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Members of the House Education Committee will resume discussion today on the Opportunity Scholarship Act, also known as the school voucher bill.

House Bill 944 would offer $4,200 maximum scholarships to students wishing to attend private schools instead of their local public schools. The program would set aside $10 million in the first year, $40 million in the second year and $50 million every year after.

NCAE President Rodney Ellis weighed in on the voucher bill on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon over the weekend. Click below to hear why his group opposes the current legislation. (For the full interview, visit the Radio Interview section of the Policy Watch website.)

The House Education Committee meets at 10:00am this morning in Room 643 of the Legislative Office Building.

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The good people at Action NC and Progress NC are out with some new poll results courtesy of Public Policy Polling. The poll asked North Carolina voters four questions about education policy during the last week of  April. Here’s the Action NC release:

Majority of NC voter oppose school vouchers, limiting pre-K
New poll finds strong opposition to many forms of education disinvestment currently under consideration at General Assembly

Raleigh – More than 60 percent of North Carolina voters oppose a school voucher plan currently under consideration at the General Assembly, according to a new poll just released by Action NC and Progress NC. Read More

Usually, public meetings are announced on the House or Senate calendar. Well, they used to be.

Yesterday, Parents for Educational Freedom in NC’s (PEFNC) twitter page was lit up with tweets coming out of the House chamber, where Speaker Tillis was holding a meeting on school choice. The Speaker had invited many guests from around the state to hear from school leaders and parents about the benefits of school choice.

NC Policy Watch stumbled across the meeting after seeing PEFNC’s twitter feed and noted that a couple of speakers were from Christian academies and spoke of high graduation rates and a superior education for those who choose their schools. The bulk of the invited guests appeared to be African American students. Read More

The General Assembly’s interim career and technology committee stopped short Wednesday of calling for the creation of a dual track diploma in North Carolina. Instead it recommended “endorsements” for the already existing high school diploma.

Each student in North Carolina is required to take a certain number of electives. The endorsements would simply reflect whether those electives met the requirements for one of three special designations – career, college, or both.

It would be up to the State Board of Education to determine the requirements, which, according to the committee, should be in place by the 2014-2015 school year.

Citing a “skill gap” in fields reliant on science, technology, engineering and math, the report also recommended a streamlined process for hiring career and technology teachers; the sharing of resources between public schools and community colleges; and a concerted effort to increase the number of students enrolled in vocational education programs.

In a similar fashion, the Education Oversight Committee also avoided hot button K-12 issues in its final report, which focused instead on improvements to teacher training programs, college completion rates, and the transition from two-year to four-year colleges.

The omission of vouchers, education savings accounts and charter schools, however, means very little.

“I imagine they are going to take substantive legislation that will need a lot of committee review and a lot of study,” Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Republican from Archdale who co-chairs the committee. “That’s probably something that would not be normally handled in this report.”

“They probably will come up,” he said, “just not in that report.”