#NCED Updates: Teacher Strike Looms, Cooper’s Budget, Legislative Updates & More

Here’s the latest round of education update from around the state of North Carolina.

Included in this edition are key points about the looming teacher’s strike, education highlights from Governor Cooper’s proposed budget, as well as various legislative and Charter school updates.

Grab your coffee, this is a long article.

UNION LED TEACHER STRIKE LOOMS

Despite the talking points put out by the NC Association of Educators, this is a strike and not a “day or legislative action” or a “March for Respect.”

Yes, it’s a strike. That’s what you call 37 districts shutting down because teachers are refusing to show up, leaving over 800,000 kids shit out of luck for an education that day.

Nothing quite like an educator protest that misspells your state’s “teachers lobby” name.

There is no honest dialogue being had on this strike. It’s NEA affiliate, the NCAE banging on pots and pans to drown out the facts.

Their list of “demands” resembles something one might have seen at Occupy Wall Street and many of the items on their list are almost 100% local school board and county commissioner funding issues.

Make no mistake, this strike is about scoring political points.

This strike is not about respect. It’s not about the kids.
It’s not about anything the NCAE claims it’s about.

This is about political power and unions.

Yes, this strike is political and, yes, it is about teacher pay despite this year being the 5th consecutive year of teacher pay raises.  This strike is positively tone deaf.

Meanwhile, no one is talking about the elephant in the room when it comes to education funding: School board budget incompetence and administrative bloat.

And yes, this strike is about teacher pay, despite this year being the 5th consecutive year of raises for teachers in North Carolina.

Some data sets on Teacher Pay, courtesy of Speaker Moore’s office:

  • In 2018 a fifth consecutive pay raise will be provided to North Carolina teachers.
  • The average teacher pay raise from 2017-19 will be $4,412.
  • The average teacher pay raise from 2014-2019 will be $8,600, a 19.1% increase.
  • North Carolina ranked #1 in the U.S. for fastest rising teacher pay in 2017 according to the National Education Association.
  • North Carolina ranked #2 in the U.S. for fastest rising teacher pay in 2018 according to the National Education Association.
  • A teacher with five years of experience would earn $9,200 more in 2018-19 than the same teacher in 2013-14, from $30,800 to $40,000, a 29.9% increase.
  • A teacher with twelve years of experience would earn $15,330 more in 2018-19 than that teacher did in 2013-14, from $31,670 to $47,000, a 48% increase.
  • A teacher with sixteen years of experience would earn $11,840 more in 2018-19 than the same teacher did in 2013-14, from $38,160 to $50,000, a 31% increase.
  • A teacher with twenty-five years of experience would earn $9,040 more in 2018-19 than they did in 2013-14, from $42,260 to $51,300, a 21.4% increase.

The above list of teacher pay increases is supplemented with additional compensation and bonus programs:

  • Other bonus programs and compensation incentives for North Carolina teachers:
  • Other programs/incentives/bonuses instituted by the legislature:
  • Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement
  • Initial Teacher Licensing Fee Reimbursement
  • Future Teachers of North Carolina
  • Supplements for Highly Qualified Graduates
  • Advanced Teaching Roles Pilot Program
  • New Teacher Support Program
  • Highly qualified Teacher Salary Supplements
  • 3rd Grade Reading Bonuses
  • AP/IB/CTE Bonuses
  • 4th-8th Reading/Math Bonuses
  • Veteran teacher bonuses
  • New Teaching Fellows Program

The strike has left parents across the state scrambling to arrange child care that day. Parents in the Wake County area should check out the NC GOP, who has rented out Coconut Charlie’s from 10am to 5pm the day of the strike.

The event is open to all families regardless of political affiliation.

There will be two sessions, 10AM – 1PM, and 2PM – 5PM. Food will be available for purchase from Coconut Charlie’s and Republican volunteers will also be staffing a study room to assist students with homework. Sign up here.

