May 30, 2012: Articles

NATION


DIANE RAVITCH:Profits, Not Better Education An article in a publication called “The Financial Investigator” took a close look at K12, the for-profit online “education” corporation whose growth had made it a darling of Wall Street. The article paid particular attention to the “churn rate” at K12 online schools. That is, how many students left in a given year. In the Ohio Virtual Academy of K12, a staggering 51% of students turned over in a single year. That helps to explain why the name of the game for the for-profit online academies is recruitment. So long as the corporations can keep their numbers up, they will collect tuition money from the state, usually double their real costs.The more the for-profit academies churn, the more they earn. And every dollar they collect comes right out of the public school budget. In Pennsylvania, where nearly half the school districts are in financial distress, the diversion of dollars to for-profit academies is harming the great majority of children who attend regular brick-and-mortar schools. And bear in mind that the online charters–whether they are for-profit or not–get terrible results.

http://dianeravitch.net/2012/05/25/profits-not-better-education/


NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT:Duncan Seeks Advice: How To Have More Teachers 'Clamouring' For Low-Performing Schools?

As Obama's top school official came to a city turnaround school Tuesday, he popped a question: How do we get more Tamara Raifords "clamoring" to teach in low-performing schools?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/arne-duncan-us-secretary-_n_1554202.html


NPR:Small Change In Reading To Preschoolers Can Help Disadvantaged Kids Catch Up Researchers say that changing what 4-year-olds see and think about when a book is being read can improve kids' reading skills later on. The key: Focus their attention on the words instead of the pictures.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/05/29/153927743/small-change-in-reading-to-preschoolers-can-help-disadvantaged-kids-catch-up?ft=1&f=1013


AP:Sex Ed Seeks To Fight America's Worst Teen Pregnancy Rate With her hair in a ponytail and her smile quick and wide, it's hard to tell that high school junior Donyell Hollins has been pulling all-nighters for most of the semester to take care of her infant daughter.

http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/


STATE


AP:N.C. gets waiver on ‘No Child’ Provision North Carolina has been cleared from meeting the most rigorous requirements of the No Child Left Behind law. The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was issuing waivers to eight states, including North Carolina, in exchange for more modern state-developed accountability systems that will prepare all students for graduation and higher education. Speaking from Connecticut, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the administration seeks to free states from an outdated “one-size-fits all” federal system. “Our goal with this waiver process has always been to simply get out of the way of states and districts and figure out the best way to meet their educational needs,” Duncan said.North Carolina officials applauded the decision, charging that No Child Left Behind had become too complicated. State officials submitted a plan that adopts more rigorous English and math standards, increases access for students with disabilities and implements a turnaround program for the lowest-performing schools.It also includes graduation rates as an accountability measure. Schools previously reported drop-out rates but not graduation rates.“It makes the accountability system more easily understood than the more-complicated system before the waiver,” said June Atkinson, state superintendent of public instruction. “It also moves us away from the all-or-nothing of No Child Left Behind.”

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/29/2097737/nc-gets-waiver-on-no-child-provision.html#storylink=cpy


WUNC-FM: NC Gets NCLB Waiver -- North Carolina is one of eight states that have been granted a waiver from some of the most significant requirements of the education law "No Child Left Behind." Dave DeWitt reports. Last year, the Obama administration announced it would grant the waivers as a way to deal with a Congressional standoff over re-newing No Child Left Behind. Twenty-six states have applied for waivers, 18 have now received them. North Carolina learned it got one of those waivers yesterday. In a conference call with reporters, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says the waivers allow for more local control of schools.

http://wunc.org/programs/news/archive/SDD053012.mp3/view


SALISBURY POST:Kannapolis board opposes virtual charter school Kannapolis Board of Education members are taking a stand against a virtual charter school set to open in August.The board unanimously passed a resolution to join litigation contesting a judge’s decision to grant a charter for the school, which would be based in Cabarrus County and accept 2,750 students throughout the state during its first year.Litigation costs will be covered by the N.C. School Boards Association’s legal assistance fund.Board members cite accountability and financing as their primary concerns.“I want to know if the children will be learning anything. … They do not have to be tested and meet the same standards as traditional public schools,” Chairwoman Danita Rickard said. “Another concern is taxpayer money going to a for-profit company.”The nonprofit N.C. Learns would run the school, but its curriculum and learning management services would be provided by the for-profit company K12 Inc.

http://www.salisburypost.com/News/053012-Kannapolis-board-passes-virtual-charter-school-resolution-qcd


BURLINGTON TIMES-NEWS: Board joins suit against virtual charter school Most members of the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education agreed last week to join a lawsuit that attempts to delay the opening of what would be the state’s first virtual, or online, charter school.The board approved a resolution supporting the position of the N.C. School Boards Association. Approving the resolution makes the local school board a party in the lawsuit titled North Carolina Learns, Inc. v. State Board of Education. Costs of the lawsuit will be covered by the N.C. School Boards Association Legal Assistance Fund.Among local school board members, Jackie Cole, Mary Erwin, Brad Evans, Kristen Moffitt, Patsy Simpson and Steve Van Pelt voted for the resolution. Tony Rose voted against it.Simpson said she supports “parental choice” in education but was willing to support the resolution based on some of the concerns raised.If done right, Simpson said, “I can see it potentially helping children.”“All this does is delay it” if the lawsuit is successful, Van Pelt said, without necessarily preventing future efforts at creating a virtual statewide charter school.Rose said he didn’t necessarily oppose the resolution’s sentiments but had not received it in time to vote for it without more research. He mentioned getting the resolution about 4:30 p.m. the afternoon of the meeting, which began at 6:30 p.m.

http://www.thetimesnews.com/articles/suit-55839-virtual-board.html


WFAE: Cabarrus County Schools May Have To Oversee Virtual Charter North Carolina's Office of Charter Schools oversees all of the state's charters. The department provides training for new schools that open and makes sure they abide by a whole slew of state and federal guidelines. But next school year, Cabarrus County Schools may be the first district to take that burden upon itself. It's the latest twist in the approval process of what would be North Carolina's first online charter school. North Carolina Virtual Academy took a different route to become a charter school. Most aspiring charters met a November deadline for the state board of education to consider their application to open this fall. The virtual academy didn't even try to meet that deadline. Instead, it went to the Cabarrus County Board of Education in November to get preliminary approval. The board agreed and now it may have to pay a price.

http://www.wfae.org/wfae/1_87_316.cfm?action=display&id=8681


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Former senator starts institute -- Former state Sen. Howard Lee has started a nonprofit institute named after himself that focuses on erasing the achievement gap and improving academic performance for minority males. Lee is a former State Board of Education chairman and a former Utilities Commission member. He ran Gov. Bev Perdue's education cabinet. The Howard N. Lee Institute will focus on community engagement and a minority male initiative offering academic support for boys starting in third grade. High school students - Lee Scholars - would have mentors, internships, academic tutoring and help developing a life plan.

http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/former_senator_starts_eponymous_institute


BUDGET/GENERAL ASSEMBLY


FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER: Education budget needs grading on a curve -- The education budget now being shaped and buffed by our Republican-run legislature offers several clear improvements over its heavy-handed precursors.

http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2012/05/30/1180951


WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: Brunstetter's proposal for arts-education requirement is right on the money -- Cheers to state Sen. Peter Brunstetter of Forsyth County for pushing a proposal that would add a new arts component to high-school graduation requirements and potentially provide state money for more arts teachers across North Carolina.

http://www2.journalnow.com/news/opinion/2012/may/30/wsopin01-editorial-brunstetters-idea-for-arts-requ-ar-2316734/


ASSOCIATED PRESS: NC Pre-K limits get attention days before appeal -- Days before a North Carolina appeals court takes up whether every needy child must be given pre-kindergarten education, state lawmakers are walking back from language that prompted a lawsuit.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/30/2098892/nc-pre-k-limits-get-attention.html


ASSOCIATED PRESS: NC Senate works to deconstruct education policy -- The North Carolina Senate is working on scaling back public school policies ranging scrapping job-protecting tenure laws for teachers to protecting unhealthy home-packed bagged lunches from child nutrition oversight.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/29/2096288/nc-senate-hears-about-revamped.html


NC POLICY WATCH: Senate Dems question Berger’s education reform plan Senate Leader Phil Berger made several adjustments to the Excellent Public Schools Act before Tuesday’s committee hearing, but Senate Democrats found more room for improvement.Wake County Senator Josh Stein said he was troubled by Part III of the bill, which would issue a letter grade for each public school. Stein worried certain achievements could be overlooked under this rating system, leaving parents with a less than accurate assessment of their local public school.“This I feel is part of a trend, disparaging public education to set up an environment where by it makes sense to have school vouchers for private school,” argued Stein.”This just seems too simplistic and too punitive in my opinion.”Senator Floyd McKissick of Durham County questioned why another part of the legislation would strip away public financing for the state Superintendent of Public Instruction race.Finally, Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt of Buncombe County chastised Berger for eliminating effective teacher training programs last year, while trying to make it easier to dismiss educators this year under this bill.Despite their concerns, the committee advanced Senator Berger’s bill on a voice vote to the the Senate appropriations and finance committee .To hear more of Tuesday’s debate on Senate Bill 795, click below:

http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2012/05/29/senate-dems-question-bergers-school-reform-plan-video/


WRAL-TV: Berger's education bill passes committee over objections -- Several groups representing educators and school administrators say they still object to the bill, including a provision that eliminates teacher tenure.

http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/blogpost/11150470/


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: State senators working on details of education overhaul -- A plan to overhaul teacher tenure, the school calendar and school assessment is evolving in the state Senate as more questions and potential pitfalls emerge upon examination.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/29/2097681/state-senators-working-on-details.html


