#NCED Updates: Too many white teachers, 70k 3rd graders can’t read at grade level and DPI “revisions” to Social Studies

This is the last installment of NC Education Updates for 2019.

In this installment: Gov. Cooper and his non-profit allies think there are too many white teachers, some 70,000 3rd graders can’t read proficiently but were socially promoted anyway and is the NC Dept. of Public Instruction gutting American History?

#1 – We have too many white teachers in NC

Most NC teachers are white. We need to change that.
(News and Observer)

Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order last week creating a task force to recommend strategies for recruiting more minority teachers. State leaders say teachers should look more like the students of color who are now the majority in North Carolina’s public schools.

Cooper cited research that shows how students of color often do better academically and are less likely to have disciplinary issues when they’re taught by minority teachers. He said a diverse teaching workforce is key to meeting the state’s constitutional requirement to provide all students with a “sound basic education.”

Ok, so we’re going with how a kid feels about a teacher instead of the most skilled or qualified ones?

School officials: White students leaving public schools is racist.
Same officials: Public schools having too many White teachers is now racist.

More from N&O:

The summit comes at a time when students of color account for 52% of North Carolina’s public school enrollment. But 80% of the state’s public school teachers are white.

State Board of Education chairman Eric Davis said it’s “sound education strategy” to have a more diverse teaching workforce. He said it’s the responsibility of education leaders to change the system, even if they face criticism from some people.

“It’s important that each day we remind ourselves that the essence of education is when an adult connects with a child on an individual basis,” Davis said at the summit. “We know without debate that the probability of those connections and the effectiveness of those connections rises exponentially when more of our teachers share life experiences and cultural and racial and socioeconomic and language background with more of our students.

“Clearly our students benefit by getting a better education and by seeing role models that build their confidence and belief that they too can achieve.”

Sure role models are great and undoubtedly have an impact, but the point of a role model isn’t to mimic their skin color, it’s about promoting the person inside.

Where did these “sound education strategy” concepts surface? At a conference at NC State:

DRIVE, which stands for Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education, was hosted by Gov. Roy Cooper’s office in partnership with North Carolina Business Committee for Education and The Hunt Institute in an effort to support the recruitment and retention of a sustainable pipeline of black and Latinx teachers and school leaders in North Carolina.

It’s not that this isn’t a good or doable goal, it’s the motives that are questionable given that these are the same non-profit policy wonks and education officials trying to shut down school choice. In other words, we can have choices in teachers (regardless of whether they are the most qualified), but no choices in schools?

Here’s the new narrative for those keeping score:

School officials: White students leaving public schools is racist.
Same officials: Public schools having too many White teachers is now racist.

Got that? Now read the next item.

#2 – 70,000 third-grade students promoted despite failing reading requirements, NC Superintendent says  [More at WWAY]

Supt. Johnson said the state board allowed these 70,000 kids to be promoted when they shouldn’t have since 2014. He’s blaming Read to Achieve (RTA) being improperly implemented. (Spoiler: It was.)

According to the ABC11 report, “State Board Chairman Eric Davis is denying Johnson’s allegations. He says that if the board had enacted policies that were not in accordance with the law, the General Assembly would have already taken action.”

It’s worth mentioning at this point that the State Board of Education’s hands are not clean on this matter. In 2014, the Board voted 8-4 to water down the state test scores. This change was done after a disastrous 37.5% drop in scores as a result of the implementation of Common Core.

This lowering of the bar made it so fewer students were considered failing in reading in 3rd grade on the Beginning of Grade (BOG) exams and therefore did not have to enter into Read to Achieve.

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while knows that Supt. June Atkinson’s involvement of RTA was not above board.  She resented the legislature for it and made sure its implementation was less than stellar.

Having said that, RTA was a warmed-over version of a Jeb Bush/Excellence in Ed program that Florida ended up scrapping.

RTA had to be modified in 2015 after complaints it placed too high a demand and pressure on students – which it did and I can speak from first-hand experience with my oldest son. Changes made to RTA in 2015 scaled that back significantly and corrected the way the BOG was snaring kids that didn’t need to be in the program.

Originally, the threshold for being placed into the program was a bad joke to start with. It used the scores for reading subsections of fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension on the BOG, which had by then been aligned to Common Core.  A lot of kids who were overall strong readers were hit by the age and developmental inappropriateness of the reading comprehension section and were thrown into RTA as a result.

RTA itself originally required a series of 19 to 20 portfolio reading and writing exercises over the course of 3rd grade. Each of those exercises gave a student three tries to earn a passing score before having to move on to the next one.  At the end of the year, these students then took the End of Grade Test or EOG. If they failed again, these kids were supposed to be held back and herded into a mandatory Summer reading camp.

More backstory on RTA here in this 2014 article: Read to Achieve debacle.

#3 – Is DPI gutting American History?

In order to accommodate the newly required Financial Literacy classes, NC Dept. of Public Instruction appears to be gutting portions of American History.

Please give Dr. Terry Stoops’ article on this change a thorough read, but here is the section that stands out; emphasis added:

The four-page proposed academic standards for the revised American history course doesn’t include specific course content. There are no lists of events, people, and concepts that students are expected to know. Those details will be added after the final draft of the standards are approved. Instead, the draft standards outline major themes that underlie the American history course and will be used to inform the development of curriculum, instruction, and assessments.

The draft standards are divided into behavioral sciences, civics and government, economics, geography, and history sections, and appear to address four main themes: conflict, power, identity, and change. Overall, the standards reflect an interpretation of American history that is imbued with cynicism about the American experiment. While inaccuracies, myths, and injustices warrant acknowledgment and correction, I believe the standards in their current form represent an overcorrection.

The entire colonial era appears to be missing from the revision drafts so far. Stoops is being kind in his assessment this is an “overcorrection.” This is a gutting.

The current “required” Social Studies” courses (equal four credits) are Civics and Economics, World History, American History 1, American History 2.

What the state board of education has decided to do is to put American history 1 and 2 together to make room for financial literacy as a required course. Why the Civics and Economics class isn’t being overhauled to represent financial literacy instead is a question that has not been asked, but should be.

Blending American History 1 and 2 together might be fine if it was being done with a preservationist’s eye because there are many elective history courses that can be added on and there are no less than eleven history-related credit points to be had in electives.

Elective credits can also be used for the Advanced Placement courses or International Baccalaureate courses if the student’s grades merit an entry.

Over the last 6 years, The College Board’s AP History (APUSH) has increasingly become an homage to Howard Zinn’s anti-American revisionist garbage. Revisions to APUSH were a big hairy deal right around 2015-16.

Read more about APUSH:

As an example of the mapping of credit, look at Wake County. In Wake, depending on the school and the path chosen, students need between 22 and 26 credits to get their diplomas but the state only requires 22 credits.

There are two paths: “College ready” and “Occupational.” The requirements are laid out at the state level. What a kid takes in high school for credit is typically patterned on what is required for admissions to the UNC System as a guide.

#4 – Bonus Headline – “Say Something”

#5 – Quiet Epidemic Updates

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_
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2 Responses to #NCED Updates: Too many white teachers, 70k 3rd graders can’t read at grade level and DPI “revisions” to Social Studies

  1. Snakewhacker says:

    Hello Lady,
    Thank you for your great reporting, you are truly a voice for the children. The way I see your work is that anyone who comes to your site can’t forget what they read. Your information is like a splinter in the hand, if you leave it, it will fester and eventually become a millstone.

    Thank you for being a splinter. You will be Blessed .

    Luke 17:2

    It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

    Like

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