The day after the strike, Republican Craig Horn has decided it’s a good idea to head into an education forum hosted by the News and Observer which will feature two teachers, one of which is an NCAE agitator and the other a Gates-funded Hope Street Group fellow. Oh, and NC Justice Center’s arrogant policy hack hatchet man ‘education policy analyst’, Kris Nordstrom will be there too. All I have to say to Rep. Horn is WTH are you thinking, sir?

Strike Tied to Blueprint NC

You might be wondering about reports that the teachers are being paid to protest.  Whether or not that’s true probably depends on your point of view.

It’s been uncovered at a far Left non-profit run by a Blueprint NC board member and a Durham Councilwoman has set up a separate website to ‘fund’ or ‘reimburse’ teachers for the cost of walking off their jobs to attend the strike in Raleigh.

 

I’ve written about the Southern Vision Alliance and it’s web of “non-profit” affiliates several times.  This outfit’s funded everything from bail for Black Lives Matter protesters to various LGBT related events and protests.

Their finances have skyrocketed over the last year, going from gross receipts of $275,497 in 2014 to $1,033,692 in 2016. One major funder for the group is Democracy NC and Blueprint NC’s benefactor, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

It’s also worth noting that Loan Tran, the spokesperson of the Communist World Workers Party and one of those arrested in connection with the destruction of a statue in Durham is affiliated with Southern Vision Alliance.

COOPER’S BUDGET

Late last week, Roy Cooper made his budget proposals public.  Read the press release here.

Roy Cooper Stunt T-Shirt CropUnlike last year, he doesn’t try to strip school choice out of the budget. That’s likely because he’s secretly suing to try to stop the funding of Opportunity Scholarships but wants $30 million for his own scholarship program.  Much to Cooper’s school choice hating chagrin, the OSP Program was upheld in court yet again.

Here are the education-related pieces in Cooper’s budget:

He wants $30 million to “create the NC GROW (Getting Ready for Opportunities in the Workforce) Scholarship.”

How does Cooper want to pay for his scholarship?  Apparently, by “restructuring the unemployment tax”:

“The estimated $60 million in revenues generated from restructuring the unemployment tax (net impact lowers effective tax rate from 1.9% to 1.68%, an 11% reduction) supports the NC Job Ready workforce programs described above.”

Cooper also wants 2,000 more pre-k slots (cost of which is not provided).

Here’s all the spending Cooper wants to do for K-12: $123,000,000

  • $3 million to expand the academically gifted student’s programs
  • $5 million for professional development
  • $15 million added the to Smart Start Program (10% increase)
  • $25 million for textbooks & digital resources
  • $75 million in lottery funds and other education receipts to reduce K-3 class size

And here’s some more K-12 spending: $559,000,000

  • $3 million for more security staff at Elementary and Middle schools
  • $7 million to increase the allotment of funds for high school SRO
  • $40 million in flexible funding to hire more mental health school staff
  • $65 million reserve for building improvements related to safety and security at K-12 public schools
  • $444,000 to support the School Risk Management System that provides assistance with risk planning, school-wide exercises and monitoring to each school
    district.

Additionally, Cooper has college level and related ‘workforce programs’: $32,000,000

  • $2.5 million to bolster student support services at Historically Black Colleges
  • $3 million to recruit and retain faculty at public universities.
  • $5 million to support UNC campuses that have small enrollments
  • $5 million for the UNC System to improve graduation rates and reduce time-to-degree
  • $16.5 million for short-term continuing workforce education programs

How does Cooper want to pay for all of his education proposals? By freezing tax cuts.

Cooper thinks he can get $100 million for teacher raises by freezing the corporate income tax rate which, by law, will drop from 3% to 2.5% next year.

But Cooper’s after your “crumbs” too, North Carolinians.  He wants to create a whole new tax bracket using the current 5.499% rate on those he considers ‘wealthy’.  That new bracket would be only for income above $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for joint filers. Does this sound familiar?  Fair share, anyone?

