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Mark Edwards, recently named National Superintendent of the Year and adviser to the North Carolina State Board of Education, told fellow Board members at July’s meeting that his daughter was moving from North Carolina to Nashville to begin her career as a teacher.

Edwards, who is superintendent of Mooresville County Schools, said that in Tennessee his daughter will make $10,000 more than teachers who are just beginning their careers in North Carolina. And in five years, his daughter will make $15,000 more than her North Carolinian peers.

“It’s a competitive advantage to have the best and brightest in North Carolina,” said Edwards. He said North Carolina will see a migration of those great teachers out of the state unless we find a way to pay them better. Read More

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Two bills that would significantly alter charter school policy in North Carolina were sent to conference committees in the House and Senate this week.

Senate Bill 337, which originally would have created an independent charter school board separate from the State Board of Education, failed a concurrence vote on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Jerry Tillman, called for non-concurrence, citing changes the House made that needed some work.

After considerable opposition to SB 337 from education leaders that include State Superintendent June Atkinson and McCrory’s new chair of the State Board of Education, Bill Cobey, Sen. Tillman introduced a new version of the bill to House colleagues that nixed the idea of an independent board overseeing charter schools.

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A bill originally intended to address charter school enrollment priority for siblings was significantly changed yesterday to allow charter schools to expand without prior approval from the State Board of Education, as current law requires.

HB 250, to be heard on the Senate floor today at noon, would enable public charter schools to expand the grades they offer without needing prior approval from the State Board of Education, regardless of the impact on local public school districts.

A recent story by WUNC details how Arapahoe Charter School’s request for expansion would impact the lone high school in Pamlico County. Arapahoe’s expansion request was denied by the State Board of Education, possibly due to this compelling impact statement submitted by Pamlico County Schools, which explains the devastating effect the charter school’s expansion would have on their public schools.

Arapahoe has since appealed the State Board of Education’s denial for their expansion request, and their case is currently with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

If the bill passes today, Arapahoe Charter School would be able to expand despite the State Board of Education’s denial.

 

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The NC Public Charter Schools Association came out today in opposition to legislation the Senate passed last month that would create a new oversight board for charter schools.

SB 337, NC Public Charter School Board, would considerably weaken the State Board of Education’s authority over who receives approval to set up charter schools in the state.

Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Moore, Randolph) proposed the bill thanks to, in part, alleged dysfunction within the current Charter School Advisory Council, which currently approves or denies charter school applications and sets policy.

Most members of the proposed charter board would be handpicked by Gov. Pat McCrory.

New Chairman of the State Board of Education, Bill Cobey, has publicly opposed SB 337, declaring it unconstitutional.

In a statement released today, the charter school group explained that “a new charter body was not necessary given the anticipated fundamental shift in North Carolina’s political leadership, especially with a new constituency of the State Board of Education.” Read More

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In a joint session in the House chamber yesterday, six of Gov. McCrory’s picks to serve on the State Board of Education were confirmed by the General Assembly, including A.L. “Buddy” Collins, who was exposed for his history of opposing efforts to protect LGBT students against bullying.

Collins, who was seated in the gallery to accept his inevitable confirmation, watched the debate below as Rep. Luebke (D-Durham) brought forth an amendment to remove his name from the list of nominees. Luebke cited the bi-partisan school safety legislation before the assembly and said “Mr. Collins does not care about the safety of all young people.” Read More