Archives

News

virt-chartIn light of today’s Policy Watch report on the shaky membership numbers reported for N.C.’s virtual charters in the first three months—particularly given the news that public funding diverted to these schools will not be returned despite the dropouts—the N.C. Association of Educators offered a statement this afternoon chiding the state’s virtual charter pilot program.

“When North Carolina is ranked 46th in the country in per-pupil spending, we should not be siphoning money from our public schools and sending it to out-of-state companies,”  NCAE President Rodney Ellis said in a statement to Policy Watch Thursday.

“If we’re serious about every child’s future, we have to get serious about what works – modern textbooks and technology at public schools, more one-on-one interaction between students and teachers, and a quality and caring teacher in front of the classroom.”

NCAE acts as an advocacy organization for teachers and public school employees.

Read More

News

charterschools-300x202Troubling news out of Haywood County, a mountainous district west of Asheville that may be facing a school closure and the loss of almost two dozen teaching positions. The culprit? According to an Associated Press report late last week, local funding cuts and competing charter schools.

School officials told the A.P. last week that they are attempting to remedy a $2.4 million local funding deficit for the 2016-2017 school year, at least partially because of about $933,000 in lost state funds due to competing charter school openings.

The system said another $508,000 of local tax dollars were “diverted” to charter schools inside and outside of Haywood County.

From the report:

“You have a decrease in funding. You have a significant decrease in the number of students, and you have a charter school opening in your own district,” Haywood County Schools Associate Superintendent Bill Nolte said. “Those are the factors that have come together to create for us a $2.4 million deficit in our local budget.”

Read More

News
N.C. Rep. Ed Hanes Jr., D-Forsyth

N.C. Rep. Ed Hanes Jr., D-Forsyth

One day after N.C. Policy Watch reported the story of a voucher-eligible Lee County private school’s arguably discriminatory admissions policy, N.C. Rep. Ed Hanes Jr., D-Forsyth, says he expects the state House education committee to address the topic when the legislature reconvenes in April.

Hanes, who sits as vice chair on the committee, says public funds should not be dispensed to any private school “with discriminatory intentions.”

The “lifestyle statements and covenant” issued by Lee Christian School, which requires signature by parents, employees and students grades 6-12, includes explicit denunciations of homosexuality and adultery.

According to the document, provided to Policy Watch by Lee County news blog The Rant, the school reserves the right to deny admission or expel students should the “atmosphere or conduct within” the student’s home contrast with the school’s anti-gay policy.

From the school’s agreement:

“Sexual relationships outside of marriage and sexual relationships between persons of the same sex are immoral and sinful. The depth of the sinfulness of homosexual practice is recognized, and yet we believe the grace of God sufficient to overcome both the practice of such activity and the perversion leading to its practice.”

Hanes, who was one of a handful of Democrats who originally supported the legislature’s controversial plan to funnel public funds into vouchers for private schools, says he has a record of supporting the LGBT community.

“I would not be in agreement with discriminating against anyone based on their sexual orientation,” Hanes said.

Read More

News
N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

Legislators visit schools all the time, and as a longtime reporter, I can tell you that it’s typically uneventful stuff.

But here’s a fairly interesting report from Wednesday’s Wilkes Journal-Patriot of N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore’s visit this week to an elementary school in Wilkes County, during which the speaker apparently got a chance to view a teacher assistant lead the classroom.

Given the job scares TAs have withstood in recent years, including last year’s hotly contested Senate proposal to ax 8,500 TA jobs, Moore’s visit is relevant.

According to the Journal-Patriot, Moore, a Republican from Cleveland County, was visiting the school as part of a tour to assess the value of North Carolina’s new letter grading system for assessing school performance.

Locals hoped to make the case for amending the grading system, claiming it focuses too much on testing performance and not on student growth. We can expect this will be a topic of interest when the General Assembly reconvenes in April.

However, according to the paper, one of the tour’s most interesting moments came when Moore watched a TA at work. Education advocates often tout the value of teacher assistants, employees who often juggle multiple classrooms tasks for very moderate pay, yet TA positions are often on the cutting block during budget negotiations.

Read More

News

3002776434_643d076694_z-300x225Mr. Nixon goes to Raleigh, perhaps.

In yesterday’s Washington Post, there was an interesting feature on Rich Nixon, a Clayton history teacher who, this fall, will be challenging for the District 26 seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.

Nixon, a Democrat, will be seeking the seat long held by powerful Johnston County Republican Leo Daughtry, a 12-term member of the House who ranks among the most senior members of the General Assembly. Daughtry, however, announced last October that he would not be seeking re-election this fall, leaving the seat relatively wide open.

Of course, Johnston County is, traditionally, a very conservative county, but Nixon, according to the Post, will be pushing the narrative of North Carolina’s struggling teachers.

Read More