparation requirements: The Board received an update on proposed revisions to principal licensure requirements. Over the past several months, DPI has gathered recommendations from various stakeholder groups based on the current principal licensure requirements, asking what should stay the same and what should change. During the meeting, DPI staff presented recommendations based on that stakeholder feedback, with the plan of requesting the Board’s approval at the October meeting. There was much discussion amongst Board members, with disagreements on whether to require a licensure exam and teaching experience. Following the discussion, Dr. Olivia Oxendine, who chairs the committee overseeing the process of reforming principal preparation requirements, said she would like to have more time to discuss these recommendations prior to sending them to the legislature for consideration.

School health support personnel report: The Board was presented with a report on school health support personnel that will be submitted to the legislature. The report compares the State’s student to health support personnel ratios with the nationally recommended ratios. It also lists barriers individuals face when entering each school health support profession and includes the following recommendations:

  • Reduce student ratios to the recommended ratios of each profession to aid manageability of student caseloads
  • Employ at least one social worker, psychologist, and nurse in each school to strengthen on site student support services teams
  • Fund competitive salaries to increase retention and recruitment
  • Create clearer job descriptions to protect school health support personnel from engaging in inappropriate job duties

Click here for the full report.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

During the planning and work session, Board members participated in small group discussions and were presented with the following:

Click here to access all planning and work session materials.

 

On Wednesday, the State Supreme Court heard arguments on funding the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. The objective of the Leandro Plan is to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a sound basic education, as required by the State constitution. This hearing follows Superior Court Judge Michael Robinson’s finding that $785 million of State funds is needed “to properly fund years two and three” of the eight-year Leandro Plan.

Earlier this year, Robinson replaced Superior Court Judge David Lee. After this replacement, the State Supreme Court ordered Robinson to review Lee’s November 10, 2021, order prior to the Leandro case coming before the Supreme Court. Lee’s order called for the transfer of over $1.7 billion from the unappropriated balance in the General Fund to fund the Leandro Plan. Robinson amended Lee’s order to instead call for $785 million, following an analysis of how much the State budget, which passed on November 18, 2021, funds the Plan. Robinson’s order, however, declined to direct the transfer of funds.

Members of the seven-justice Supreme Court questioned the parties on whether a trial judge had ever previously ruled that there was a statewide violation of the constitutional right to the opportunity to receive a sound basic education and whether the courts can order the transfer of the $785 million to state agencies for the Leandro Plan. Click here for an article that provides more details on the hearing, as well as background on the case. It is not known when the Supreme Court will release its decision.

Click here to access a recording of the hearing.

 

Last week, data was released showing that during the 2021-2022 school year, NC’s K-2 students outperformed students in other states on literacy skills. This article provides more context on the data.

 

The Committee met on August 15 and August 29. During the August 15 meeting, Committee members were given the following presentations on principals:

During this meeting, legislators voiced support for solving the issue of looming pay cuts for some principals beginning in January 2023, which is when the 2022 State budget requires principal salary to be based on school growth data from the 2021-2022 school year. (See “Principal retention supplement” under the SBE Planning/Work Session and Monthly Meeting section for more on how the SBE plans to resolve this issue.)

Click here to access all meeting materials.

During the August 29 meeting, Committee members were given the following presentations on school discipline:

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.

 

Tuesday, September 6

9:30 am – Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee – Legislative Offices Building, room 643 (livestream)

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – September 2, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – August 5, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – August 5, 2022

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met on Wednesday and Thursday this week and were presented with the following:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. The draft model would allow teachers to advance in their career without having to leave the classroom for an administrative position.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 pathways.feedback@dpi.nc.gov). 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.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – August 5, 2022
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