It has been another busy week in Raleigh as the NC General Assembly continues its work on a budget and on addressing key issues facing our state.
Below is a summary of recent legislative action relevant to educators and a snapshot of the PENC Legislative Day on March 20th, which was a great success.
House Bill 241 Education Bond Act of 2019
A school bond measure has passed the House (H.B 241) and will move on to the Senate. Although changes are anticipated, the bond issue has received broad support. Its highlights include $1.5 billion in capital funding to K-12 schools, $200 million to community colleges, and $200 million to the UNC system. The bond measure would allow flexibility to local school boards to best determine spending priorities. Also, the bond would provide crucial funds to rural schools which face a capital funding disadvantage.
Education Bills in Committee
House Bill 362 (H145)
15-Point Scale For School Performance Grades.
This bill would keep the 15-point scale for performance grades for schools as opposed to moving to the 10-point scale, which was the most recent current law.
House Bill 276
Modify Low-Performing School Definition.
This bill would remove the language of “low performing school” while modifying the definition using revised measurements. If a school has met expected growth, it will not be classified as “low performing.”
House Bill 354 (H313)
Modify Weighting/School Performance Grades.
This bill would change how performance grades are calculated. Presently, grades calculate 80 percent from proficiency and 20 percent from growth. The new proposal would calculate 50 percent for proficiency and 50 percent for growth.
House Bill 266
School Annual Report Card.
This bill separates grades for school achievement and school growth. This bill would create a 15-point grading scale to measure school achievement and would utilize a 10-point scale, based on EVASS standards, to measure school growth.
House Bill 79
Academic Alignment/Boards of Education & CC.
This bill would allow for some scheduling flexibility and let local school boards align their schedules with the community college system.
House Bill 275 (S189)
CTE Pilot for Guilford Co. Schools.
This Pilot proposal, specific to Guilford County, would allow traditional high schools to host the Innovative Signature Career Academy Program.
House Bill 315
Instructional Material Selection.
This bill would end the state’s role in textbook adoption and give flexibility to LEAs regarding classroom material selection and related decisions.
House Bill 377
This bill would eliminate the NC Final Exam as part of the state’s testing program and use other common accountability measurements in its place. Rep. Elmore is taking the lead on this proposal in response to feedback from educators regarding the amount of testing required of students in our state.
Senate Bill 134
Economics & Financial Literacy Act.
This bill would mandate that students in high school complete an Economics and Financial Literacy type course as a requirement for graduation. Also, staff development opportunities would be extended for teachers in the content area.
Representative Craig Horn is holding a press release today regarding restoration of Master’s Pay for “certain teachers.” (H 457)
One of PENC’s priorities addresses the FULL restoration of funding for ALL teachers acquiring Master’s Degrees. PENC feels that funding these supplements and other advanced degree supplements will enhance recruitment and retain our teachers while being a small cost to the state. PENC will continue to monitor and navigate this issue as well as other education issues.
PENC Legislative Day
PENC maintains a constant and consistent presence at the General Assembly before, during and after sessions with their lobbyists Bryan Holloway and Robert Mitchell and Executive Director, Bill Medlin. We are also very fortunate to have opportunities to bring groups of PENC Members and Executive Board Members to Raleigh to speak with key education legislative chairmen and leadership in the form of a Legislative Day.
On Wednesday, March 20th, several PENC Board Members and Executive Director Bill Medlin joined PENC Lobbyists Bryan Holloway and Robert Mitchell in visiting key lawmakers and discussing the 2019-2021 PENC Legislative Priorities. These meetings are an integral part of PENC’s goal to build relationships with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in order to make effective changes to education policy that will better our educators and students across the state.
During this year’s PENC Legislative Day, members had the opportunity to meet with a large group of these leaders and have honest discussions about the priorities that educators feel are important. For nearly 40 years, PENC has been chartered to be a voice for all educators in policy making and to advocate for improving the learning environment for every educator and student. In carrying out this charter, PENC has always maintained a positive, professional and uplifting demeanor when addressing others.
As PENC members addressed the legislators on behalf of all educators during the day, the consistent message from the leadership was gratitude for professionalism and willingness to sit at the table, agree to disagree when necessary and work through for compromise with civil discourse. This traditional philosophy, coupled with our values as a non-partisan organization, has netted positive results and sustains the very important relationships and open lines of communication that are essential in working with lawmakers and education stakeholders.
Pictured above from left to right: Joanna Loftis, Ashton Clemmons-District 57 (Guilford)- Freshman Democratic Caucus Leader, Bill Medlin, PENC Executive Director, Amy Lambe, Sonna Jamerson and James Nolen.
Pictured above from left to right: Representative Craig Horn-District 68 (Union)-Education Appropriations Chair alongside PENC Board Members – Joanna Loftis, Amy Lambe, Sonna Jamerson and James Nolen.
Below is a list of the legislators that PENC met with last week.
- Kyle Hall (R) Chair, Ag Commerce Appropriations, and Innovative Technologies Appropriations. Rep. Hall’s parents are retired educators.