education

Lawsuit against state on tenure law; Teachers leaving Wake in "alarming numbers"

The Greensboro News and Record reports that a Superior Court Judge should be ruling early next week on whether the Guilford and Durham school districts can sue the State of NC over NC's teacher tenure law to exempt themselves from the provisions. The districts say the law violates the NC and US constitutions and implementing the law would leave the districts open to litigation.

Meanwhile, WRAL has a story on the release of "alarming" numbers of teachers leaving their jobs mid-year in Wake County - an increase of 40%. The story also looks at a teacher who has to work two part-time jobs - one as a custodian - just to make ends meet. "I don't wanna leave this profession, but there is not much motivation to stay," the teacher is quoted as saying.

NC teacher exodus documented

Pam Tilley is an NC educator, and she's well informed. Recently she wrote an open letter to Jerry Tillman, education committee chair.

As a citizen and mother in North Carolina, I am gravely concerned about the rapid exodus of teachers leaving North Carolina for higher pay in other states. While I recognize that there are highly qualified teachers such as myself (all “accomplished/distinguished” per this year’s evaluation) who consider North Carolina their home and teaching their calling and refuse to wave the white flag, I completely understand why teachers are leaving at higher rates. Last summer, in my frustration with the legislation that was passed removing teacher tenure and once again denying teachers a cost-of-living adjustment or step increase, I started a blog to archive teacher resignation letters: www.resignnc.org

He's definitely not the education governor

A new poll shows that about half of registered voters disapprove of Deputy Assistant Guvnor McCrory's job performance, but 78% people who rank education as their top issue disapprove of ol' Pat.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s approval rating among registered voters stands at 39 percent in North Carolina, while about half – 49 percent – disapprove, according to a new poll.

One interesting number from the cross-tabs: Among likely voters who identify education as their top issue in the U.S. Senate race this year, McCrory’s approval is 16 percent and his disapproval is 78 percent.

Yeah, just like the dentists in the toothpaste commercial, 4 out of 5 education-minded voters disapprove of Pat's job performance.

Carl Ford seeks to quash due process for school boards

Crazy Carl Ford, who brought you the infamous "establish state religion" bill, now plans to file a bill to prevent local school boards from being able to sue county commissions.

N.C. Rep. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, said he and other lawmakers are crafting a statewide bill aimed at cutting school districts’ ability to pursue litigation against the county’s elected officials.

That's right, Carl doesn't like the idea of people exercising their legal rights. Without a last-resort alternative to bring a lawsuit, school boards won't have any influence and county commissions will act with impunity.

Rockingham County considers moving polling places out of schools

Via the Greensboro News and Record, the Rockingham County Board of Elections is considering a proposal to move polling places out of schools. The proposal would impact nine of the 15 voting sites in the county, including all in Reidsville. Critics notes that the move would cost $22,000 and that they wouldn't be able to find alternatives for all of the sites.

In explaining their vote against using schools as voting sites, Toni Reece, the election board’s chairwoman, and board member Velma Loy — both Republicans — had concerns about voters wandering away from polling locations and into areas where there are students.

Sorry, I don't buy this - public schools have been used as polling places for decades with no problem.

Student walkout planned at UNC-Greensboro

Students at UNC-Greensboro are planning a walk-out protest tomorrow:

Just take another pay cut? A course cut? A higher teaching load? Academic program cancelled? Wondering why UNCG continues the plans to build a $91 million Rec Center when we have to "give back" $8 million because we fell so far short of our enrollment target? Raking thousands and thousands of dollars in student debt to pay for an increasingly watered down education? Worried your degree won't be worth the paper it's printed on by the time you graduate?

Enough is enough. We cannot take it anymore.

Join us on the EUC lawn at 1pm on February 19th for a student and faculty walk out and rally. Our demands are simple: Expand education, not administration. Cut our debt, not our budget!

Facebook page for the protest here.

Guilford School Board to sue state over law abolishing teacher tenure

The Greensboro News and Record has the details.

The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to challenge the law and ask for relief from laws requiring it to offer contracts to certain teachers in exchange for their tenure. Board members said the law is unconstitutional, and its wording unclear. The board said the law “represents yet another thinly veiled attack on public education and educators.”

Phil Berger sent a letter to the Board earlier in the day, saying their action ignoring part of the law was "illegal".

The Board's attorney argues that the law changes teacher salary and status without due process.

Is there a significant law passed by this Tea Bagger legislature that isn't getting challenged in court?

High Stakes Testing 2014 - the insanity continues

The results are in for the first semester of the 2013-2014 school year. You may recall that last year the Geometry final exam allowed students to pass who got about 10% of the questions correct. Getting zero correct earned a student a 64. This same cohort of students took Algebra 2 as their next math class. The final exam scores came in last week for schools on the 4x4 yearly schedule (4 classes per semester, 90 min. classes). For the just taken Algebra 2 final exam, getting 33% correct earned students a passing score. I guess that is somewhat better than the previous Geometry exam but still quite abysmal.

Poverty and education

More and more, the evidence is mounting that problems in education have much more to do with childhood poverty than with teachers, unions, or curriculum. And before we invite further change, or destruction, to our system of public education, we need to pay more attention to this reality.

An epidemiologist at Duke Medical School, Dr. Jan Costello, found herself in a position to study the effects of poverty on children before and after the Cherokee Indians of Western NC opened a casino and paid a yearly stipend to every member of the tribe. It turned out that the extra money for families living in poverty resulted in children who had fewer behavior and psychiatric issues, and the younger the children were when the family received this extra income, the more likely the child was to see positive results. (No difference was seen for children who were not living in poverty prior to receipt of the stipend.)

Charter mismanagement costs taxpayers big time

Here's a great way to be your own boss. Be on a government committee that approves charter schools (the Charter School Advisory Board) and then collect management fees from the schools you get to approve. Can you say, conflict of interest?? Evidently the NCGA can't as they have allowed this situation to come to pass.

Lindsay Wagner of NC Policy Watch reports:

South Brunswick Charter School will be operated by the Roger Bacon Academy and will rent property from Coastal Conservancy, LLC. Baker A. Mitchell Jr.—who happens to sit on the Charter School Advisory Board—owns both of those entities.

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