“What we are hearing appears to be more of an unserious attempt to score political points in an election year than a responsible, sustainable budget for 10 million North Carolinians,” House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said in a joint press release.

Supt. Mark Johnson weighed in on the Cooper Budget:

“I am pleased with many of the education items in Gov. Cooper’s budget request, such as more funding for textbooks and digital learning. And I commend the governor for proposing pay increases for teachers that are very similar to the General Assembly’s plan for next school year. With this developing bipartisan consensus, I am confident that teachers will see a well-deserved fifth year in a row of pay increases above the inflation rate.”

Read Cooper’s education proposals here.
Read the full budget document here.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Transportation Grant Updates from the Office of Charter Schools:

$2.5 million dollars was provided to the NC Department of Public Instruction to establish a Charter School Transportation Grant Program for the 2017-18 school year.

The purpose of the Charter School Transportation Grant pilot program is to reimburse a charter school that has a student enrollment of at least fifty percent (50%) of its students residing in households with an income level not in excess of the amount required for a student to qualify for the federal free or reduced price lunch program.

[…]

OCS has completed the review of the fall transportation grant submissions and notifications of the grant award was sent to each school.

Schools wishing to receive consideration for the spring submission must send documentation (see attached) by May 18, 2018 to allow enough time to close out end-of-year (EOY) processes. Contact ocs@dpi.nc.gov with questions or concerns.

New Charter Leadership Institute Event:

Registration is now open for the New Charter School Leaders Institute. This 2-day event will be held June 12-13 at the DPI Building in downtown Raleigh (301 N. Wilmington St.) from 8:00 to 5:00.

Link to register here.
The registration deadline is Sunday, May 20.

PRINCIPALS OF THE YEAR

NC Principal of the year this year is Tabari Wallace, a Craven County Principal.
He was principal of Havelock Middle School from 2008 to 2015 and principal of H.J. MacDonald Middle School from 2015 to 2017. This year is his first as principal of West Craven High.

Regionals:
Piedmont-Triad: Tracy Kimmer, Yadkin Early College (Yadkin County Schools);
Northeast: Michelle White, D.F. Walker Elementary (Edenton-Chowan Public Schools);
North Central: Jonathan Enns, Fuquay-Varina High (Wake County Public Schools);
Sandhills: Jim Butler, Richmond Senior High (Richmond County Schools);
Southeast: Tabari Wallace, West Craven High (Craven County Schools);
Southwest: Titus L. Hopper, Cleveland Early College High (Cleveland County Schools);
Northwest: Desarae Kirkpatrick, Nebo Elementary (McDowell County Schools) and
Western: Melissa Godfrey, Andrews Elementary (Cherokee County Schools).

WCPSS TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Betsy Jordan, 5th grade, Fox Road Elementary.

DPI UPDATES

State Board of Education approves report on DPI operational review:

Under legislation passed in 2017, the state superintendent initiated a third-party review of DPI’s organizational, functional, and business-process operations. Ernst and Young (EY) was selected to perform the work. EY spent several months at DPI and interviewed more than 100 DPI employees and 100 external stakeholders, including superintendents, principals and teachers.

The EY team condensed what they learned into 18 recommendations in its final report. The recommendations can be grouped into two broad themes for transforming the agency:

DPI can improve services to North Carolina public schools by reducing internal silos and by delivering a more consistent vision for how to support local schools and students
By improving internal business processes and consolidating information technology activities, DPI can focus resources on supporting schools, educators, and students

To help ensure effective implementation of the EY recommendations, the SBE and the state superintendent have made two requests to the General Assembly:

Delay of the $5.1 million management flexibility reduction scheduled to take effect on July 1. According to the report cover submitted by the agency, reductions of more than $5 million for next year will prevent the strategic implementation of thoughtful changes that will yield efficiencies over a multi-year period and improve DPI effectiveness on behalf of students.

Inclusion of language in appropriations legislation this session permitting the department to restructure positions, operating budget, and related funding and fund-code structures on a recurring basis that may be necessary to implement the EY recommendations.

