CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS

Jan 29, 2016

NCGA Week in Review

This week, several legislative oversight committees met to discuss the issues concerning education in North Carolina and the Legislative Research Commission met to appoint six study committees.

Legislative Research Commission

The Legislative Research Commission, chaired by Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), met on Thursday, January 29 2016 to approve six new study committees to convene during the interim.

The study committees are:

  • Committee on Access to Public Lands, chaired by Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin), Sen. Buck Newton (R-Wilson)
  • Committee on Savings Reserve Account, chaired by Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) and Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake)
  • Committee on Municipal Districts, chaired by Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) and Rep. David Lewis (R-New Hanover)
  • Committee on Homeless Youth, Foster Care and Dependency, chaired by Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Wake) and Rep. Sarah Stevens (R-Surry)
  • Committee on Regulatory Rate Issues and Insurance, chaired by Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) and Rep. Paul Tine (U-Dare)
  • Committee on Barriers to Small Business Access to Credit and Capital, chaired by Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett)

Click here to read more about the committees’ charges and membership.

House Select Committee on Achievement School Districts

Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) called a House Select Committee on Achievement School Districts to meet on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. The committee discussed the current reform strategies for continually low performing schools and reviewed a bill draft for a pilot achievement school district, which may be considered in the upcoming short session.

Kara McCraw, of the NCGA Research Division, presented a review of legislative history regarding low performing schools to the committee. Current law provides a definition for consistently low performing schools and offers four models of assistance for recovery. The four models of assistance a school can request are: the transformation model, the restart model, the turnaround model, and finally school closure.

Dr. Nancy Barbour, Director of the District and School Transformation Program (DST), Department of Public Instruction (DPI), provided further insight on prior and present turn around programs administered by DPI. The district and school transformation program works hands-on in 40 elementary, 27 middle, and 12 high schools in the state. There are currently 34 charter schools and 547 traditional schools that meet the definition of low performing. DST has seen successes through their program, including improved graduation rates in high schools and improved performance in math and science.

The committee will meet again during the interim to continue the discussion and for continued review of the bill draft.

House Select Committee on Education & Strategy Practices

The House Select Committee on Education and Strategy Practices met on Wednesday, January 27 and Thursday, January 28, 2016.

On Wednesday, the committee heard from NC State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson on teacher compensation. Dr. Atkinson proposed a tiered approach, beginning with across the board 10% increases for all teachers. She acknowledged this was a bold recommendation, but one that would strengthen the foundation of education in the state. She also proposed funding bonuses for local teacher leadership, high quality teachers in low performing schools, and schools exceeding growth.

Click here to review Dr. Atkinson’s presentation.

Dr. Trip Stallings, director of policy research for the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, at North Carolina State University, followed with a presentation on compensation and strategic staffing. Dr. Stallings reviewed the lessons the state has learned from Race-to-the-Top, and suggested that pay for performance should be considered, but should not be the sole incentive for teachers.

The John Locke Foundation provided their insight on teacher turnover, retention and compensation as well. Dr. Terry Stoops suggested that teachers leave the profession for five reasons: compensation, regulations and policies, poor school working conditions, the labor market, and personal circumstances. He noted especially high turnover with math and science teachers, early-career teachers and teachers in low-income, high minority and urban schools. Dr. Stoops cited that though it is difficult to compare turnover data to other states, North Carolina has a 14% turnover rate. Unlike Dr. Atkinson, the John Locke Foundation does not recommend across the board salary increases because they believe it would promote bad teachers to stay in the profession and lessens the resources available to reward our best teachers.

Click here to review Dr. Stoops’ presentation.

Brenda Berg, President and CEO of BEST NC, wrapped up Wednesday’s session with a presentation on the business communities’ perspective on compensation and student achievement. She specifically focused on the challenges facing staffing new teachers, noting that the UNC system has seen a 30% decline in applicants to the education program since 2010. Berg suggested that millennials are not attracted to the teaching profession. She recommended a multifaceted approach of financial and non-financial compensation strategies to make teaching an attractive profession.

Thursday’s meeting included a panel of superintendents from across the state who discussed what has and has not worked in their school systems, in regards to retaining teachers.

The committee also reviewed an overview on the NC Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force. The task force was created in 2013 and was tasked with making recommendations on whether to create a statewide model of incentive to encourage the recruitment and retention of highly effective educators.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services Subcommittee Early Education Family Support

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, subcommittee on Early Education and Family Support Programs convened on Thursday January 28, 2016.

The committee heard informational presentations from Deborah Landry, of the NCGA’s Fiscal Research Division, on the three programs that primarily serve children ages 0-5 in North Carolina: Smart Start, Child Care Subsidies , and NC Pre-K . These need based programs aim to help children and families develop appropriately and be prepared to enter kindergarten. Benefits of these programs include higher rates of working single mothers, improved performance in math, language and reading skills, increased vaccinations and overall improved child health.

Pam Shue, Director of the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), provided the Division’s perspective on these programs. Shue highlighted successful outcomes in the state including increased enrollment in higher “star rated” programs, and that the NC Pre-K has been recognized as one of five state pre-k programs that meets all of the benchmarks for a high quality program. The programs are facing some issues, primarily concerning limited resources and staffing concerns.

Click here to see her presentation.

Jennifer Johnson, Assistant Director of DCDEE, provided an overview of child care subsidies and the Child Care Development Fund Reauthorization (CCDBG), a federal act signed by President Obama in 2014. The CCDBG requires that states make changes to both subsidized and non-subsidized child care programs. Compliance with these new requirements will be established through submission and approval of the Child Care and Development Fund State Plans, and are due in March 2016.

See the department’s overview of these changes here.

Click here for more information about the changes to Federal regulations.

A Look Ahead to Next Week

Monday

  • 9:00 am House Subcommittee on Primary Roads System
  • 10:00 am House Subcommittee on Secondary Roads System
  • 11:00 am House Subcommittee on Public Transportation & Aviation
  • 12:00 pm House Subcommittee on Ports and Rails
  • 2:00pm House Select Committee on Strategic Planning & Long Term Funding Solutions

Tuesday

  • 9:30 am Administrative Procedure Oversight
  • 10:00 am Education Oversight
  • 1:30 pm Workforce Development System Reform Oversight

Wednesday

  • 9:30 am State Board of Education Meeting
  • 9:30 am Unemployment Insurance Oversight

Thursday

  • 9:00 am State Board of Education Meeting
  • 9:00 am Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight
  • 1:00 pm IT Oversight

Friday

  • 9:00 am Transportation Oversight

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Sarah Wolfe
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