#NCED Updates: A Diversity Inventory, a Bill and a Scholarship

This installment of NCED Updates includes a Diversity Inventory, a Bill and a Scholarship. Also, more “equity” talk with no solutions and some state and national headlines.

#1 – Diversity Inventory given to 10th graders at Heritage High

Diversity Inventory - WCPSSA “Diversity Inventory” worksheet asking highly personal questions about religion and sexuality was yanked after outraged parents contacted the school, the district and images of the sheet circulated online.

View a clean copy here.

On Aug. 28, Heritage High Principal Scott Lyons posted a message to parents about the lesson. The statement was very similar to that released by WCPSS Communications Director Lisa Luten.

Read more details about this story here and the update in my latest WCPSS specific article.

#2 – A bill for teacher pay

Since Governor Cooper vetoed the budget, the General Assembly has been working on several stand-alone bills on pay raises for state employees, law enforcement and teachers.

Bills for raises for state employees, correctional facilities staff and law enforcement all passed and were signed by Cooper. The teacher pay bill (HB 426) hasn’t been finished yet and will likely be taken up after the Labor Day holiday.

The bills below were signed into law and can be looked up at the NCGA website.

  • HB 609 (Correctional facilities personnel)
  • HB 226 (State employees)
  • HB 126 (Highway patrol, law enforcement)
  • HB 777 (State Bureau of Investigation, alcohol enforcement officers)

Governor Cooper has also been given SB 621, Testing Reduction Act of 2019, to sign.

#3 – A scholarship “regardless of citizen status”

North Carolina State University (NCSU) has opened up its prestigious Park Scholarship to any student who is graduating from high school “regardless of citizen status.”

NCSU is funded in part by public dollars as part of the UNC System, however, the scholarship is funded by an endowment.

#4 – More “Equity” talk with no solutions

James Ford & his new venture, CREED, have been putting out ‘analysis’ papers at Education NC. The main thrust is nothing new and centers on minority students not performing at the same levels as white or Asian students.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the entries at Education NC describing CREED:

“There needs to be an organization that’s expressly dedicated to tackling race issues and education, specific to the North Carolina context,” Ford said. “It needs to be able to dedicate all of its energies to researching the problem, engaging stakeholders around that problem, and furthermore helping to implement solutions for change. This organization, CREED, the Center for Racial Equity in Education, is positioned to do that.”

Except he doesn’t say what those solutions are or how it will be done.

According to the most recent NC State Board of Education newsletter promoting their “2025 Strategic Equity Plan,” the plan’s goals are listed as:

  • Eliminate opportunity gaps by 2025
  • Improve school and district performance by 2025
  • Increase educator preparedness to meet the needs of every student by 2025

But the board doesn’t say how they will achieve those goals.

James Ford sits on the NC Board of Education and is the co-chairman of the board’s Strategic Planning Committee. In the board’s newsletter, it says Ford “emphasized the plan’s focus on equity, which he said for educational systems is a “recognition that gifts and talents are distributed fairly equally, but opportunity is not.”

The plan, he said, is intended to help correct those imbalances by “implementing interventions that take into account that differentiated distribution of opportunity and builds a system that recognizes that. What we’re really doing is equalizing opportunity.”

And once again, Ford doesn’t say how this will happen.

There is a glimmer of ‘how’ to overcome minority ‘equity issues’ in a single line of this nearly 5,100-word CREED analysis article at Education NC.

“First, all student groups of color have inequitable access to the kinds of rigorous coursework and effective teachers necessary to ensure college and career readiness for all students.”

Given Ford is on the State Board of Education and that board has had the low achievement of minorities on their radar since at least 2008, this is an absurd statement:

“The urgency of fully understanding the matter at hand is further increased by the recognition that those responsible for educational policy and practice in North Carolina do not appear to regularly conduct comprehensive, action-oriented analyses of the state of racial equity intended to produce reform.”

In another CREED related ‘analysis’ article at EducationNC, he writes about the SAT as if it was a tool of racism.

Ford writes that “our results suggest that non-Asian students of color may be differentially exposed to educational conditions and contexts that may limit the ability of students to be competitive in the college admissions process.”

His “takeaways” in a nutshell are that Asian and white kids are privileged and therefore do really well on the SAT and ACT and that’s just not fair. And again, he doesn’t say how.

#5 – Headlines, Quiet Epidemic, and Miscellaneous

National Headlines

North Carolina Headlines

Caught my eye

“at least 81 school bus drivers at #CMS still behind the wheel even after being found at fault in a crash. That includes five drivers who have been involved in multiple accidents.”
“2,000 crashes since 2014” over “1,200 determined to be preventable.” (Charlotte Observer)

Higher Ed in NC

Quiet Epidemic Updates

Miscellaneous

09/04/19  and 09/05/2019
Monthly Meeting of the North Carolina State Board of Education
301 N. Wilmington St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601-2825, (Seventh Floor Board Room)

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
This entry was posted in Big Ed Complex, EDUCATION, NC Ed Updates, Wake County School Board and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.