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NCSBA Legislative Update – November 4, 2022

 

DPI’s Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) is in the process of drafting a new teacher licensure/salary model that pays teachers based on performance, effectiveness, and years of experience, rather than exclusively on years of experience.

PEPSC most recently met on October 13, where discussion centered around this presentation. Under the proposed salary schedule, NC teachers start with a base salary of $38,000 and can make up to $80,434. A hold harmless provision is also included to ensure teachers do not make less than they currently receive. Below is a snapshot of the proposed salary schedule, and a more detailed chart can be found on slide 20 of the presentation.

Click here for the October 13 meeting agenda and materials, click here for an article on the meeting, and click here for a recording of the meeting.

The State Board of Education (SBE) met for a planning and work session on November 1 and November 2 and heard two presentations pertaining to the draft teacher licensure/salary model. Neither presentation included a description of the draft model but rather provided guidance on what action the Board may take once it is presented with the draft model.

The first presentation explained the legal roles of PEPSC and SBE concerning policy-making around teacher licensure. Slide 12 spells out the governing law that allows PEPSC to bring the teacher licensure/salary model to SBE as a requested recommendation. This recommendation request was made by the SBE Chair after the Board heard a presentation on February 4, 2021, from members of the Human Capital Roundtable regarding a proposal to revise teacher training and licensure requirements. SBE Attorney, Allison Schafer, said Board members need to begin thinking about what request they want to submit to the General Assembly – statutory implementation of the draft model, which would limit SBE flexibility, or statutory changes to allow SBE to implement the draft model through rulemaking.

The second presentation was given by the PEPSC Chair who explained the architecture and design elements for the draft model. Following this presentation, Board members participated in small group discussions and provided feedback on the design elements (slides 10-11) and the blueprint for action (slides 12-15). There were multiple requests to provide clarity about what “learner outcomes” are expected when teachers are “assessed and analyzed”. Additionally, support was expressed for the blueprint of action that would assess teacher effectiveness from multiple evidence points.

Click here for an article highlighting SBE’s discussion on the teacher licensure/salary reform plan.

The timeline for approval of the draft teacher licensure/salary model is as follows:

  • PEPSC plans to vote on the finalized draft model at its next meeting scheduled for November 10
  • PEPSC plans to present the draft model as a discussion item at the next SBE meeting scheduled for November 30 and December 1
  • A date has not been set by SBE to approve the draft model
  • Once approved by SBE, the model will go to the General Assembly for consideration

 

As mentioned above, the State Board of Education (SBE) met on November 1 and November 2 for a planning and work session.  SBE met once more on November 3 for the Board’s monthly meeting.

During the planning and work session, where Board members heard two presentations pertaining to the draft teacher/licensure model, Board members also heard the following presentations:

Click here to access all planning and work session materials.

During the monthly meeting, Board members were presented with the following:

Teacher Working Conditions Survey update: The Board was presented with an in-depth review of the 2022 NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey results. The survey had a 92% response rate, and results can be viewed online in summary (on the state, district, or school level) or by individual item/question. Presenters stated a big takeaway from the survey results is the need for effective and differentiated professional development opportunities for educators and administrators. The presentation includes a series of slides showing administrator-educator question comparison, as well as a demonstration of how district leaders can use scatterplots to understand which schools need additional support and which schools are examples of success. Click here to access the survey webpage, which includes survey results from 2022, 2020, and 2018.

Legislative requests for the 2023 long session: Board members were presented with the first draft of DPI’s and SBE’s budget priorities for the 2023 legislative long session. Priorities include:

  • Continue funding to eliminate the student copay for reduced-price lunch through the next fiscal year
  • Increase funding for Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) programs
  • Modify the school psychologist allotment law that requires each LEA to employ one school psychologist to allow those funds to be used for contractual services if a LEA is unable to fill the school psychologist position

There was minimal discussion, as this was the first presentation on the budget priorities. These priorities will come back before the Board for discussion and approval.

School-Based Mental Health Plans and Compliance Report: The Board heard a presentation on a school mental health policy report that will be submitted to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. The presentation lists data sources that school districts used when identifying their priorities, which included the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and data from the Say Something App. Additionally, the presentation contains a series of slides comparing specific goals included in school districts’ mental health plans vs. compliance with those goals in the 2021-22 school year. Click here for the full report.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

Click here for an article on potential SBE budget priorities for the upcoming long session.

 

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) recently released a report assessing fourth and eighth grade math and reading scores. The report compared the 2022 scores to math scores from 1990 through 2019 and reading scores from 1992 through 2019. NC, and a majority of the country, saw a decline in scores in both subject areas and in both grades.

