Some quick hits in North Carolina education news this time around include appointments to the State Board of Education, Calendar flexibility for counties hit by Hurricane Florence and a big charter school grant.
1 – State Board of Ed Appointments
J.B. Buxton, Jill Camnitz and James Ford were appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor Cooper.
- Jill Camnitz of Greenville as a representative of the 1st Education District. Camnitz is chair of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain Board of Directors. Camnitz also serves on the Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County, Pitt County Educational Foundation and Brody Foundation. She previously served as a member and as chair for the Pitt County Board of Education.
- James E. Ford of Charlotte as a representative of the 6th Education District. Ford is the principal at Filling the Gap Education Consultants, LLC and serves as co-chair for the Leading on Opportunity Council in Charlotte. Ford previously served as the program director at the Public School Forum of North Carolina and was the North Carolina State Teacher of the Year during 2014-2015.
- JB Buxton of Raleigh as a member at-large. Buxton is the founding principal of the Education Innovations Group and has also worked as the deputy state superintendent of the North Carolina Department for Public Instruction. Buxton has served as an appointed member of the Raleigh Planning Commission and as a soccer coach with the Capital Area Soccer League.
I know a fair bit about Buxton and Ford, but little about Camnitz other than she thinks cursive writing is a waste of time and folks from her neck of the woods call her ‘anti-school choice.’
I wrote about Buxton the last time Cooper tried to appoint him and the legislature rejected him. He’s bad news for school choice and is tied to multiple far-left organizations:
Buxton, a former NC State Superintendent candidate, has several ties to radical and far Left organizations in North Carolina. Buxton’s campaign team included Tom Lambeth, the former executive director of the liberal Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has been responsible for a large amount of funding for BluePrint NC, the liberal organization which penned the now famous attack memo outlining the ‘crippling and evisceration of Republicans in North Carolina.
Lambeth wasn’t the only one on board with far left ties. Buxton’s donors in 2004 included far-left billionaire, George Soros, who gave the campaign $2,000.
Ford is a former Teacher of the Year for 2014 who is first and foremost a Social Justice Warrior. This past February, Ford posted to his website an article titled “We Need More Teachers Like Black Panther’s T’Challa, Now!”
The current SJW education buzzwords “equity” and “diversity” drip out of his mouth every other sentence. His focus on poverty issues and lessening testing are the only places I think he and I might have common ground.
His obsession with resegregation and race is disturbing:
2 – Calendar Flexibility for Districts Hit By Hurricane Florence
The legislature came back early for a special session and passed SB 2 titled “School Calendar & Pay/Hurricane Florence” Governor Cooper signed it and it is now Session Law 2018-135.
SB 2 allows for flexibility in the school calendar, options for how the time can be made up, and 20-day calendar waivers for making up missed class time in districts located in counties declared a federal disaster.
Schools outside the disaster areas that closed down also have options for making up time. Those schools and districts will only be required to make up whichever option is lower – either two days of school or the currently required 185 instructional days.
District school employees and teachers will be compensated the same during September and October of 2018 as they would have under normal circumstances.
In addition to lawmakers activities, a group of former Superintendents have come together to create Florence Aid to Students and Teachers of North Carolina or NC FAST for short. The group is taking donations for Florence relief through the NC Education fund. Donations can be made HERE.
3 – A Big Grant for Expanding Charter Schools
Department of Public Instruction wins federal grant to expand charter school opportunities for traditionally underserved students
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Office of Charter Schools will receive $23.6 million over five years. North Carolina is one of eight states to receive the Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter School Program grants from the U.S. Department of Education.
The funding, which totals $10.4 million for the federal fiscal year that began Monday, will be used for sub-grants to new and existing charter schools to:
- Assist new charter schools that will serve a large economically disadvantaged student population in their planning year
- Assist charter schools in their first three years of operation that serve a large, economically disadvantaged student population
- Assist high-quality charter schools that serve a large economically disadvantaged population and want to replicate
- Assist high-quality charter schools that want to expand to serve a larger economically disadvantaged population
And now a bit about free speech… on NC Campuses. Two takes on one report:
Reminder: NC Lt. Governor Leads on Free Speech