The North Carolina State Board of Education quietly approved a policy last month that could allow the state’s two brand new virtual charter schools to avoid recording and reporting daily student attendance, and stipulates that the virtual schools would only lose their state funding for a student if he or she fails to show any “student activity,” —as defined by the for-profit charter operators—for at least ten consecutive days.
“The kids don’t physically show up [to school], so we needed a different way to account for how students are learning,” said State Board of Education chair Bill Cobey on Tuesday of the new policy. “The virtual charter schools still have to show that students are regularly attending school.” [Continue reading…]
State education officials released the results of the second year of the troubling A-F school grading system Wednesday morning and just like the results last year, they are more of a statement about poverty than a meaningful measurement of how well students are doing at school.
Just over 98 percent of the schools that received an F grade have more than 50 percent of their students eligible for free and reduced lunch while 94 percent of schools that earned a D had a majority of students who qualify for the federal lunch program.
Eighty percent of the calculation of the letter grades is based on student test scores while only 20 percent is based on much the scores improve from year to year. That means no matter how much students at a low income school improve, it’s very difficult for poor schools to receive a higher letter grade. [Continue reading…]
Attorneys in the cases challenging the state’s 2011 redistricting plan were back before the state Supreme Court Monday morning, arguing whether certain of the districts survive constitutional scrutiny under the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama.
A majority of the justices here had upheld the challenged districts in a December 2014 decision, which had since been pending at the nation’s highest court until the justices there vacated the decision and remanded it back for further review.
Like their counterparts in Alabama, state lawmakers here drew voting maps based upon statistical formulas they claimed were necessary to avoid Voting Rights Act liability, with little regard to what had been happening on the ground in terms of minority political control. [Continue reading…]
4. Will workplace fraud reforms be stopped just short of the goal line?
Despite overwhelming bipartisan support, legislation to crack down on cheating employers has mysteriously stalled
It may sound surprising coming from one of the North Carolina General Assembly’s most frequent critics, but in a legislative session marked by ideologically-driven moves to:
- further undermine public education,
- deny health insurance to hundreds of thousands,
- advance a far right social agenda and
- cripple state government revenues now and in the future,
there have actually been some bright and important areas of common ground and bipartisanship. One of the most notable and potentially far reaching involves efforts to clamp down on outlaw businesses that cheat their workers, taxpayers and competitors by not following basic norms of employment law. [Continue reading…]
This is a true story. It’s about a smart, homegrown program embedded in our state’s communities that has made tremendous progress in ensuring North Carolina mothers-to-be have healthy babies who grow up in healthy families. Unfortunately, this story may not have a happy ending, because state lawmakers are seriously considering dismantling the program this year.
It starts not long ago, in a Piedmont county in North Carolina, when a pregnant woman without health insurance went into labor, went to a hospital and delivered her child. It had been an unintended pregnancy, and her abusive domestic partner would not let her see a doctor for prenatal care before the birth. [Continue reading…]