In response to the NAEP report, US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, stated: “The results released today from the National Assessment of Educational Progress are appalling, unacceptable, and a reminder of the impact that this pandemic has had on our learners. The data also represent a call to action for the important work we must do now for our students—especially those who have suffered the most during the pandemic.”

For NC, in particular, a DPI press release stated that average scores in fourth and eighth grade math have not been this low since 2000. Additionally, the percentage of fourth grade students scoring at “below basic” for reading achievement reached a 15-year high of 39%. State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said, “These findings reflect what our Office of Learning Recovery identified in March of this year regarding the effects of lost instructional time and reaffirms our commitment to working towards recovery and acceleration statewide.”

Click here for an article that takes a closer look at NC’s scores compared to prior years and shows break downs of the data by student subgroups.

 

DPI’s Center for Safer Schools awarded $74.1 million in school safety grants for the 2022-23 school year. The safety grants will benefit 111 LEAs and 89 charter schools across NC and will be used for safety equipment, school resource officers, training, and services for students in crisis.

A full list of districts and schools awarded grants can be found here.

 

In September 2022, DPI’s Testing and Accountability Working Group convened with the goal of creating recommendations for redesigning the State’s school accountability model. The current model calculates school grades based on a school’s achievement score (weighted 80%) and a school’s students’ academic growth (weighted 20%).

Thus far, the Working Group has held two meetings –  one on September 12 and another on October 17. During the October 17 meeting, the Working Group reviewed the results of a statewide survey conducted by DPI and EdNC about school performance grades. Over 19,000 people responded to at least one question on the survey. Survey results include the following statements of highest agreement across roles (see breakdown of roles on slide 16):

  • The NC legislature needs to reform school performance grades.
  • K-12 schools should have different measures of success for elementary, middle, and high schools.
  • Some level of standardized testing is necessary to understand how students are doing.
  • School performance grades should include measures beyond test scores and student growth.

For more information on the statewide survey results, click here. Click here for an article on the October 17 meeting.

Moving forward, the Working Group will continue to receive stakeholder feedback through November and begin examining new measures for school grades starting in December. The Working Group’s next meeting is scheduled for November 7.

 

On October 18, DPI released the State’s Portrait of a Graduate, which identifies seven competencies that students need for success after high school:

  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Learner’s mindset
  • Personal responsibility

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said, “There was and remains a steady need for students to develop skills outside of what we consider traditional technical skills and academic knowledge… This newly unveiled statewide Portrait is an important way we can allow, encourage, and invite schools to begin emphasizing durable skills in the classroom, and is a tool that will help students develop these competencies during their time in North Carolina public schools.”

Development of the Portrait began earlier this year as DPI staff worked directly with school districts, educators, students, employers, and business leaders to create a model that ensures student success in a range of postsecondary opportunities. DPI’s press release about the Portrait states: “The Portrait of a Graduate provides a potential framework for designing a multi-measured system of accountability that not only emphasizes strong academic outcomes but also highlights the durable skills and mindsets students need to thrive.” Additionally, the Portrait will inform the work of DPI’s Testing and Accountability Working Group as it creates recommendations for redesigning the State’s school accountability model.

Click here to access the Portrait webpage.

 

The NC Child Fatality Task Force (CFTF) met on October 31 and unanimously adopted the following two recommendations that will be included in the CFTF’s annual report submitted to the Governor and General Assembly:

  1. Appropriate $40 million in recurring funding for school health professionals to replace the $40 million provided through a COVID fund set to expire in 2023. According to CFTF’s presentation, with suicide rates for NC teens at the highest level in a decade, increased school supports for mental health are critically needed.
  2. Appropriate funding for a statewide school health data system. According to CFTF’s presentation, the current practice for keeping required health records varies, and many LEAs cannot afford an effective electronic record keeping system, which typically correlates with less access to healthcare for students.

Click here to access the meeting presentation, which includes more information on the adopted recommendations.

 

The following are the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education reports.

October 10, 2022, Weekly Report

October 17, 2022, Weekly Report

October 24, 2022, Weekly Report

October 31, 2022, Weekly Report

 

Tuesday, November 29
9:30 am – Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee – Legislative Offices Building, rm 544 (livestream)

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
NC School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – November 4, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – February 5, 2020

 

