Volume 10 No 2 Spring 2014
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Around North Carolina: ESL in the News

"The State of North Carolina cannot ‘cut and run’ from
the results by reducing standards and deleting the assessments
because they do not bring good news.”


The state has abandoned its constitutional commitment to provide all North Carolina children with a sound, basic education, say lawyers for low-income school districts, who cite years of budget reductions, jettisoned programs and tens of thousands of low-scoring students.

In a new filing, attorneys in a landmark school quality lawsuit call for a hearing in August and a detailed plan from the state, with timetables, for complying with the basic education mandate from two previous Supreme Court rulings. They say North Carolina has discarded many of the planned remedies to the problem, leaving 800,000 poor students – 56 percent of all school children – at risk of academic failure.

Meanwhile, Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard E. Manning Jr., who is overseeing the case, issued a stinging warning: “The children of North Carolina have a constitutional right to a sound basic education and the adults who are paid and charged with the responsibility of providing that education in every school and classroom have no valid right to cover up the results of their failure to provide that opportunity, parents and the public included.
Read article


Fewer Charter Schools Approved for 2015

Only eleven of the 71 North Carolina charter-school applicants who filed to open independent public schools in 2015 got the go-ahead from a May screening board review, a significant drop from the previous year.

The state Board of Education has the final say on which private nonprofit boards will be authorized to get public money, but that board generally follows the advisory board's recommendations.

"We really went out of our way to make sure that we were recommending schools that could take off and do well," said advisory board member Cheryl Turner, director of Sugar Creek Charter School in Charlotte. "There are some very innovative schools coming."

But Eddie Goodall, a Union County charter-school advocate and former state senator, says the board went too far in rejecting applications.

"We are all kind of in a daze at the proclivity for saying 'no' from this charter board," said Goodall, president of the N.C. Public Charter Schools Association.
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NCAE: Veteran Teachers Get No Raise Under McCrory Plan

About 1,500 veteran teachers wouldn't see any pay raise under a plan Gov. Pat McCrory has proposed in his 2014-15 budget, according to the North Carolina Association of Educators.

NCAE officials said they discovered that teachers with 37 years or more in the classroom would get no raise under the proposal because they have topped out on the salary scale.Eric Guckian, Governor McCrory's Senior Advisor on Education, said the most experienced teachers would have an excellent opportunity to earn more under the plan - the Career Pathways for Teachers - the governor announced a few short weeks ago.
Read article



US Department of Education Cites NC as Leader in Reform Through Race To The Top


North Carolina is considered a national leader in education reform based on the work it has done in public education via the Race to the Top grant, according to the US Department of Education third-year report released in March.

In it, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan named North Carolina as, once again, one of the top states making progress in serving students, supporting teachers and bolstering technology in its remodeling efforts. He stated: "North Carolina has made key steps in implementing its plans, developing great teachers and leaders, and in improving students' outcomes. As North Carolina completes the third year of implementing its Race to the Top grant, it has continued to demonstrate leadership in education reform."

The state's implementation of the Common Core State Standards was made possible in large part by Race to the Top funds.
Read news release


Replacing Common Core to Cost NC Millions

Teachers and administrators across the state have been spending enormous amounts of time and money to implement the Common Core State Standards, which North Carolina adopted in 2010. But now the state is poised to replace the standards as a growing opposition movement to the CCSS has pushed lawmakers toward abandoning them in favor of home-grown alternatives – even though the state has already spent millions of dollars and resources on the Common Core’s implementation.

The state won a Race to the Top grant worth approximately $400 million – and a good chunk of that money has been used for Common Core. The state has spent nearly $72 million of the RTTT grant on transitioning to the new state standards, which includes CCSS, and an additional $68 million on building local districts’ technological capacity to deliver on the new standards.

Outside of Race to the Top funds, local school districts have also spent their own money on CCSS implementation – and it’s difficult to even put a figure on that cost.
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Immigrant Youth Face Discrimination in North Carolina Districts, Advocates Allege

A group of advocates today announced their effort to prod federal civil rights officials to investigate two North Carolina districts for either denying or making it difficult for immigrant students to enroll in their schools.
The complaint-against the Buncombe County and Union County school districts-was filed on behalf of two immigrant youth yesterday with the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, North Carolina Justice Center, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. The two students were unaccompanied minors who entered the United States illegally without an adult to care for them.
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Opinion . . .
Politics-driven Read to Achieve a Path to Failure for NC

Across North Carolina, this has been the worst third-grade year in memory for teachers, students and families. The General Assembly’s requirement that third-graders must pass the End of Grade reading exam in order to be promoted has drained countless third-grade classes of the excitement that comes with reading and learning and turned the last months of third grade into a slog of worksheets, test practice and stress.

At the end of the school year, the Read to Achieve legislation will force many North Carolina third-graders to repeat the grade, even though retention is enormously expensive and has been shown to harm students more often than it helps them. Janna Siegel Robertson, professor of education at UNC-Wilmington and co-coordinator of the UNCW Dropout Prevention Coalition maintains that for the well-being of North Carolina’s children, we need to demand that our representatives either scrap or profoundly overhaul Read to Achieve.
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