ASSOCIATED PRESS: NC House panel eases school district funding cuts -- House budget-writers on Tuesday recommended a $20.3 billion state government spending plan for next fiscal year that eases school district funding reductions and gives public employees and teachers a small bonus four years after their last pay increase. The measure, approved by the House Appropriations Committee on a voice vote, also sets aside $50 million to respond to conflicts with federal agencies involving adult care home residents with mental illness and for those that need help with bathing and dressing.

http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/11150552/


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: SEANC radio ad cites GOP's broken promises -- The State Employees Association of North Carolina is taking aim at the House GOP's budget with a series of radio ads. The first one launched today in the Raleigh market focuses on what the group says is Republicans' promise to make cost-of-living adjustments for active and retire state employees.

http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/seanc_radio_ad_cites_gops_broken_promises


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: House budget proposal adds more than $330 million to local school districts -- The $20.3 billion budget differs greatly from Gov. Perdue’s, and House Democrats say it doesn’t do enough for schools.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/29/2097940/proposed-house-budget-adds-more.html


NC POLICY WATCH:As the school year winds down, Superintendents focus on next year’s budget (video) House budget-writers resume work on Tuesday, with educators keeping a watchful eye on efforts to restore funds to public schools.Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata says over the last two years his district has made $75 million in cuts, and now needs state lawmakers to make additional funds available as the district grows by another 3,000-4,000 students.Tata joined us over the Memorial Day weekend to discuss the impact of state budget cuts, the loss of federal Edujobs money, and the district’s student reassignment plan.To hear a short portion of interview, click below. To hear the full interview, visit the Radio Interview of the N.C. Policy Watch website:

http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2012/05/29/as-the-school-year-winds-down-superintendents-focus-on-next-years-budget-video/


THE INSIDER: Tuition Subsidy -- A tuition subsidy for out-of-state scholarship recipients attending University of North Carolina system schools would be eliminated under the proposed House budget.

http://www.ncinsider.com/2012/05/29/126667/tuition-subsidy.html


PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE: Children's Advocates Urge NC Lawmakers to 'Raise the Age' -- The state House Judiciary Committee today will hear testimony about proposed legislation to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction. North Carolina is one of only two states which automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for misdemeanors as minor as stealing a can of soda. Child advocates acknowledge that such crimes should be recognized by the judicial system, but many are pushing for the Legislature to pass SB 434, which prosecutes teen-agers as juveniles in misdemeanor cases. Brandy Bynum, director of policy and outreach for the group "Action for Children North Carolina," says leaving youths with a permanent criminal record can have lifelong effects.

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/26631-1


LOCAL


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Prayer eliminated from Franklinton High graduation ceremony -- The Franklin County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to remove prayer in response to a parent complaint filed with the state ACLU.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/29/2098264/board-votes-to-remove-prayer-from.html


NEWS OF ORANGE CO:Schools fighting to keep drivers ed free Schools fighting to keep drivers ed free Each year, nearly 500 high school students in Orange County schools enroll in the Driver Education Program. The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles requires students to complete 30 hours of classroom instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel training. For many of our students, drivers education is the key to getting their North Carolina driver’s license and taking the first steps towards independence.Orange County schools has always offered the course to students between the ages of 14-and-a-half and 18 at no cost to the families. The program has been funded by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, but that funding has decreased sharply over the course of the past three years. To offset the reduced state funding in 2011, many districts across the state began charging students $45 to participate in the course. The Orange County Board of Education chose not to charge a fee for drivers education, opting to cover the expenses with local funding.

http://www.aconews.com/opinion/article_9ff616da-a5cc-11e1-9c3d-001a4bcf887a.html


MORGANTON NEWS HERALD: Burke schools have more than 50 openings posted online After eliminating more than 400 positions over the past four years, the Burke County Public School System is now hiring.But Superintendent Larry Putnam said most of the open positions need to be filled because of retirements and resignations.“It’s just that time of year,” Putnam said. “We are not creating jobs.”More than 50 Burke school system jobs are posted at http://schooljobs.dpi.state.nc.us, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction website.They range from an assistant superintendent to day care workers and include nearly 30 teaching positions, a human resource director and assistant principals.Some of the vacancies came about because of promotions.

http://www2.morganton.com/news/2012/may/29/burke-schools-have-more-50-openings-posted-online-ar-2316736/

May 15, 2012: Articles

NATION



NPR: Third Grade A Pivotal Time In Students' Lives In a growing number of states a single reading test determines which third-grade students advance to fourth grade. Proponents of the rule say that kids learn to read until third grade, and then read to learn. But critics argue that holding students back does more harm than good in the long run.

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/14/152683322/third-grade-a-pivotal-time-in-students-lives?ft=1&f=1013


PBS: Boosting Reading Skills: Will 'Common Core' Experiment Pay Off?

Called the "Common Core," a new set of state guidelines spell out what young students are expected to learn and what books they're expected to read. Forty five states and the District of Colombia have already adopted the standards. Learning Matters' John Merrow reports on the design and the aim of the new guidelines.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/jan-june12/commoncore_05-14.html


USA Today:American teacher blasts off to space The former high school teacher is headed to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz rocket.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/story/2012-05-14/space-station-american-teacher/54953310/1?csp=34news


Politics K12:SLICE Act Would Cut Pizza-as-a-Vegetable Provision In response to congressional action last fall that allows a small amount of tomato paste to count as a serving of vegetables in school meals—and in turn making a slice of pizza the equivalent of a half-cup of broccoli on lunch trays—U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat, introduced a bill Monday that would put an end to the practice.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CampaignK-12/~3/ZpyeyC0bqiQ/slice_act_would_cut_pizza-as-a.html


WCBD-TV2: Haley signs charter school bill in Greenville South Carolina's governor has signed a charter school bill that the state's education superintendent called his top legislative priority. Superintendent Mick Zais says the bill signed Monday by Gov. Nikki Haley at Greenville Technical Charter High School will increase education opportunities across the state.

The new law allows boys-only and girls-only charter schools and requires traditional schools to open their doors for students who want to do extracurricular activities not offered by their charter school.

http://www2.counton2.com/news/2012/may/14/haley-signs-charter-school-bill-greenville-ar-3790798/


STATE


WINSTON SALEM EDUCATION EXAMINER:New changes to North Carolina state testing Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top--do these education reform acts addressing equity and high-quality schooling in K-12 public education reveal a political struggle? Yes, today schools continue to struggle for existence in the Information Age.Most are aware the federal government is the major funding source for public education, and Race to the Top transformed schooling into a competive business. Hence, states that improved assessment and the accountability system plus adopt a common set of standards and assessments would receive federal money. One of the top leaders in the race, North Carolina changed its assessments and accountability system; the state will launch its new system in 2012-2013.Recommendations for improving education as society entered The Information Age specifically addressed high schools. A new emphasis on technology, preparing students for a 21st Century workforce, and the country's next leaders were priority. The new changes, though, still includes high-stakes testing as a major indicator of student performance, but other variables are being used to show accurate indicators of academic growth.

http://www.examiner.com/article/new-changes-to-north-carolina-state-testing


ASSOCIATED PRESS: NC child safety task force makes recommendations -- A state panel focused on reducing child deaths in North Carolina wants lawmakers this year to spend money promoting healthier pregnancies and safer infants while upgrading smoke-alarm requirements.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/14/2064314/nc-child-safety-task-force-makes.html


BUDGET


ROCKY MOUNT TELEGRAM: Public schools are at a funding crossroads To hear N.C. Sen. Buck Newton and N.C. Superintendent June Atkinson talk about public education is like listening to desciptions of two different worlds.For Newton, a Republican from Wilson, North Carolina’s schools are due for some much needed reforms. Twenty-five percent of our students don’t finish high school. Of those who do graduate, one in five must take remedial courses when he or she reaches college.But Atkinson notes that the graduation rate in North Carolina is at an all-time high, and the state dropout rate is at an all-time low.Newton told Telegram staff writer Jim Holt he wants to make teachers more accountable and spend more money to shrink the classroom size in kindergarten through third grade. Atkinson wonders how in the world her department can afford to do that. Schools face cutbacks from the federal, state and local levels, she said. Meanwhile, the student population continues to grow statewide.

http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/opinion/our-views/public-schools-are-funding-crossroads-1066227


WILMINGTON STAR NEWS: Mega Millions mania will benefit counties' schools Conversations about school construction in New Hanover County revolve largely around one funding source: the N.C. Education Lottery.Area school districts saw a small boost in their lottery dollars for construction projects this quarter as compared to the same quarter last year. Districts received their most recent funding in February, which marked the second quarter distribution.

School districts statewide will likely get their latest construction funding drop from the lottery this month. The lottery transferred $127 million to the state in April, marking the largest ever transfer in a single quarter after March’s Mega Millions chase. That’s good news for districts’ school construction projects, which lost money earlier this year after legislators reworked the funding formula.About 35 percent of the lottery revenue is intended to flow into schools statewide. Of that 35 percent, about 40 percent is meant to go toward construction projects. The remaining change goes toward class size reduction in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms; the state’s pre-kindergarten program; and need-based college scholarships. Last year, New Hanover County got about $7.68 million in total lottery funds, part of the statewide $419.17 million total.