Reopening of Schools

Additional legislative and executive action was taken this week to push for statewide in-person school instruction. SB 37: In-Person Learning Choice for Families, was filed on Monday and passed second reading by 29-16 in the Senate on Thursday. The Senate is scheduled to take its final vote on this bill on Tuesday, February 9, and then it will go to the House. (See bill summary below). Additionally, on Tuesday, Governor Cooper joined State Superintendent Catherine Truitt, DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, and SBE Chair Eric Davis in a call to resume in-person instruction in K-12 schools statewide. Click here to read the joint letter sent by State leaders to school board members and superintendents. When asked if he will sign SB 37 into law, Governor Cooper stated that he had not read the bill but has heard some concerns. Governor Cooper is not mandating statewide in-person instruction, but rather strongly encouraging local school boards to consider the data showing low rates of COVID-19 transmission in schools, as well as the negative effects that remote instruction has on students. DHHS released the following health and safety guidance for in-person instruction:

On Thursday, Governor Cooper released an emergency budget plan that includes a $2,500 bonus for public school teachers and principals and a $1,500 bonus for noncertified school employees. The emergency budget allocates federal COVID-19 relief funds, and implementation of this emergency budget requires legislative approval. Click here for an article covering the push for statewide in-person school instruction and the Governor’s emergency budget.

SB 37: In-Person Learning Choice for Families (primary sponsors: Senators Ballard, R-Watauga; Lee, R-New Hanover; and Hise, R-Mitchell)

This bill requires local school boards to provide:

  • An in-person Plan A option for all students who have an individualized education program (IEP) or a 504 Plan
  • An in-person Plan A or Plan B option for all students who are in grades K-12 (boards may opt for all Plan A, all Plan B, or a combination thereof)
  • A remote option for families that wish to have this option

SB 37 allows local school boards to shift individual schools or classrooms to remote learning due to COVID-19 exposures that result in insufficient staff or required student quarantines. Any move to remote learning must be reported to DPI within 72 hours. The bill will be implemented on the first workday that occurs 15 days after becoming law.

 

Bills in the Spotlight

SB 36: 2020 COVID Relief Bill Modifications (HB 42) (primary sponsors: Senators Brent Jackson, R-Sampson; Kathy Harrington, R-Gaston; Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell)

  • Passed by the Senate and the House and presented to the Governor on Thursday, February 4

The following are some key K-12 education sections:

Section 3.2 extends the deadline for spending appropriations from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) from December 30, 2020 to December 31, 2021 for the following programs:

  • DPI – National School Lunch Program ($75 million)
  • DPI – Instructional Support Allotment ($10 million)
  • DPI – Supplemental Summer Learning Program ($70 million)
  • DPI – Extended Learning and Integrated Student Supports Competitive Grant Program ($5 million)
  • UNC (SEAA) – Alternative educational option scholarships for disabled students ($6.5 million)
  • YMCAs – Remote learning opportunities ($19.8 million)

Section 3.12 extends the deadline for State agencies to procure COVID-19 supplies, materials, equipment, printing, or services from the open market from December 30, 2020 to December 31, 2021.

Section 5 appropriates $1.6 billion to DPI from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund II (ESSER II) in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, P.L. 116-260. DPI must receive approval from the Director of the Budget to spend the federal funds. Positions created with these funds shall terminate at the earlier of the funds being fully expended or the federal deadline for spending the funds. Recipient public school units must report quarterly to DPI beginning March 1, 2021 on the following:

  • Amount of federal funds received
  • Amount of grant funds expended
  • How the funds were used, including program information such as number of people served and geographic distribution
  • The amount spent on administration
  • The amount of funds that remained unspent
  • The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions established with funds received and, for each FTE established, a position number, position status, date the position was established, hire date, and date on which the position is to be abolished

According to the National School Boards Association (NSBA), the new federal funds may be used the same as CARES Act funds plus the following spending categories:

  1. Addressing learning loss among students
  2. School facility repairs/improvements that help reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to other environmental health hazards
  3. Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, and replacement projects to improve the indoor air quality of school facilities

Click here to read the full bill summary by NSBA.

HB 12: Address Pandemic Learning Loss/Alamance County (primary sponsors: Representatives Riddell, R-Alamance and Hurtado, D-Alamance)

  • Referred to the House Education K-12 Committee

This is a local bill that provides Alamance-Burlington Schools with additional options to address pandemic learning loss through the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

NCSBA supports this bill because it provides additional options for local control, which is a request in NCSBA’s 2021 Legislative Agenda. If you agree with HB 12 and want a similar bill filed for your school district, contact your legislative delegation.

HB 32: Equity in Opportunity Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Arp, R-Union; Blackwell, R-Burke; Lambeth, R-Forsyth and Saine, R-Lincoln)

  • Referred to the House Education K-12 Committee

The following are key features of the 15-page bill.