Supporting documents here.
The full list of DPI updates here.

STATE BOARD LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Link to report below here.  An item of note is the updating of licensure procedures. Hopefully, we see a bill this session fixing the state’s ridiculous patchwork of background checks and district-level reporting of predatory teachers.

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee approved their report and proposed legislation which outlines the following findings, recommendations, and legislative proposals:

  • Extend Pilot/Virtual Charter Schools – The Committee recommended that the sunset on the virtual charter school pilot program be extended for four more years so that it sunsets with the 2022-2023 school year in order to reassess the student outcomes in virtual charter schools over a longer period of time.
  • University of North Carolina (UNC) Laboratory Schools – The Committee found that these Laboratory Schools will provide parents with another choice in public education and will provide local school administrative units with clear and easy access to the best academic researchers and teachers in the educator preparation programs at the various constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina.
  • North Carolina Teaching Fellows – The Committee strongly supports the program and found that recruiting, preparing, and supporting individuals to become highly effective science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and special education teachers in the State’s public schools is an important policy goal that can be achieved through the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program (Program) which was reestablished by the General Assembly in 2017. They also found that the Program will provide unique enrichment opportunities and experiences that focus on developing the leadership potential of Teaching Fellows and instill a greater sense of purpose, service, and professionalism.

Cross-training Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Licensure Section Staff – The Committee strongly recommends DPI:

  • Prioritize making licensure policies and process clear and useful to applicants and their employers
  • Improve online information about the licensure process and keep applicants and their employers informed of licensure status and updates
  • Build and maintain a supportive and performance oriented culture in the Licensure Section with an emphasis on training and communication
  • Enhance the technology for the online licensure system and build a reporting functionality for the Licensure Section
  • Implement a cross-training program for all of the employees of the Section in order to improve timely processing of educator license applications

Other updates:

  • Schools That Lead – The Committee found that high-quality professional development for teachers is of utmost importance because teachers have the greatest in-school impact on student learning. They also found that STL’s use of improvement science allows educators to state their theories and assumptions, determine the effectiveness of ideas for change, and measure the impact of the change on student outcomes.
    ENC STEM (Eastern North Carolina STEM program) – The Committee found that ENC STEM, a residential STEM enrichment program for underserved students, provides strong positive impacts for its participants.
  • Medical Education & Residency Study – The Committee proposed legislation to examine ways to support medical education and medical residency programs to address the short-term and long-term health care needs.
  • List and percentage of any LEAs that did not provide information for the report.
    Student & School Safety
  • Recommendations made by the Student Health Working Group, The Student Physical Safety Working Group endorsed the following recommendations and proposed legislation to be considered at their next meeting.

Here’s an area that should interest parents quite a bit seeing as how Wake County and many other districts blew off the 2013 state statute requiring districts to teach cursive writing and multiplication tables.

Revise Cursive and Multiplication Report – The Committee supports legislation to require an annual report that includes the following information on the implementation of the cursive writing and multiplication tables requirements:

  • List and percentage of local school administrative units (LEAs) in compliance with the cursive writing requirement, as well as a list and percentage of LEAs not in compliance.
  • List and percentage of LEAs in compliance with the memorization of multiplication tables requirement, as well as a list and percentage of LEAs not in compliance.
  • List of instructional strategies used by each local school administrative unit (LEA) to implement the cursive writing requirement, broken down by LEA.
  • Percentage of LEAs using various cursive writing instructional strategies.

Report highlights listed below are here.

A Civitas poll reinforces the public’s desire for more SRO’s (43% want it and 45% said local governments should handle it).

The full list of Legislative updates is here.

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About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is the former Co-Founder and Managing Editor at American Lens. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com. Her past writing can also be found at IJ review, Breitbart, FOX news, Da Tech Guy Blog, Heartland Institute, Civitas Institute and StopCommonCoreNC.org. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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