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20120513/ARTICLES/120519888/1177?Title=Mega-Millions-mania-will-benefit-counties-schools


CAMPAIGN


ASSOCIATED PRESS: Dalton, McCrory start jabbing in NC governor race -- When Republican Pat McCrory ran for North Carolina governor four years ago, he tried to prod then-Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue to make more joint appearances with him beyond their televised debates.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/14/2063570/dalton-wants-lots-of-nc-gov-debates.html


CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Dalton asks for series of debates -- Behind in early polls and with less campaign cash on hand, Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton amped up his campaign for N.C. governor on Monday by challenging former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, his Republican opponent, to eight town hall-style debates at community colleges around the state.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/15/3239790/dalton-challenges-mccrory-to-8.html


WRAL-TV: Dalton wants eight debates -- Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton has challenged former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory to a series of eight debates as the two men campaign for governor.

http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/blogpost/11099971/


ASSOCIATED PRESS: Perdue defers to Dalton on NC Democrats uprising -- Gov. Beverly Perdue is deferring to her party's nominee to succeed her to deal with the insurgence over the weekend at a North Carolina Democratic Party meeting that kept the group's chairman in power.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/14/2063509/perdue-defers-to-dalton-on-nc.html


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Personnel file: Dalton's campaign gets a new mouthpiece -- Walter Dalton's campaign recently switch press wranglers, adding Schorr Johnson, a former communications director from the lieutenant governor's office, to the team. Johnson, a former N.C. Democratic Party spokesman, will serve as communications director for the campaign. He fills the void left by Pearse Edwards, who returned to his private consulting firm in Greensboro. Edwards said he promised to work through the primary and planned all along to leave after it was completed.

http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/personnel_file_daltons_campaign_gets_a_new_mouthpiece



LOCAL


CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: CMS slows $10 million Wi-Fi project August debut of “bring your own technology” is postponed Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools leaders have slowed plans to launch wireless Internet access in all schools and let students and staff bring tablets, smartphones and e-readers.Instead of launching the districtwide “bring your own technology” effort in August, as officials announced in January, interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said Friday that Wi-Fi will roll out at an unspecified number of pilot schools.“We will need to add specific expectations for wireless usage to the student code of conduct,” Hattabaugh wrote in a memo issued after the Observer asked about a rumored delay in the $10.6 million project. “We will need to train our teachers and staff so that we get the maximum academic benefit from the technology. We also want to be sure that we provide equal access to the benefits across the district. So we are proceeding carefully and in phases.”Also Friday, CMS announced that 73 schools have won iPad grants that will provide the tablets to teaching teams and students. Almost 4,000 iPads will be provided for student use. The district’s invitation to apply for the devices, which are being bought with county money in the current budget, brought applications from 970 teams in 153 schools, spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte said.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/11/3234714/cms-slows-10-million-wifi-project.html#storylink=cpy


CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Union County schools to name new superintendent Tuesday Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools isn’t the only local school district getting a new superintendent. Union County Schools, the sixth largest system in the state, is expected to name a replacement for Ed Davis on Tuesday.The school board plans to make the announcement at about 5:30 p.m. The new boss will enter at a fractious time as the school district and the county could be heading for a showdown over the district’s efforts to obtain $6.7 million in additional county funds to avoid cutting all 350 teacher assistant jobs.Davis is retiring at the end of June, and has said he was looking forward to new challenges. He has been with the school district for 35 years, and has been superintendent for the past seven years.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/15/3241876/union-county-schools-to-name-new.html#storylink=cpy


CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: CMS superintendent: Judge me as Morrison Says he’s no Gorman ‘imitation;’ all students will get what they need A new era begins for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in July when Heath Morrison takes over as new CMS superintendent. Morrison, who heads Washoe County (Reno, Nev.) schools, talked to the Observer editorial board on Friday. Here are excerpts from that conversation. Q. What do you think about the reform plan offered by Republicans in our state legislature to end social promotions in third grade?A. I have no problem saying we shouldn’t socially promote kids, especially at third grade. If they’re not reading on grade level by third grade there’s a huge chance they might not graduate. I have no problem looking at what Florida did and their results. But I hope we don’t stop there because what Florida also did was invest in prekindergarten and full-day kindergarten. QWhat we have to recognize is that kids come to school at different degrees of readiness. So the only way we can account for that is to give those kids, who come with less, more at school. That means more extended learning time, more time in school, access to quality Pre-K programs, access to full-day kindergarten programs of quality, and making sure in first and second grade, using data, that we’re tracking what those students are doing. And for those who are clearly not where they need to be, we are creating special programs for them. If you’re willing to do all those things, there’s no reason why we as a school district should not oppose social promotion. Q. How do you view charter schools in relationship to traditional public schools?A. In theory, charter schools should be welcomed as a part of our ever evolving education landscape. But if you look at the data, for every five charter schools, only one is significantly better than the average traditional local public school. Two are about the same, and two are a lot worse. If we’re going to have charter schools, let’s not have a lower expectation for them. They should be really, really good schools. And if we’re going to learn from them, we can’t give them advantages that we don’t want to afford to the other public schools. Q. What do you consider to be the single biggest challenge for CMS?A. Public trust. Across the nation, CMS is viewed as one of the best large urban school districts in the country. As a matter of fact, take large and urban out it. It’s viewed as a very good public school system. Internally, there are real concerns about the way it is viewed. What I think we have to do is to genuinely reach out to our public, not in an appearance-only mode, message what we’re trying to do, get a lot of public input, really try to make our employees feel invested in the decision-making. And then when we make a decision that isn’t a popular decision, make sure people understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/13/3236247/cms-superintendent-judge-me-as.html#storylink=cpy


WFMY: Senior Don Sutton Pushes Through Challenges To Graduate With His High School Class A lot of graduates across the Piedmont Triad have some quirky and funny graduation stories. On Monday, WFMY News 2 shed light through the eyes of a Greensboro teenager who never gave up. Smith High School senior, Don Sutton, said he witnesses domestic violence in his home. "The breaking point was on February 12th, when my mother's boyfriend tried to set their house on fire with him inside. The next day Sutton says he moved into The Joseph House homeless shelter. He then walked 10 miles to school. He was determined to graduate with his class. "All I can do right now is work hard and eventually one day, everything that I wanted, everything that I said would come true, will come true," said Sutton. Don Sutton graduates from Smith High School on June 9th. He has already been accepted to the Art Institute in Charlotte.

http://www.digtriad.com/news/local/article/228668/57/Former-Homeless-Triad-Teen-Graduates


WBTV: Students start End of Grade testing Monday All the hard work and studying by elementary and middle school students will be put to the test this week.Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will conduct End-of-Grade (EOGs) from May 14-17. Testing for the EOCs is June 1-6 for high school students and June 1-5 for middle school students. CMS recommends parents not make a big deal of the test week, but try to build up their child's confidence. CMS says it's important to start each child's day with a good breakfast. Orange juice, yogurt and proteins are good choices. High carb food like pancakes and breads can make a child feel sluggish, and not as alert.The EOGs are given at the end of the year in grades three through eight in reading and math, and students in grades five and eight take a third test in science. EOCs are for students in select middle school courses, as well as high school students. http://www.wbtv.com/story/18369669/students-start-end-of-grade-testing-monday



HIGHER ED


CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL: College degree nearly doubles salary in N.C. -- With graduation season in full swing, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at the impact college degrees have on salaries. According to a recent analysis by On Numbers, a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in North Carolina makes nearly twice as much per year as a worker with only a high-school diploma.

http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2012/05/14/college-grads-in-charlotte-earn-nearly.html


ASSOCIATED PRESS: Duke U. gives Brodhead 5 more years as president -- Duke University's trustees want Richard Brodhead to stay the school's presidents for another five years.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/14/2064031/duke-u-gives-brodhead-5-more-years.html



May 1, 2012: Weekly Articles

NATION


From PEN Weekly NewsBlast:


Ready, set, go

A new report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform examines the burgeoning field of college readiness, with models to help districts, schools, and other interested stakeholders prepare students for college success. The report is part of the College Readiness Indicator System initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. PEN is one of several national partners on the Know How To Go initiative, also referenced in the report. The report defines college-readiness through three dimensions -- academic preparedness, academic tenacity, and college knowledge. The report finds that common strategies to help students gain content-area knowledge and key cognitive skills for success in college include aligning standards, curricula, and assessments to college-ready expectations; using data to drive college-readiness policies; and intervening early to keep students on a college-ready track. Successful programs also promote academic tenacity by exposing students to tenacity-building activities; providing accelerated and extended learning opportunities that promote persistence and attainment; restructuring schools into personalized learning communities; and providing additional supports for at-risk students. Finally, successful programs create a college-going culture in the school and community; support students through the college-planning process; and engage families in learning about and supporting college-going. The guide includes references to the Postsecondary Success Initiative, a project of Public Education Network, taking place in local education funds in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Miami.

See the report: http://annenberginstitute.org/publication/college-readiness-guide-field


It's not so simple

In response to a piece by Elizabeth Walters on the Answer Sheet blog in The Washington Post, writers from the Future is Now dispute that public schools can be improved simply by providing greater resources. More misguided professional development or poorly used textbooks and technology will not raise student achievement, the authors say. Walters would "loosen the strictures" that tie student and school evaluations to test preparation, and replace these with project-based learning. But the authors argue that well-designed tests can give critical feedback about what students have learned and what they struggle with, if delivered in a timely fashion. Walters also advocates for broad measures to alleviate poverty, a factor in student outcomes over which teachers are powerless, she says. But the authors point to research from the last decade that shows schools "at the top of their game" can close the achievement gap despite the effects of poverty. "Like Walters, we believe public education can and must be improved," the authors write. "However, unlike Walters and others, such as Diane Ravitch, Deborah Meier, and Valerie Strauss, who have devoted themselves to popularizing simplistic and counterfactual -- although intuitively appealing -- assertions, we hold tight to the documented facts surrounding the practices of teachers and teacher-leaders at public district and public charter schools that are closing the achievement gap."

Read more: http://finschools.org/318

Related: http://tinyurl.com/cj9hjyp


That elusive variable

A focus on "teacher quality" has been a dominant reform paradigm over the past few years, and its allure as the key ingredient to student success is powerful but reductive, writes Matthew Di Carlo on the Shanker Blog. Its appeal has been fueled by the availability of datasets that link teachers to students, as research on test-based effectiveness has grown in size and sophistication. And it is true, Di Carlo says: Analysis after analysis finds that all else equal, the effect of "top" versus "bottom" teachers is large. Even when some variation is attributable to confounding factors, discrepancies are still larger than with any other measured input. But the essential question, Di Carlo writes, is whether and how we can measure teacher performance at the individual level and thereby (more importantly) enhance teacher performance. The variation "hangs out there like a drug to which we're addicted, but haven't really figured out how to administer," he writes. "If there was some way to harness it efficiently, the potential benefits could be considerable." But that seductive variation, coupled with the inadequacy of current evaluation systems, has compelled a rush ahead with untested processes. A more reasonable expectation is that well-designed and implemented policies will produce small, gradual improvements in the distribution of teacher quality over a period of years and decades.