Part I. Opportunity Scholarship Grant Program

  • Expands the definition of eligible beginning student from those entering grades K-1 to students entering grades K-2, beginning spring semester 2021-2022. Added to eligible students are four-year-olds with birthdays on or before April 16 that a school principal deems to be gifted or mature enough for school admittance (currently at least five years old by August 31).
  • The scholarship grant cap increases from a fixed amount of $4,200 to 70% of the average State per pupil allocation beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. Based on last year’s numbers, the scholarship would increase to $4,646. The formula increases from 70% to 80% in the 2023-2024 school year.

Part II. Personal Education Savings Accounts

  • Expands eligibility of students to four-year-olds with birthdays on or before April 16 that a school principal deems to be gifted or mature enough for school admittance (currently at least 5 years old by August 31).
  • Modifies the maximum scholarship amount per eligible student to be based on a percentage formula, rather than a fixed amount. Using last year’s numbers, the maximum amount per scholarship would increase from $9,000 to $10,091.

Part III. Local Funds to Supplement K-12 Scholarships

  • Authorizes the use of county property taxes for supplemental funds for students receiving K-12 scholarships for educational purposes.
  • Beginning in fiscal year 2021-2022, authorizes counties to appropriate up to $1,000 per child who lives in the county and receives a grant from one of the following: Special Education Scholarships for Children with Disabilities, Opportunity Scholarship Grant, and Personal Education Savings Account.

 

Bills Filed

The following additional education-related bills were filed this week:

 

The 2021 NCSBA Legislative Agenda was approved by the NCSBA Delegate Assembly on Thursday, January 7. Following the approval of the agenda, the NCSBA Governmental Relations Team has been creating issue briefs on each agenda item. See links for completed issue briefs below. We will provide links to additional issue briefs in next week’s legislative update.

 

The SBE met for their monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. Board members were presented with the following:

K-12 social studies standards: The SBE voted 7-5 to approve draft five of the new K-12 social studies standards, which also includes a preamble written by State Superintendent Truitt. The vote was roughly split along party lines. Prior to the approval of the draft five standards, a substitute motion to approve draft four of the standards was voted on with only two Board members voting “yes”. The changes from draft four to draft five include replacing “systemic racism”, “gender identity” and “systemic discrimination” with “racism”, “identity”, and “discrimination”, respectively. With SBE approval of these standards, DPI staff will now begin the implementation process. For more on Board member discussion, click here.

2020-2021 legislative and budget priorities: Board members unanimously approved their legislative and budget priorities for this session. The priorities reflect the Leandro action plan, the SBE’s strategic plan, and Superintendent Truitt’s vision. The priorities totaling $184,717,140 are divided into the following categories:

  • Addressing statewide learning challenges and recovery ($31,782,940)
  • Student mental health, wellbeing, and school safety ($55,896,000)
  • Education workforce development – teacher and principal recruitment and retention ($7,478,700)
  • Connecting middle/high school students to post-secondary and career opportunities ($12,854,500)
  • School business system modernization ($28,900,000 non-recurring; $37,355,000 recurring)

Click here to read more about each category.

DHHS COVID-19 update: DHHS staff began their presentation with statewide metrics, including age group data showing that case count is lowest among the State’s youngest population. Additionally, reports of K-12 cluster-related cases in both public and private schools account for only .15% of total cases in the State. DHHS staff identified numerous studies that reaffirm the low rates of COVID-19 transmission in schools, despite higher community transmission rates. Updated health and safety guidance for schools was also provided, as the State progresses to returning more students to in-person learning. DHHS released the following health and safety guidance for in-person instruction:

State Superintendent Truitt’s vision and priorities: During her State Superintendent’s Report, Superintendent Truitt presented her North Star, as well as three guiding priorities to transform public education in the State. Literacy, testing and accountability, and human capital will guide the Superintendent’s efforts as she works towards her long-term goal of every student benefitting from a highly qualified, excellent teacher. Superintendent Truitt also reaffirmed her commitment to working with the SBE, the General Assembly, and teachers to achieve this vision.

ESSER II draft allotments: SBE members were presented with draft allotments for the $1.6 billion the State will receive from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund II. 90% of the funds will go to public school units, while 10% will be used for administrative costs at DPI. Click here to view the draft allotments.

2021-2022 Allotted ADM: The Board heard from DPI staff about the declining average daily membership (ADM) in traditional public schools, which can be attributed to lower birth rates, decrease in the 5-17 age population, increase in homeschools and charter schools, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to access the full presentation.

Click here to access an article summarizing the meeting.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

NCSBA has been maintaining a chart containing each LEA’s reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year. We know that many school districts’ plans are constantly changing, so please let us know if our chart does not reflect your district’s most updated reopening plan information. Click here to access the chart.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org
(919) 747-6692

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rbostic@ncsba.org
(919) 747-6677

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org
(919) 747-6688

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – February 5, 2020
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