#NCED Updates: School Choice Event coming to Raleigh, State Board of Ed updates, spending fact and Quiet Epidemic updates

In this edition of NCED Updates: An upcoming School Choice event in Raleigh, State Board of Education updates, a contract fight, some facts about education and per-pupil spending and Quiet Epidemic updates.

Previous #NCED Update installment: Predator problems in New Hanover persist, Guilford buses kids to the polls, School choice and more

EVENT NOTICE

From the moment you knew your child was on the way, you had innumerable choices to make. But once your child became school-aged, choices narrowed to a shocking few.

Parents across the country want their choices back and are demanding more school choice. Find out what your options really are here in North Carolina.

Join me, Bob Luebke of the Civitas Institute and Dr. Terry Stoops from the John Locke Foundation at the Your Child Your School Choice! event being held in Raleigh from 1-3 pm on March 14. Tickets are free.

NATIONAL HIGHER ED HEADLINES

NATIONAL K-12 HEADLINES

NCED HEADLINES

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION UPDATES

Meeting Materials: March 4  March 5

Teacher Pay
The NCAE, who has complained endlessly about ‘unfair’ merit-based pay, will be unhappy to know that in a survey, CTE teachers responded positively to it and that kind of merit pay had swayed them to stay in the classroom.

Contract fights & Spending Authority
Outgoing State Supt. Mark Johnson picked a fight with the State Board of Education alleging the board violated state contract law.

Some backstory: The board and Johnson have been in continuous fights since day one of his tenure. Most recently, the board made an issue out of Johnson’s emergency contract to keep the state’s reading assessment tool, iStation, up and running. At the March meeting, the board decided they would change the spending authority of the superintendent.

Johnson questioned the fact there was “no competitive bidding” used when the board hired the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) to review the current recommended changes to the state’s A-F school performance grading system. He also highlighted that the contract went over the $25,000 limit.

The State board’s & attorney Eric Snider actually acknowledged that the contract wasn’t correct and Eric Davis, the board chair, agreed. It was agreed the overspent contract was void and a revised $25K contract would be created.

One less classroom teacher adds to administrative bloat
The NC State Board of Education has hired 2018 Teacher of the Year, Freebird McKinney, as its new Director of Legislative and Community Affairs.

“Freebird serves as the primary contact and staff for the State Board of Education (SBE) with state and federal education policymakers and stakeholders, including the NC General Assembly, the Governor’s Office, state agencies and the U.S. Congress/ Senate.”

Ok, so how much does that pay?

LEANDRO

I’ve pointed out the administrative bloat in our school systems, the layers of programs that have nothing to do with academics and other areas where both the state and the districts have not been good stewards of the money taxpayers give them.

As the Leandro report starts to get unpacked with the usual suspects such as left-leaning nonprofits like NC Public School Forum and the NC Association of Educators begin calls for ‘more money’, an article at Real Clear Education caught my eye.

Throwing Money at Education Won’t Improve Outcomes  

Just take a look at how things are playing out in North Carolina. Its per-pupil spending stands at an average of $9,367 — substantially higher than that of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. But the latter greatly outperform the United States in academic achievement.

One culprit could be the fact that in the U.S. a great deal more was spent on support staff (administration, operations, etc.) than teaching staff. Support services spending has increased by 50% between the 1999-2000 and 2014-2015 school years in North Carolina. Such has been the broader trend in the United States overall, where school staffing growth, reduced only briefly during the recession, climbed consistently since 1950 at a rate greater than student growth. So, while teaching staff in U.S. public schools grew by 243% between 1950 and 2015, administrative and support personnel increased a whopping 709% during the same period.

I’ve written about this before, back in 2016:

From 1992 to 2014 in North Carolina, student growth increased 39%, staff and teachers both went up 52%  and  administrative/non-teaching positions also went up 52%.

What if North Carolina had  increased staff at the same rate that student enrollment increased?

North Carolina schools would have saved $396,000,000 each year in recurring savings. The state could use that savings to give every teacher a $4,000 raise, reduce property taxes of offer 49,515 kids an $8,000 scholarship to private schools.

And the staffing side is just the drop in the bucket. It’s not the amount of money being spent, it is where that money is being wasted.  Certainly, the multi-million-dollar staff of eight in Wake County Public Schools Office of Equity Affairs is a prime example.

QUIET EPIDEMIC

It’s no secret that the only person who draws more hatred from progressives is Betsy Devos.  In that same Trump derangement vein, Politico churned out a story with the clear objective of poisoning public perception of  Devos’ K-12 sexual assault review.

One person the article cites is Joel Levin, a co-founder of the nonprofit Stop Sexual Assault In Schools organization. First, he says that  “Schools are not all prepared to handle these incidents as they occur right now.”

So he admits, there’s a huge problem with sexual assaults on students in K-12 and that schools, with their layers of useless bureaucracy, will be overwhelmed.  It seems like maybe he gets how serious the problem is and he does, but he sees the students as the problem:

“To me, the most damaging things that they’re doing are just making it harder for students to report sexual harassment,” Levin tells Politico.

Wait, what?? How is reviewing a system that is clearly failing students by allowing them to be sexually abused going to make it harder for kids to report it?

Levin goes on to say that “There’s already barriers for K-12 students. A lot of students don’t report because they don’t think the school is going to do anything about it, or they’ll be blamed, or [the school] won’t discipline the perpetrator.”

Oh, so if what Levin purports here is true, and it is in some cases, killing a Title IX review to stop it is a bad thing?  It seems like Levin is acting as a barrier to this review.

I checked out his organization, it seems more focused on student-on-student assault. There is a number of useful resources on the site, but all seem to be directed to helping families after something has happened.  The about page makes multiple references to knowing one’s rights under Title IX, which this review would fall under, yet seems to have no interest in what are clearly much-needed reforms.

North Carolina has its eighth teacher arrest this year: Winston-Salem Forsyth middle school teacher charged with sex crimes involving a student

The teacher license disciplinary action page has not been updated at all since the start of 2020. I have it on good authority there are cases that should be on that page. Parents and the public have a right to know.

Since part of Freebird McKinney’s new job is “community relation,” the public can send him a note asking why the teacher license page has not been updated: Freebird.McKinney@dpi.nc.gov

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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