Read more: http://shankerblog.org/?p=5681


Time to heed the research

The Department of Education has made extended learning time a centerpiece of its reform efforts, but two new studies "are flashing warning signs about the move to extend the school day," writes Jodi Grant on the Answer Sheet blog in The Washington Post. The extended-day approach being implemented as a result of the department's push largely ignores the research on what makes effective expanded learning. Too many schools are merely adding another hour or so of regular class time onto the school day. The first study, from the Government Accountability Office, surveyed states about expanded learning time via implementation of School Improvement Grants. Researchers found 26 states said they didn't think they could sustain the program's extended learning time reforms after grants expired. The second, older report, from Education Sector, finds that schools' results from extending their day depend to a great degree on how the extension is implemented. The key to success, the second study finds, is taking the opportunity to look at how time is used overall as part of comprehensive reform. The authors recommend that policy makers heed lessons already learned about extended time as they focus on improving the nation's schools.

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/bqjjndn

See the GAO report: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-373

See the Education Sector report: http://www.educationsector.org/publications/clock-rethinking-way-schools-use-time


Time wasted

A new report from the Center for American Progress finds that most states applying for NCLB waivers have missed an important opportunity to rethink use of time in schools. The waivers offer new flexibility for use of significant funding streams to expand learning time, including Title I set-asides and existing 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) funds to lengthen the school day, week, or year. Opening these previously restricted pots of money is a chance to fund a longer school day or year in a meaningful way. Yet after reading and comparing each state's application, the authors find most states did not restructure time in school. Eight of 11 states in the first round requested flexibility for their 21CCLC grants, but only three -- Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma -- gave insight into how they will use the funding differently. In contrast, Colorado, New Mexico, and Tennessee gave little detail, and instead just listed more time as a possible intervention strategy. The report makes the recommendation that all stakeholders assist and monitor implementation of extended-learning time for first-round and future winners of waiver applications. "It's not too late," say the authors. "States, districts, schools, and the U.S. Department of Education can still work to redesign the school calendar to incorporate time in a meaningful way as states begin to implement intervention strategies in their low-performing schools."

Read more: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/04/expanded_learning.html


Lest you worry

Regardless of who wins in November, the U.S. Department of Education is safe, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Abolition of the department has been part of the GOP platform at various times since its establishment in 1980 by President Carter, beginning with President Reagan, who tried and failed to eliminate it (though it should be noted that George W. Bush actually increased the federal role in education with NCLB). And President Obama's policies on education, in which he's greatly increased the department's power and used it to push for state laws favoring accountability, are actually more in accord with some conservative views than with many on the left. Mitt Romney has said he will reduce the department's budget rather than eliminate it entirely. "I'm going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them," Mr. Romney told donors. Although he went on to say that Housing and Urban Development might be dismantled, he voiced different plans for education. "The Department of Education I will either consolidate with another agency or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I'm not going to get rid of it entirely." Romney has also pledged to stand up to teacher unions, who he says "will put in hundreds of millions of dollars" to support President Obama's campaign, adding, "There's nothing like it on our side."

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/cvqx6ed


Question of designation

A new report from the State of Massachusetts finds low-income districts most likely to place students in special education programs for mild and questionable disabilities, which has swelled the state's special-education population, reports The Boston Globe. The study raises questions as to whether low-income districts place students in special education because of legitimate disabilities, weak academic programs that cause students to fall behind, or because some teachers want unruly students out of their classrooms. The findings debunk a long-held belief that savvy, well-heeled parents in wealthier districts have been pushing up special education rates as they demand services for their children. Thomas Hehir of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, one of the study's authors, said it is reasonable to expect low-income students to be diagnosed with disabilities at higher rates because they are more susceptible to health problems such as those caused by high exposure to lead or lack of prenatal care. But Hehir said the rate at which low-income students are enrolled in special education under categories involving some level of subjective interpretation exceeds what specialists consider appropriate. More than 163,000 -- or 17 percent -- of Massachusetts students are enrolled in special education, second only to Rhode Island.

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/bswzmk3

See the report: http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/2012/0412sped.html


Are we there yet?

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has indicated that states have considerable work to do before they can put the Common Core State Standards into practice, reports Catherine Gewertz in Education Week. States hold powers pivotal to making the necessary changes, which include authority to regulate teacher preparation and licensing, and the ability to collect and publicize data on progress. Yet, "if we are honest with ourselves, we know we are not ready to deliver against this promise [of Common Core implementation]," Gene Wilhoit, executive director of CCSSO told teams from 27 states. "The vast majority of teachers don't have the skill set" to teach to the new expectations, needing support to improve pedagogical skills and content knowledge. Echoing comments by others, Wilhoit said states must not impose teaching methods but find ways to empower teachers to attain the necessary mix of skills and content knowledge for successful implementation. States could do this by creating networks of skilled teachers to guide their peers. Principal preparation also needs attention, to sufficiently prepare school leaders to recognize the kind of teaching that should be taking place to reflect the new standards.

Read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/04/call_to_states_revolutionize_t.html

Related: http://tinyurl.com/cubw98w


To each according to his need (in a decentralized way)

A new report from Achieve Hartford, funded by Public Impact, looks at the Hartford Public Schools' model that allocates funding according to student enrollment and need. The student-based budgeting (SBB) model holds that the amount of funding a school receives for each student should reflect the student's educational need, and that funding should follow students to the schools they attend. In Hartford, schools may receive additional funding based on a student's grade level, academic achievement, special education status, or whether the student is an English language learner. SBB also gives principals greater autonomy over budgets. The report finds that SBB has changed the amount of funding each Hartford school receives, making distribution of funding more equitable, providing schools with the same amount of funding for students with the same characteristics, and allocating more funding for students with greater need. It has also increased principal accountability at the school level, and brought greater transparency to the district's funding process. According to the report, Hartford can do more to minimize complications from enrollment uncertainties, which prevent accurate funding levels for schools. In addition, Hartford can increase transparency by publicly reconciling actual spending on teachers and all major line items within a school's budget, making it is possible to see exactly how much it costs to run each school.

See the report: http://www.achievehartford.org/about_publications.php


Stepping it up

A little more than a year ago, San Jose's East Side Union High School District, the largest high-school district in Northern California, adopted the A-G requirements -- 15 courses students need to pass to be eligible for the University of California and California State University systems. This past fall, the district enrolled its first true class of A-G freshmen who will undergo close monitoring over the next four years to measure their success. Implementing A-G standards is an especially positive move for a valley in need of local job creation. The assumption today is that many local students may not be up to the academic rigor of these classes that will help them qualify for the next wave of technology and other jobs driven by the innovation economy. The nonprofit Silicon Valley Education Foundation, which advocated for East Side Union to adopt A-G, has recognized the need to prepare students for the tougher coursework. Four years ago, the foundation created "Stepping Up to Algebra," a summer math course for middle school students about to enter eighth-grade algebra, the gateway course for college. This past summer, with financial support from Texas Instruments, it launched "Stepping Up to Science" for students from the lowest socioeconomic areas of East Side to prepare for ninth-grade biology -- the first A-G lab science course -- and a college path. Now the foundation and Education Trust West are helping East Side Union conduct a student course analysis to determine how more students can be successful in completing A-G requirements.

Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_20437174/paul-humphries-and-dave-cortese-g-requirements-will

Website: http://www.svefoundation.org


Into the gap

While many first generation immigrants have not attended college themselves, they hope their children will have the opportunity, and see higher education as a gateway to economic and social success. But many immigrant and refugee families lack the resources needed to apply and pay for college. Karen Demorest of the Alliance for Education says challenges can range from language barriers to a lack of experience with the college application process. "Despite the fact that almost all parents want their children to succeed," says Demorest, "there may not be access to books or homework help outside of school, or there might be a lack of time with parents working two jobs, or needing kids to help with siblings or other home responsibilities." Programs like Alliance for Education, YouthForce, and the University of Washington Dream Project are working to address these resource gaps through the development of college-preparatory curricula for public schools, educational employment programs, and peer-to-peer mentorship on the college application process.

Read more: http://clpmag.org/article.php?article=College-Dreams_00349

Website: http://www.alliance4ed.org/


Bringing the juice

The AEP Foundation is giving the Education Alliance more than $78,000 for its eMentoring Program. The funds will be used to expand the program throughout the Appalachian Power service area in West Virginia.

Read more: http://www.wowktv.com/story/17670017/education-alliance-ementoring-program-gets-more-funding

Website: http://www.educationalliance.org/


Vote of confidence

Philanthropist Tom Grossman and the Minnesota Community Foundation have given $500,000 to AchieveMpls, a decade-old effort to channel public support for Minneapolis Public Schools.

http://www.achievempls.org/media/achievempls-receives-transformative-500000-grant


It takes a community

In Mobile County, Alabama, the Mobile Area Education Foundation (MAEF) works to build community responsibility for improving public education outcomes in the county, and strives to ensure that every child is prepared for entrance into college or a career upon high school graduation.

Read more: http://www.americaspromise.org/News-and-Events/News-and-Features/APB-2012/Vol-9/GNC-Mobile.aspx

Website: http://www.maef.net/


Going down?

