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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

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

Just a heads up if you plan to silently protest anything at a committee hearing in the General Assembly.

You can’t. Well, you can, but you might be threatened with arrest.

SB 337, NC Public Charter School Board, was discussed once again in a Senate Education Committee hearing this morning.  As mentioned last week, SB 337 is a bill filed by Senators Jerry Tillman and Dan Soucek that is intended to remove oversight of public charter schools from the State Board of Education and put it in the hands of a new, independent entity comprising members handpicked by the Governor.

Last week there was an opportunity for public comment on the bill, but not today. Tillman explained that he had consulted with all stakeholders in drafting the bill and all who wanted to be at the table were included in the process.

Some members of the public expressed their frustration with Tillman’s decision to not allow public comment. Several citizens stood in the back of the room, waiting to speak. As it became clear there would be no opportunity for them to do so, two women tied scarves around their mouths.

The silent protestors were escorted from the committee meeting by the Sergeant-at-Arms. Patty Williams, who was with the group, said that the citizens were threatened with arrest. Read More

Buddy CollinsFollowers of The Progressive Pulse will recall a series of articles in recent years about the essentially non-existent nonprofit headed by conservative Wake school board member and 2012 GOP nominee for state Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Tedesco. As we reported here and here and here, the sum detectable output of the North Carolina Center for Education Reform appears to be: a) a semi-schnazzy if, at times, grammatically-challenged website, and b) something for Tedesco to put on his resume to make it looks like he has (or had) an impressive job.  

Now, here’s another  little factoid about Tedesco’s group: its Board of Directors includes controversial state Board of Education nominee, A.L. “Buddy” Collins (pictured above in a photo found at http://equalitync.org).  Read More

Last week’s Policy Watch profile of state Board of Education nominee A.L. “Buddy” Collins by Education Reporter Lindsay Wagner was enough to cause a believer in public education to have some real concerns about Collins’ appropriateness for the position. Collins admitted in the interview to essentially supporting the entire far-right school privatization agenda.

Over the weekend, however, came more damning news: As reported by Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post, Collins is also apparently a loyal trooper in the ongoing social conservative effort to oppose laws and policies that protect LGBT kids from bullying.

This is from the HuffPo article:

“A. L. “Buddy” Collins is an attorney and a longtime member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board of Education. He has clashed with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) over the years surrounding the group’s efforts to stop bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

‘Buddy Collins has always been a retrograde voice, inimical to the interests of youth, on the school board,’ said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. Read More