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June AtkinsonNC Policy Watch is excited to announce our next Crucial Conversation luncheon:

What’s next for our public schools? A conversation with June Atkinson, North Carolina’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Click here to register

When: Wednesday, August 21 at 12:00 p.m. — Box Lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (at the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Cost: $10—includes a box lunch.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Dr. Atkinson at this important point in state history.

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

 

(This post has been updated to include a link to another story documenting local education cuts).
That muffled roar you’re beginning to hear is the sound of education leaders across the state confronting and reacting to the reality of the cuts in education that the new state budget imposes – you know, the new budget that Gov. McCrory and right-wing think tankers have been bragging about.

Yesterday, the High Point Enterprise reported on the comments of Randolph County Community College President Robert Shackleford, Jr.: Read More

One of the things people rightfully dislike about their government is when they are not told the truth. Sadly, in the ongoing debate about North Carolina’s new school voucher plan many politicians have been doing just that.

In an apparent effort to lessen the controversy, some legislators have been claiming that that it is “essentially a pilot program.” It is not. The “Opportunity Scholarship Act” is a full-blown government program similar to ones that have failed miserably in several jurisdictions. It has no expiration date and its sponsors have made plain their intention to expand it.

In explaining the education budget, one state senator wrote:

In regards to the Opportunity Scholarship Act, this is a pilot program for low income families.  Many children in low income families are forced to attend low-performing schools because they do not have the opportunity that wealthier families have to move to better schools.  We simply want to make sure that everybody has the same opportunity to succeed; it is by no means a sign that lawmakers lack confidence in our public schools.

At least four obvious responses deserve mention: Read More

Dr. Bill Anderson of the nonprofit MeckEd — a pro-public education group in Charlotte — published a fascinating, chart-and-graph-filled editorial/report this week about the status of North Carolina’s public schools. You owe it to yourself to take some time to review it.

“North Carolina was once considered a leader of K-12 public education in the Southeast. A few years back, during the tenure of Governor Jim Hunt, who was referred to on the national stage as the “Education Governor,” teacher salaries, academic achievement, and accountability increased significantly. The unfortunate reality of change, along with an extreme and prolonged recession, has resulted in painful adjustments due to significant reductions in education funding. 

This editorial is intended to provide an accurate and objective picture of these changes since 2006. It provides data on student population growth, academic achievement, the reduction of full-time instructional personnel, teacher salaries and how N.C. fares when compared to national teacher pay scales. It also shows what the outlook could be for traditional public schools in a state that once valued public education as an investment in the future. So much has changed and is being “reformed” very rapidly this summer. Some legislators believe our public schools are “broken” and need to “be fixed.” Hopefully, by understanding these developments with annual data points, the citizens and legislators of our great state will now have an accurate understanding of how far North Carolina has slipped in regard to funding and valuing the importance of public education.”

 Click here to read the entire piece.

McCrory ed summitGov. Pat McCrory unveiled his latest vision for public education this morning at the NC Chamber of Commerce’s Education Summit. The plan includes a $30 million “Education Innovation Fund” that would come from federal Race to the Top grant money and a call to reduce excessive testing.

McCrory also reiterated his belief that funding for North Carolina’s public education system was not cut in the budget he signed into law last week.

Beginning with an assertion that protestors and newspaper writers are wrong about the facts around the education budget, McCrory said that “at $7.8 billion, this is the largest K-12 budget in North Carolina’s history.”

Actually, that’s not at all an accurate representation of what the education budget looks like.

As I reported previously, North Carolina spent $7,714,429,569 on K-12 public education in the 2008 fiscal year budget — the last budget to be adopted prior to the onset of the Great Recession. But when you adjust those numbers for inflation, that amount would be $8,402,393,062 in today’s dollars. Read More