LAUSD district officials have proposed a reduction in overall graduation requirements that would allow students to pass certain classes with a D grade.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lausd-college-20120418,0,1437173.story


The Race is not to the swiftest

An Education Week analysis of federal spending reports shows that states are using Race to the Top funds "at a snail's pace."

http://tinyurl.com/bmhqmme


Good on their Promise

Another $60 million in grants for the Promise Neighborhoods program will be made available by the U.S. Department of Education, both for existing grantees and for a new round of grants.

http://tinyurl.com/d3m332o


From the get-go

Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed legislation that requires the state education board to create an early-childhood-education-and-care network that would be governed by performance standards for kindergarten readiness.

http://tinyurl.com/cpnmhx3


Overhaul

The Philadelphia School District will massively restructure itself in the coming months, fundamentally altering the way it is organized and run, and possibly closing 40 low-performing, underused schools next year and shifting more students to charters.

http://tinyurl.com/chcn3dm


Standing up

In a rare and forceful act of advocacy, an Iowa newspaper devoted the entire front page of its Sunday edition to an anti-bullying editorial after a gay teen committed suicide.

http://articles.boston.com/2012-04-22/news/31383163_1_anti-bullying-front-page-front-page-editorials


STATE


NC POLICY WATCH: Monday numbers

2,000—number of teachers that Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger claims the Republican budget added to classrooms this year (Excellent Public Schools Act: Students First in North Carolina, Senator Phil Berger)

93,964—total number of teaching positions in the budget passed by the General Assembly last summer for the 2011-2012 school year (Statistical Profile, Public Schools of North Carolina, 2011-2012 School Year)

94,879—total number of teaching positions funded in the 2010-2011 school year (Statistical Profile, Public Schools of North Carolina, 2010-2011 School Year)

915—total number of teachers actually CUT from schools by the budget passed by the General Assembly in the 2011 session (Ibid)

2,915—minimum number by which Sen. Berger’s claim about teaching positions overstates the number of teachers in classrooms this year (Ibid)

24,264—total number of teacher assistants in the budget passed by the General Assembly last summer for the 2011-2012 school year (Ibid)

http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2012/04/30/monday-numbers-115/


ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES: Don't rush to reform public education -- The North Carolina General Assembly traditionally does its heavy lifting during odd-numbered years, when it holds a long session.

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20120430/OPINION01/304300004/Don-t-rush-reform-public-education?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Opinion|p


FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER: Open it - Senator's K-3 bill should be mined for nuggets -- For all its emphasis on reading, the bill says nothing about NC Pre-K, the pre-kindergarten program that gives 4-year-olds a running start. In fact, Pre-K got stiffed as lawmakers lowered its cost by tinkering with the rules to make thousands of children ineligible.

http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2012/04/30/1174131


ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES: Teacher tenure proposal divisive -- Supporters of proposed legislation to end tenure for teachers say it will bring accountability into the classroom, allowing school systems to more easily get rid of teachers who aren’t doing the job. But opponents are calling the proposal another attack on teachers and an attempt to silence them.

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20120429/NEWS/304290062/Teacher-tenure-proposal-divisive-


HENDERSONVILLE TIMES-NEWS: Mixed reactions to teacher tenure proposal -- State legislators are considering doing away with teacher tenure in North Carolina, but some teachers question the motivation behind the proposal. Public school improvement initiatives introduced in the state Senate last week by Senate leader Phil Berger call for employment tenure to be eliminated, although teachers could become eligible for performance bonuses under the proposed education reform package. … Henderson County does not have the issues with ineffective teachers that school districts in other parts of the state have, but there needs to be a better system in place for identifying what category a teacher falls into based on his or her performance, said Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Henderson County legislator and one of the sponsors of Senate bill 795 Excellent Public Schools Act. … The tenure elimination proposal drew criticism from some teachers and state Superintendent of Education June Atkinson, who commented on the matter during an education forum held at Brevard High School. “One of the unfortunate tasks of my position is to revoke the licenses of teachers who have been harmful to students,” she said. “Ineffective teachers are being counseled out of education. We don’t need to have a system of fear in evaluating our teachers.” Transylvania County teacher Meredith Licht, also a forum panel member, called the proposed elimination of tenure an “attack” on the profession. “What’s the motivation behind this?” she said. “In every profession there are people who are excellent, people who are good, people who are mediocre and people who are poor at their jobs. The poor person would never evaluate up to a tenure position and teachers who are mediocre, but have a passion for their work and their students, can always receive the opportunity to get training to improve.”

http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20120429/ARTICLES/120429735/1042/news?Title=Mixed-reactions-to-teacher-tenure-proposal-


SOUTHERN PINES PILOT: Educators' Reaction Mixed to Reform Legislation -- If state Sen. Jerry Tillman has his way, tenure for public school teachers will end, the school year will increase by a week, and third-graders will be held back until they attend summer reading camps if they fail to meet reading requirements. Tillman is one of two senators co-sponsoring a bill filed last week by Senate President Phil Berger that would include those changes and more. … Tracy Metcalf, Moore County Teacher of the Year for 2011-2012, said that dropping tenure wouldn’t bother her “all that much.” “I worked in the New York school system for a couple of years, and it was sometimes im-possible to get rid of a tenured teacher,”?she said. “I?wouldn’t be opposed to a one-year renewable contract if it was based on the system in place now, but if that was changed to one based on standardized test scores, then that would be a real problem.” The bill proposes that local school districts implement a merit-based pay system to replace tenure, but Spence takes issue with what he says could potentially create 115 different systems for employee pay if each district creates its own. “First of all, to my knowledge there are no studies that show a merit-based pay system improves student performance whatsoever,”?he said. “Second, the bill specifically requests that each local education agency develop its own system for merit pay. I can’t understand why 115 different districts should develop their own systems for paying when one that works well for all could be used. There is little clear guidance in the bill on this point.” Metcalf said the merit-based pay system sounds good in theory but wondered how such a procedure would be evaluated.

http://www.thepilot.com/news/2012/apr/29/educators-reaction-mixed-reform-legislation/



WILMINGTON STAR-NEWS: Education plan holds some promise but ... -- North Carolina schools can do better. On that point Democrats, Republicans and everyone in between can agree. Our students will graduate into a world with little tolerance for substandard or even average skill sets. But N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger's attempt to paint a Republican education plan as a brilliant new concept is a bit disingenuous in that it takes punitive aim at already overburdened teachers and ignores the Honorables' role in the budget cuts that are straining our classrooms. … The honesty Berger hopes to bring to the table must include an admission by the N.C. General Assembly that the schools cannot do the job asked of them without adequate staff and adequate funding.

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20120426/ARTICLES/120429744


FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER: Schools superintendent calls GOP plan 'education reform on the cheap' -- Changes to public schools proposed by Senate Republicans this week appear to be "education reform on the cheap," the superintendent of Cumberland County schools said Thursday. The Republican plan includes ending tenure for teachers and adding a merit pay system. It also would provide intensive instruction for students at risk of falling behind in reading. A spokesman for Senate leader Phil Berger, who unveiled the initiatives, said the reforms will be fully funded. The proposals came up Thursday after the school board's Personnel Committee approved teachers recommended for tenure. "Might be the last time if they do away with tenure," said Larry Lancaster, school board chairman.

http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2012/04/27/1173848?sac=fo.local


CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Republican education reform plan deserves consideration

From Tom Campbell, former assistant N.C. treasurer and host of NC SPIN, a weekly statewide television talk show:“Discipline your children, or someone who doesn’t love them will,” a friend with older children once advised us. I thought of that admonition when Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger revealed the Senate’s “Excellent Public Schools Act.” Berger and the Senate leadership essentially told educators “reform public education to produce better results or the legislature will.”The Senate proposals need more definition, but there are elements worthy of consideration. The plan begins with the premise that all N.C. third graders read at grade level before they can be promoted. How can anyone be against this when studies show 39 percent of our third graders failed to read at grade level last year? The “Read to Learn” proposal appears patterned after the plan working successfully in Florida. As Berger correctly said, “The fourth grade is when students stop learning to read and start reading to learn.”

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/04/27/3201356/republican-education-reform-plan.html#storylink=cpy


HENDERSONVILLE TIMES-NEWS: State senators: Proposed bill needed to improve schools -- Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) was in Hendersonville, along with state Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson), to talk about N.C. Senate bill 795, the Excellent Public Schools Act, introduced in the General Assembly earlier this week. Describing the state’s education system as “broken,” Berger said having great schools is just good business. “The concern I have, and that a lot of people have, is that we have a real problem in our public schools as a whole,” he said, speaking to a group of local business people gathered at the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce.

http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20120426/ARTICLES/120429809


ASSOCIATED PRESS: NC lottery makes largest education transfer-- $127 millikon -- A huge jackpot last month helped the North Carolina Education Lottery record its highest quarterly ticket sales ever and its largest cash transfer for education in the lottery's history.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/27/2028391/nc-lottery-makes-largest-education.html


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Lottery hands state big check after Mega quarter -- The North Carolina Education Lottery made a quarterly transfer of $127 million dollars to the state for education funding, a record transfer credited to a record Mega Millions jackpot that captured imaginations – and revenue – nationwide.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/26/2027371/lottery-hands-state-big-check.html


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: The brain, the game -- It may seem like a small number, but it is way too high. In 2011, 13 high school football players in the United States suffered catastrophic brain injuries. And after advances in equipment design and years of raising awareness among officials and strengthening supervision by physicians, that still is the highest number since an organization affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill has been keeping track.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/27/2027659/the-brain-the-game.html


BUDGET


GREENSBORO NEWS & RECORD: UNCG won’t make cuts until fall -- It’ll likely be the fall before UNCG cuts the more than 40 programs the university’s provost recommended last week as part of an extensive academic review.

http://www.news-record.com/content/2012/04/30/article/uncg_won_t_make_cuts_until_fall


CAMPAIGN


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER:Five Republicans compete in state superintendent primary

The five Republicans vying to be the party nominee for the state superintendent of public instruction base their strategies for changing education statewide on their experiences in the classroom or the school district boardroom.

