In this installment of NCED updates: The latest on the Leandro consent order, the NCAE’s strike scheme fizzled out (for now) and a variety of headlines.
Bonus: Clickety Clack, the NCED troll is back.
- School lunch guidelines rolled back on Michelle Obama’s Birthday
- Elizabeth Warren was confronted by an angry father who worked double shifts to pay for his daughter’s education.
- ‘National Parents Union’ to Challenge Political Influence of Teachers Groups
- Elizabeth Warren has her own Joe The Plumber moment
I have thoughts about the last article about the Parents Union. There is something off there that I can’t quite put my finger on; A Trojan horse vibe.
#1 – Leandro Consent Order
Judge Lee’s consent order was a set of very basic instructions and dodged crossing constitutional lines.
Lee gives lawyers 60 days to submit plans on how to implement short-term goals. That includes revising the state’s school funding formula to ensure students with the greatest needs are getting the most resources, as well as granting districts greater flexibility in spending decisions. The phase also calls for a boost in overall investment in public education over time.
Lee’s order outlines seven areas the defendants need to implement “expeditiously” and “without delay.” Subjects include teacher and principal development and providing a system of early education for all at-risk students. (Carolina Journal)
Following the Consent Decree, Roy Cooper’s partisan “Sound education commission” recommends more school funding, but won’t say how much. The latest reports by Cooper’s commission are on its website.
Education NC’s survey results are about what you’d expect given 56% of their respondents self-identified as teachers. According to the Education NC survey, there was 90% agreement on three of the eight “critical need” areas they asked about:
- providing adequate, efficient, and equitable financial resources
- having a qualified and well-prepared principal in every school
- having a qualified, well-prepared, and diverse teaching staff in every school
But what does that mean? What is adequate? What is qualified? And what does being diverse have to do it? How about we first shoot for qualified and prepared?
The four other areas Education NC surveyed hit 80% and 89% agreement:
- revising the state funding model
- building an effective regional and statewide system of support for the improvement of low-performing and high-poverty schools
- revising the student assessment system and school accountability system
- providing all at-risk students with the opportunity to attend high-quality early childhood programs.
More reading on Leandro:
- Does more money for education lead to better student performance?
- Constitutional crisis brewing over path of WestEd recommendations?
#2 -NCAE’s ‘temperature taking’ on a strike fizzles out
John Locke Foundation’s Dr. Terry Stoops picked up on the NCAE’s latest attempt to “test the waters” for a teacher strike from an Asheville Citizen-Times story. Here is an excerpt:
On the survey, teachers could select their willingness to miss between 0-10 days of work in order to “fight for” initiatives like 5% pay raises, $15 minimum wages, Medicaid expansion and reinstating previous retiree health benefits.
“This is probably the most widely distributed survey through the union that is asking these specific questions,” said Bryan Proffitt, a Durham County educator and co-chair of Organize 2020.
According to Proffitt, most of the 1,500 survey respondents in Durham Public Schools said they would be willing to miss five days of teaching to achieve raises.
In Buncombe County, most teachers also indicated they would favor taking off multiple days to achieve their demands according to LeAnna Delph, sixth-grade teacher at Eblen Intermediate and regional director for NCAE, covering Buncombe and the far western counties.
“We’re calling it a temperature check,” Delph said.
Is the temperature hot enough? We’ll get to that in a minute.
Media outlets are reporting Delph’s ‘temperature taking’ survey like it was offered to all teachers. It wasn’t. Organize 2020’s newsletter, titled “Are you ready to escalate,” admits that their survey was just circulated to Durham teachers:
The News and Observer’s Keung Hui says it’s more than just Durham teachers and there was a statewide survey.
Hui also tweeted to me that for this apparent statewide survey, “They’ve asked the individual NCAE chapters to do the grunt work of surveying for them.” I asked what that meant, what the survey questions were and if they were using district resources to do that. Hui said he did not know the specifics but apparently did know one of the questions:
North Carolina teachers have seen their pay raised for five consecutive years. Had Cooper not vetoed the budget, teachers would have seen raises six and seven.
Republicans offered a min-budget in SB 544 that raised teacher pay 3.9% in year one and an additional 4.4% in year two, contingent on Senate Democrats helped override of the governor’s budget veto. Recently, the Senate Democrats voted to maintain the veto as promised by Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue (D-Wake).
A separate offer of a 4.9% teacher pay raise plus a $1,000 bonus was also rejected.
According to the NCGA’s nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division, the average salary increases from 2014 to the present are as follows:
2014-15 – 7.0%
2015-16 – 3.8%
2016-17 – 4.7%
2017-18 – 3.3%
2018-19 – 6.5%
It’s not just a 5% pay raise they want. It should come as no surprise that that one of the NCAE’s main demands has nothing to do with education and it’s what’s behind Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto: Medicaid Expansion.
It is also important to note Civitas’ Bob Luebke’s recent generous estimate that the “NCAE represents between 15 and 23 percent” of the over 94,000 teachers in North Carolina.
Circling back to that temperature taking, the NCAE held their meeting on January 22 and the following day sent out a statement that nothing was going to happen yet.
#3 – Quiet Epidemic Updates
2020 has already racked up four teacher arrests.
- Alexander County Teacher arrested for assault on handicapped student
- Former Randolph County Teacher charged with rape
- Second Rowan teacher arrested on child exploitation, indecent liberties charges
- WCPSS high school teacher arrested for DWI with child in car
In Wilmington, the New Hanover County Schools lawsuit may be getting a dedicated judge:
“The lawsuit, filed in July, alleges that top administrators including Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley and former Deputy Superintendent Dr. Rick Holliday, repeatedly failed to act on information about potential wrongdoing by Kelly; further, the suit explicitly alleges that Holliday was aware for decades of Kelly’s inappropriate and criminal behavior and did not act to prevent that behavior from continuing. The suit also alleges Markley was negligent in supervising Holliday.” (Port City Daily)
#5 – School Choice News
- Liberal Asheville is ground zero in NC for the unschooling movement, where “In Buncombe County, more than 600 children may be fully or partially unschooled.”
- Snapshot of the Day: Parents Choose
- Wilmington Charter School ends use of seclusion room after illegal use
- Corey DeAngelis, Director of school choice at the Reason Foundation, contacted Guilford County Public Schools about the trainer they hired who said books should be burned because they contain “white history.” Guilford School Board member Byron Gladden wrote back: Thank you for your email.
#6 – Parting Shots
Everyone’s favorite childless NC School Choice troll is back. NC Justice Center’s Kris Nordstrom says calling out racist policies is the “definition of white nationalism.”
Mike Long of the Parents for Educational Freedom in NC noted the truth about the rhetoric used by anti-school choice opponents. Like clockwork, Nordstrom ignored the context and called Long a “dipshit.”
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