The winner will face Democratic incumbent June Atkinson in the general election.The campaign for state education chief comes at time when state education leaders, battling budget cuts and an increased interest in privatization, see the need to formally spread the message that public schools, which enroll about 1.5 million children, serve the public good. The superintendent of public instruction will be sworn in as public education is at the center of a statewide debate. The Republican candidates strike some common themes: graduation rates must improve, and more decisions must be left to local boards rather than be handed down from Raleigh. The state should drop the assumption that it’s preparing all students for college and encourage more vocational education or variety in its 115 school districts.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/27/2029747/five-republicans-compete-in-state.html#storylink=cpy


HENDERSONVILLE TIMES-NEWS: Dalton shares campaign message in Hendersonville -- North Carolina Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton visited Henderson County Friday, speaking about jobs and education as he campaigns to be the state’s next governor. Dalton, one of six candidates running for the office in the Democratic primary, told the Times-News that his love for his state and the desire to help people spurred his decision to run. “I love the state of North Carolina; I love its people,” Dalton said. “I believe I am the one candidate who understands that innovation and creativity are going to be very important in creating jobs now and for the future.”

http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20120427/ARTICLES/120429763


LAURNEBURG EXCHANGE: Dalton pushes jobs, education -- If elected governor, Walton Dalton said he would work to increase both job and educational opportunities for hard-hit counties like Scotland. Dalton, the current lieutenant governor, made a stop in Laurinburg Thursday afternoon to talk about the campaign and his vision for North Carolina. He was accompanied by his wife Lucille Dalton. In an interview with The Laurinburg Exchange, Dalton said an improved economy and better jobs are tied to a commitment to education.

http://www.laurinburgexchange.com/view/full_story/18373370/article-Dalton-pushes-jobs--education?instance=popular


LOCAL


DURHAM HERALD-SUN:School board OKs tech upgrade

Durham’s school board this week put its stamp of approval on a plan to use $9 million in bond money for a districtwide technology overhaul, putting the ball in the county commissioners’ court.Durham Public Schools’ plan to redirect the bond money – which was initially set aside to build a new high school that administrators say won’t be needed in the foreseeable future – was initially presented to the board in late February. But the majority of board members balked at green-lighting such a change – the proposal at that time also involved the redirection of another $31 million in bond money for facility repairs – without giving notice to the voting public that approved the 2007 bond referendum.The school system’s administration has spent the last two months offering the “output” that board members requested, creating a dedicated page on the DPS website, publishing a newspaper op-ed and posting information to the district’s Facebook page, Superintendent Eric Becoats noted Thursday. The board – excepting member Fredrick Davis, who was absent – unanimously passed a resolution requesting that commissioners reallocate a little more than $9 million of the $41.9 million in bond funds that are now marked for the construction of “New High School A.” The next step is for County Commissioners to vote on a similar resolution, which is expected to happen at their May 14 meeting.

http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/18389085/article-School-board-OKs-tech-upgrade?


COASTAL REVIEW: Students Get Dirty for Oysters, Clean Water -- Students at John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington braved nasty weather last week to get their hands dirty and help create cleaner waters and a more stable shoreline at Oak Island.

http://www.nccoast.org/Article.aspx?k=7ff94357-7495-4252-a475-28ccd2e5aeff


WRAL-TV: Teens learning serious driving with fun, hands-on program -- StreetSafe, a non-profit organization created by a retired police officer, takes a hands-on approach to teaching young drivers best road practices and extends the education to the dangers of drug and alcohol use while behind the wheel.

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/11036461/


HIGHER ED


ROCKY MOUNT TELEGRAM: Find common ground on student loan rates -- Republicans and Democrats in Congress are once again fighting over something both sides claim to agree on: preventing interest rates on millions of federal student loans from doubling this summer.

http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/opinion/our-views/find-common-ground-student-loan-rates-1044089


RALEIGH NEWS &OBSERVER: Tar Heel of the Week: He helps make college more affordable -- Steve Brooks' efforts at the state and national levels have done more to make college affordable “than those students will ever know,” says Molly Broad, former president of the UNC system.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/29/2031243/tar-heel-of-the-week-he-helps.html



April 23, 2012: April 23 Articles

NATION


WALL STREET JOURNAL: Report Slams Community Colleges -- A commission on the future of community colleges criticized the two-year institutions over student success rates and employment preparation.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303513404577354000892954254.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5


POLITICS K-12:President Endorses Anti-Bullying Legislation Politics

President Barack Obama today endorsed a pair of bills that would protect students who are bullied at school and in some cases, provide for students or their families to collect damages from school districts that don't act swiftly or strongly enough in students' defense.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CampaignK-12/~3/dtgHDusV4ng/president_endorses_anti-bullyi.html


AP:Iowa paper devotes front page to fighting bullying

In a rare and forceful act of advocacy, an Iowa newspaper devoted the entire front page of its Sunday edition to an anti-bullying editorial after a gay teen committed suicide.

http://feeds.boston.com/click.phdo?i=02fe44d75a8d889a93ef179f870e2123


POLITICS K12:New $60 Million in Promise Neighborhoods Grants Announced

Another $60 million in grants for the Promise Neighborhoods program will be made available by the U.S. Department of Education, both for existing grantees and for a new round of grants, the department announcedFriday.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CampaignK-12/~3/gZg3Nrx0-ww/feds_announce_new_60m_promise.html


POLITICS K12:'Secret Meeting' in South Carolina Held to Quash ESEA Waiver

While Duncan didn't explicitly call for Zais to be invited, when he realized Zais wasn't there he told the group that it's always best to have all parties in the room, even to discuss contentious topics, according to Education Department spokesman Daren Briscoe. Some in the South Carolina education community felt that although several meetings were held to discuss the state's waiver application, it changed little in the months of debate before it was turned in.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CampaignK-12/~3/vXveqeWCG5w/secret_meeting_in_south_caroli.html


STATE


GREENVILLE DAILY REFLECTOR:Fitzsimon: War on public schools

One of the least discussed destructive decisions made by the General Assembly last year was the approval of a budget provision that opened the door to for profit virtual charter schools in North Carolina.And it didn’t take long for a company to try to take advantage of the new law. Officials with K12, Inc. convinced the Cabarrus County Board of Education in January to vote to partner with the company to set up a virtual charter in the state.

Virtual charters have a spotty record overall and K12 is an especially questionable company. An audit of K12’s virtual charter in Colorado found the state paid $800,000 to the company for students who never enrolled or lived out of state.The company also faces a lawsuit charging that company officials misled investors and the public about the quality of education it was offering. A news story about the company’s efforts to set up a virtual school for Tennessee reported that K12 outsourced grading of papers to India until publicity about it forced the company to end the practice.

http://www.reflector.com/opinion/fitzsimon/fitzsimon-war-public-schools-1034587


WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: 3 charter schools proposed for area

Three new charter schools are proposed for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County area, including two with ties to current or former elected officials and one with a military bent.They're among 63 hopefuls looking for state approval to start classes in 2013, and a State Board of Education committee will start combing through the applications this week. Approval decisions will likely come in September, but it's too early to say how many the board will OK, board spokeswoman Vanessa Jeter said.Twenty-seven charters applied for "fast-track" approval earlier this school year, and nine of those are slated to open in August. Two of them are in Guilford County, and a handful of applicants for this latest round are also in Guilford. But charter school growth in Forsyth County and surrounding counties has been slower.

http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2012/apr/23/wsmain01-3-charter-schools-proposed-for-area-ar-2194359/


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER COLUMN: Living with good schools -- If a community is to function as a healthy whole, it can’t afford to let some parts be treated as if the well-being of people living there didn’t really matter. And nothing screams “We don’t give a damn about y’all!” than tolerating subpar schools where students miss out on opportunities they deserve.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/22/2014143/living-with-good-schools.html


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: National online teacher of the year helps children learn in a new way -- Leslie Fetzer finds a new niche, and she does it well. Her work is helping students who have struggled with other types of classes.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/22/2016421/holly-springs-woman-national-online.html


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER COLUMN: Getting books in kids’ minds -- In the Triangle and around the country, efforts are under way to get books into the hands of young people who could and should be readers.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/23/2014012/getting-books-in-kids-minds.html


BUDGET


ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES: Mitchell County to close 2 small schools

WNC school systems wrestle with shrinking budgets

Christina Jenkins grew up in the Buladean community of Mitchell County.

She attended school there, and her parents and in-laws attended the school. Now, her two children are students at the elementary school.But with dwindling enrollment and a shrinking budget, tiny Buladean Elementary will close at the end of this school year.“It really is the heart of the community,” Jenkins said of the school. “Communities are built around churches and schools.”Mitchell County’s school superintendent points to the budget situation, which has been tough since the recession began several years ago. The system can’t afford to keep open the school that has only 31 students this year.“The reason why we even discussed closing schools was the lack of funding for next year’s budget,” Mitchell County School Superintendent Brock Womble said. “We knew that this discussion had to take place this year if we were going to have additional cuts.”Mitchell County school officials are closing Buladean and Tipton Hill elementary schools. Those students will be transferred to Gouge Elementary, which is planned as a K-4 school next year, or Bowman Middle, which will be for fifth to eighth grades.“Anytime you talk about closing schools in the community, it’s a very difficult and a very painful experience,” Womble said.In the upcoming budget year, Mitchell County will see its “reversion” — the amount of money the school system must return to the state — increase from around $605,000 to nearly $698,000, based on the two-year budget adopted last year by state lawmakers.Across North Carolina, reversions or adjustments to local school system budgets are expected to increase from about $429 million to more than $503 million, according to numbers from the state Department of Public Instruction. The reversions are on top of cuts already made to specific areas.

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20120423/NEWS/304230018/Mitchell-close-2-small-schools?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFrontpage


SHELBY STAR: Pay raise for NC teachers? -- As school systems statewide crunch numbers for their latest budgets, Gov. Bev Perdue says she wants all North Carolina teachers to get what they haven’t seen in years — a raise. Perdue announced at a March 23 North Carolina Association of Educators conference that she plans to include a teacher pay raise in her budget proposal to the General Assembly. That proposal should come in the next few weeks, said Chris Mackey, Perdue’s press secretary. Until then, it’s unclear just how much of a raise Perdue wants for the state’s teachers.

http://www.shelbystar.com/news/pay-63634-raise-shelby.html


ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES: Legislators spar over education cuts -- Western North Carolina state lawmakers served up mostly complimentary words of praise over a pork and potatoes luncheon Friday, but couldn’t resist chewing over education, the hottest topic of debate this election year.

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20120421/NEWS/304210027/Legislators-spar-over-education-cuts


CAMPAIGN


STATESVILLE RECORD & LANDMARK: Candidate for NC governor talks education in Statesville -- Candidate for N.C. governor Bob Etheridge said the first step to bringing jobs into the state is restoring funding cuts to the public education system. “You can’t have a jobs plan without an education plan,” said Etheridge during a rally held at Phifer’s in Statesville Sunday. “You can’t have (an education plan) if you’re not going to fund it and the state’s got to stand up and do its part…you cannot cut yourself into prosperity. It has never worked.” Etheridge, a Democrat, said he would not be running had Gov. Bev Perdue been seeking re-election, but that he felt the public school system needed an advocate in office. The state dropped from 42nd to 49th nationally in education spending per-pupil after last summer’s majority-Republican General Assembly legislative cycle.

http://www2.statesville.com/news/2012/apr/22/candidate-nc-governor-talks-education-statesville-ar-2194180/


LOCAL


MCDOWELL NEWS: Gerri P. Martin named new superintendent of McDowell County schools

After months of input sessions and closed meetings, the McDowell County Board of Education has chosen the county’s next school superintendent.

During closed session at a specially called meeting Friday, board members voted to award the job of superintendent to Gerri P. Martin (pronounced Mar TEEN), who is currently an assistant superintendent in Granville County.

Chairmen Russell Neighbors said Martin was a clear choice because of her background and personality.

http://www2.mcdowellnews.com/news/2012/apr/20/gerri-p-martin-named-new-superintendent-mcdowell-c-ar-2187765/


MT AIRY NEWS: City schools sets next year’s calendar

The Mount Airy City Schools have approved next year’s school calendar, one which allows teachers five days of professional development to help with the transition to the new Common Core/Essential Standards curriculum.

During its meeting at Mount Airy High School Tuesday, the board of education unanimously approved the calendar, which has teachers returning to the classroom on Aug. 2, and students arriving on campus on Aug. 8.

The last day of school, barring any unforeseen weather factors, will be May 22.

Superintendent Dr. Greg Little told the board that the biggest difference in next year’s calender is the waiver which cuts the school year from 185 instructional days to 180.Last year, the North Carolina General Assembly went to a 185-day calendar year, but didn’t take into account the fact that the additional days place a strain on already-strapped districts.“There’s a cost associated with those five days in personnel, fuel and meals,” Little said, noting that next year is the “cliff year” where districts across the state lose critical federal dollars. Both the county and city school systems are worried that they may have to cut personnel in order to continue to operate with the reduced budget.

http://www.mtairynews.com/view/full_story/18313716/article-City-schools-sets-next-year%E2%80%99s-calendar?instance=popular


WFAE:CMS Hopes Morrison Can Rebuild Trust

Heath Morrison will be the next Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent. He'll leave his post as superintendent of the school district that includes Reno, Nevada to take the job. Morrison has been the superintendent of Washoe County Listen to the full interview. Schools for three years. And during that time, he says, he's had his eye on CMS."It's a school district that I constantly point to as one we've tried to benchmark against." On his visit to Charlotte last week, Morrison had quick answers that showed his knowledge of the district and he had plenty of energy. He was also good with the crowd, listening and doling out handshakes. "It's very important to build political support and public trust so that you can do bold things on behalf of students," says Morrison. "If the public doesn't trust us to do the small things, then when we say we're getting ready to do some new initiative, we're getting ready to create some new program that's going to really make things better for a large number of students, the public doesn't trust us and then they don't want to fund it or they don't want to support it."

http://www.wfae.org/wfae/1_87_316.cfm?action=display&id=8559


WBTV: CMS teachers dealing with low morale

Charlotte's new top educator is coming on board at a time when teachers claim morale is low. Many hope the next Charlotte Mecklenburg school (CMS) district superintendent Heath Morrison can turn things around, but some teachers think he doesn't have enough superintendent experience to get the job done. Teachers claim Morrison's appointment could make matters worse. "That did nothing for morale," Classroom Teacher Association President Judy Kidd said. "Whenever they appointed from outside the district, especially when they went to someone who has three years of experience or less than."ill Anderson from MeckEd knows teacher morale is low and hope things will get better. "It's critical that we recognize our teachers," Anderson said. "Thank them for what they do and hope they stay in the profession for many years, because it is hard work."Morrison has said once he comes on board he will do a listening tour, and Kidd hopes he will listen to teachers so morale can improve.

http://www.wbtv.com/story/17627886/cms-teachers-dealing-with-low-morale


HIGHER ED


CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: N.C. law school graduates face tough job market -- With the same number of law students competing for fewer jobs, many recent grads may not get the jobs they want. Law school officials say while the job market remains challenging, it is improving.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/04/21/3189776/nc-law-school-graduates-face-tough.html


ASSOCIATED PRESS: Interest high at UNC campus for Obama loan talk -- Supporters in Chapel Hill sought shelter from the rain under tents, blankets and umbrellas Sunday as they lined up for tickets to see President Barack Obama speak about student debt this week at the flagship public university in a state at the heart of this year's presidential election.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/22/2018075/interest-high-at-unc-campus-for.html


ASSOCIATED PRESS: Big colleges, swing states: Obama makes his pitch -- Pivoting to his latest election-year theme, President Barack Obama will go before college crowds in three swing states, including North Carolina at UNC-Chapel Hill, to warn of financial doom for millions of students if Congress does not halt a looming spike in interest rates. His clear political mission: rallying young voters whose support he needs again.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/20/2013298/obama-to-launch-student-loan-interest.html


WRAL-TV: Obama to discuss student loan debt at UNC -- In a visit to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill next week, President Barack Obama will launch an effort to get Congress to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. Obama will visit UNC and the University of Colorado on Tuesday and the University of Iowa on Wednesday as part of the student loan effort. Admission to hear the president speak at UNC's Carmichael Arena is free, and tickets will be distributed ahead of time at the arena, 310 South Road, on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning Sunday at 1 p.m. If tickets remain, they will be available again Monday at 10 a.m. Carmichael Arena will open to ticket holders Tuesday at 10 a.m.

http://www.wral.com/news/local/politics/story/11005285/


RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: President Obama to visit UNC-CH Tuesday for student loan effort -- President Barack Obama will visit UNC-Chapel Hill on Tuesday as part of a nationwide tour to promote lower interest rates on student loans, the White House announced Friday.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/20/2013290/president-obama-to-visit-unc-chapel.html




December 15, 2011

Teacher Portal Report: Teacher Preparation and Student Test Scores in North Carolina




Fall 2011




NATION
NPR: Third Grade A Pivotal Time In Students' Lives In a growing number of states a single reading test determines which third-grade students advance to fourth grade. Proponents of the rule say that kids learn to read until third grade, and then read to learn. But critics argue that holding students back does more harm than good in the long run.
http://www.npr.org/2012/05/14/152683322/third-grade-a-pivotal-time-in-students-lives?ft=1&f=1013
PBS: Boosting Reading Skills: Will 'Common Core' Experiment Pay Off?
Called the "Common Core," a new set of state guidelines spell out what young students are expected to learn and what books they're expected to read. Forty five states and the District of Colombia have already adopted the standards. Learning Matters' John Merrow reports on the design and the aim of the new guidelines.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/jan-june12/commoncore_05-14.html
USA Today:American teacher blasts off to space The former high school teacher is headed to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz rocket.
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/story/2012-05-14/space-station-american-teacher/54953310/1?csp=34news
Politics K12:SLICE Act Would Cut Pizza-as-a-Vegetable Provision In response to congressional action last fall that allows a small amount of tomato paste to count as a serving of vegetables in school meals—and in turn making a slice of pizza the equivalent of a half-cup of broccoli on lunch trays—U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat, introduced a bill Monday that would put an end to the practice.
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CampaignK-12/~3/ZpyeyC0bqiQ/slice_act_would_cut_pizza-as-a.html
WCBD-TV2: Haley signs charter school bill in Greenville South Carolina's governor has signed a charter school bill that the state's education superintendent called his top legislative priority. Superintendent Mick Zais says the bill signed Monday by Gov. Nikki Haley at Greenville Technical Charter High School will increase education opportunities across the state.
The new law allows boys-only and girls-only charter schools and requires traditional schools to open their doors for students who want to do extracurricular activities not offered by their charter school.
http://www2.counton2.com/news/2012/may/14/haley-signs-charter-school-bill-greenville-ar-3790798/
STATE
WINSTON SALEM EDUCATION EXAMINER:New changes to North Carolina state testing Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top--do these education reform acts addressing equity and high-quality schooling in K-12 public education reveal a political struggle? Yes, today schools continue to struggle for existence in the Information Age.Most are aware the federal government is the major funding source for public education, and Race to the Top transformed schooling into a competive business. Hence, states that improved assessment and the accountability system plus adopt a common set of standards and assessments would receive federal money. One of the top leaders in the race, North Carolina changed its assessments and accountability system; the state will launch its new system in 2012-2013.Recommendations for improving education as society entered The Information Age specifically addressed high schools. A new emphasis on technology, preparing students for a 21st Century workforce, and the country's next leaders were priority. The new changes, though, still includes high-stakes testing as a major indicator of student performance, but other variables are being used to show accurate indicators of academic growth.
http://www.examiner.com/article/new-changes-to-north-carolina-state-testing
ASSOCIATED PRESS: NC child safety task force makes recommendations -- A state panel focused on reducing child deaths in North Carolina wants lawmakers this year to spend money promoting healthier pregnancies and safer infants while upgrading smoke-alarm requirements.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/14/2064314/nc-child-safety-task-force-makes.html
BUDGET
ROCKY MOUNT TELEGRAM: Public schools are at a funding crossroads To hear N.C. Sen. Buck Newton and N.C. Superintendent June Atkinson talk about public education is like listening to desciptions of two different worlds.For Newton, a Republican from Wilson, North Carolina’s schools are due for some much needed reforms. Twenty-five percent of our students don’t finish high school. Of those who do graduate, one in five must take remedial courses when he or she reaches college.But Atkinson notes that the graduation rate in North Carolina is at an all-time high, and the state dropout rate is at an all-time low.Newton told Telegram staff writer Jim Holt he wants to make teachers more accountable and spend more money to shrink the classroom size in kindergarten through third grade. Atkinson wonders how in the world her department can afford to do that. Schools face cutbacks from the federal, state and local levels, she said. Meanwhile, the student population continues to grow statewide.
http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/opinion/our-views/public-schools-are-funding-crossroads-1066227
WILMINGTON STAR NEWS: Mega Millions mania will benefit counties' schools Conversations about school construction in New Hanover County revolve largely around one funding source: the N.C. Education Lottery.Area school districts saw a small boost in their lottery dollars for construction projects this quarter as compared to the same quarter last year. Districts received their most recent funding in February, which marked the second quarter distribution.
School districts statewide will likely get their latest construction funding drop from the lottery this month. The lottery transferred $127 million to the state in April, marking the largest ever transfer in a single quarter after March’s Mega Millions chase. That’s good news for districts’ school construction projects, which lost money earlier this year after legislators reworked the funding formula.About 35 percent of the lottery revenue is intended to flow into schools statewide. Of that 35 percent, about 40 percent is meant to go toward construction projects. The remaining change goes toward class size reduction in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms; the state’s pre-kindergarten program; and need-based college scholarships. Last year, New Hanover County got about $7.68 million in total lottery funds, part of the statewide $419.17 million total.
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20120513/ARTICLES/120519888/1177?Title=Mega-Millions-mania-will-benefit-counties-schools
CAMPAIGN
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Dalton, McCrory start jabbing in NC governor race -- When Republican Pat McCrory ran for North Carolina governor four years ago, he tried to prod then-Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue to make more joint appearances with him beyond their televised debates.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/14/2063570/dalton-wants-lots-of-nc-gov-debates.html
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Dalton asks for series of debates -- Behind in early polls and with less campaign cash on hand, Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton amped up his campaign for N.C. governor on Monday by challenging former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, his Republican opponent, to eight town hall-style debates at community colleges around the state.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/15/3239790/dalton-challenges-mccrory-to-8.html
WRAL-TV: Dalton wants eight debates -- Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton has challenged former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory to a series of eight debates as the two men campaign for governor.
http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/blogpost/11099971/
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Perdue defers to Dalton on NC Democrats uprising -- Gov. Beverly Perdue is deferring to her party's nominee to succeed her to deal with the insurgence over the weekend at a North Carolina Democratic Party meeting that kept the group's chairman in power.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/14/2063509/perdue-defers-to-dalton-on-nc.html
RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Personnel file: Dalton's campaign gets a new mouthpiece -- Walter Dalton's campaign recently switch press wranglers, adding Schorr Johnson, a former communications director from the lieutenant governor's office, to the team. Johnson, a former N.C. Democratic Party spokesman, will serve as communications director for the campaign. He fills the void left by Pearse Edwards, who returned to his private consulting firm in Greensboro. Edwards said he promised to work through the primary and planned all along to leave after it was completed.
http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/personnel_file_daltons_campaign_gets_a_new_mouthpiece
LOCAL
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: CMS slows $10 million Wi-Fi project August debut of “bring your own technology” is postponed Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools leaders have slowed plans to launch wireless Internet access in all schools and let students and staff bring tablets, smartphones and e-readers.Instead of launching the districtwide “bring your own technology” effort in August, as officials announced in January, interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said Friday that Wi-Fi will roll out at an unspecified number of pilot schools.“We will need to add specific expectations for wireless usage to the student code of conduct,” Hattabaugh wrote in a memo issued after the Observer asked about a rumored delay in the $10.6 million project. “We will need to train our teachers and staff so that we get the maximum academic benefit from the technology. We also want to be sure that we provide equal access to the benefits across the district. So we are proceeding carefully and in phases.”Also Friday, CMS announced that 73 schools have won iPad grants that will provide the tablets to teaching teams and students. Almost 4,000 iPads will be provided for student use. The district’s invitation to apply for the devices, which are being bought with county money in the current budget, brought applications from 970 teams in 153 schools, spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte said.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/11/3234714/cms-slows-10-million-wifi-project.html#storylink=cpy
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Union County schools to name new superintendent Tuesday Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools isn’t the only local school district getting a new superintendent. Union County Schools, the sixth largest system in the state, is expected to name a replacement for Ed Davis on Tuesday.The school board plans to make the announcement at about 5:30 p.m. The new boss will enter at a fractious time as the school district and the county could be heading for a showdown over the district’s efforts to obtain $6.7 million in additional county funds to avoid cutting all 350 teacher assistant jobs.Davis is retiring at the end of June, and has said he was looking forward to new challenges. He has been with the school district for 35 years, and has been superintendent for the past seven years.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/15/3241876/union-county-schools-to-name-new.html#storylink=cpy
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: CMS superintendent: Judge me as Morrison Says he’s no Gorman ‘imitation;’ all students will get what they need A new era begins for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in July when Heath Morrison takes over as new CMS superintendent. Morrison, who heads Washoe County (Reno, Nev.) schools, talked to the Observer editorial board on Friday. Here are excerpts from that conversation. Q. What do you think about the reform plan offered by Republicans in our state legislature to end social promotions in third grade?A. I have no problem saying we shouldn’t socially promote kids, especially at third grade. If they’re not reading on grade level by third grade there’s a huge chance they might not graduate. I have no problem looking at what Florida did and their results. But I hope we don’t stop there because what Florida also did was invest in prekindergarten and full-day kindergarten. QWhat we have to recognize is that kids come to school at different degrees of readiness. So the only way we can account for that is to give those kids, who come with less, more at school. That means more extended learning time, more time in school, access to quality Pre-K programs, access to full-day kindergarten programs of quality, and making sure in first and second grade, using data, that we’re tracking what those students are doing. And for those who are clearly not where they need to be, we are creating special programs for them. If you’re willing to do all those things, there’s no reason why we as a school district should not oppose social promotion. Q. How do you view charter schools in relationship to traditional public schools?A. In theory, charter schools should be welcomed as a part of our ever evolving education landscape. But if you look at the data, for every five charter schools, only one is significantly better than the average traditional local public school. Two are about the same, and two are a lot worse. If we’re going to have charter schools, let’s not have a lower expectation for them. They should be really, really good schools. And if we’re going to learn from them, we can’t give them advantages that we don’t want to afford to the other public schools. Q. What do you consider to be the single biggest challenge for CMS?A. Public trust. Across the nation, CMS is viewed as one of the best large urban school districts in the country. As a matter of fact, take large and urban out it. It’s viewed as a very good public school system. Internally, there are real concerns about the way it is viewed. What I think we have to do is to genuinely reach out to our public, not in an appearance-only mode, message what we’re trying to do, get a lot of public input, really try to make our employees feel invested in the decision-making. And then when we make a decision that isn’t a popular decision, make sure people understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/13/3236247/cms-superintendent-judge-me-as.html#storylink=cpy
WFMY: Senior Don Sutton Pushes Through Challenges To Graduate With His High School Class A lot of graduates across the Piedmont Triad have some quirky and funny graduation stories. On Monday, WFMY News 2 shed light through the eyes of a Greensboro teenager who never gave up. Smith High School senior, Don Sutton, said he witnesses domestic violence in his home. "The breaking point was on February 12th, when my mother's boyfriend tried to set their house on fire with him inside. The next day Sutton says he moved into The Joseph House homeless shelter. He then walked 10 miles to school. He was determined to graduate with his class. "All I can do right now is work hard and eventually one day, everything that I wanted, everything that I said would come true, will come true," said Sutton. Don Sutton graduates from Smith High School on June 9th. He has already been accepted to the Art Institute in Charlotte.
http://www.digtriad.com/news/local/article/228668/57/Former-Homeless-Triad-Teen-Graduates
WBTV: Students start End of Grade testing Monday All the hard work and studying by elementary and middle school students will be put to the test this week.Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will conduct End-of-Grade (EOGs) from May 14-17. Testing for the EOCs is June 1-6 for high school students and June 1-5 for middle school students. CMS recommends parents not make a big deal of the test week, but try to build up their child's confidence. CMS says it's important to start each child's day with a good breakfast. Orange juice, yogurt and proteins are good choices. High carb food like pancakes and breads can make a child feel sluggish, and not as alert.The EOGs are given at the end of the year in grades three through eight in reading and math, and students in grades five and eight take a third test in science. EOCs are for students in select middle school courses, as well as high school students. http://www.wbtv.com/story/18369669/students-start-end-of-grade-testing-monday
HIGHER ED
CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL: College degree nearly doubles salary in N.C. -- With graduation season in full swing, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at the impact college degrees have on salaries. According to a recent analysis by On Numbers, a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in North Carolina makes nearly twice as much per year as a worker with only a high-school diploma.
http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2012/05/14/college-grads-in-charlotte-earn-nearly.html
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Duke U. gives Brodhead 5 more years as president -- Duke University's trustees want Richard Brodhead to stay the school's presidents for another five years.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/14/2064031/duke-u-gives-brodhead-5-more-years.html