For years supporters of Wake County Schools (WCPSS) diversity plan have preached with evangelistic zeal the importance of mixing students of different economic and racial backgrounds as a way to boost minority student achievement. These developments have obscured an important fact: Wake’s diversity policy has produced disappointing results in the classroom.
Since 1994, North Carolina has been providing millions in state funds to teachers who apply for and receive National Board Certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The program, started by former North Carolina Gov. James Hunt (D), seeks to improve the quality of teachers and thereby student learning.
Title IX was written to guarantee equal opportunity in educational activities. Today, it is an unstoppable campaign to impose quotas and gender preferences in schools, as the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC) is learning. The Title IX amendment, which simply outlaws sex discrimination in educational institutions, is not the problem; it is the way Title IX is administered.
Completion of the $19 billion state budget dominated much of the recent legislative session. However, aside from providing $11.1 billion to fund public education, lawmakers also approved significant legislation impacting schools and colleges and universities.
There has been much talk from lawmakers about the need to spare North Carolina public schools from large budget cuts and protect teachers’ jobs. While much disdain is generally expressed when there is a reduction in state funding levels, what frequently is left out of the discussion are the millions of federal dollars North Carolina public schools will receive as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly known as the federal stimulus plan. An additional $380 million in federal stabilization funds will increase actual general fund spending for public education to $7.8 billion.
Despite high volume rhetoric about massive budget cuts, the FY2009-10 North Carolina state budget for public education (K-12, UNC and community colleges) reduces total spending for all public education by only about 1 percent over last year’s actual expenditure levels. State spending for all public education is reduced from $11.8 to $11.1 billion. However the addition of $517 million in federal stimulus funds for K-12 and higher education offsets state budget reductions and actually increases total spending to approximately $11.7 billion.
In order to address the state’s growing budget deficit, Governor Beverly Perdue has called on state agencies to reduce spending and develop new ways to stretch tax dollars. At the same time Perdue, a former teacher, has come out against any further education cuts. The Governor has also stated her opposition to any budget proposals that will “cripple the classroom” including provisions to increase class size, reduce teacher pay or layoff teachers.
Click here to view Brian Balfour’s presentation “Smart Start & More at Four: A Primer.” The presentation examines the basics about each program along with some of their similarities and differences. For more information about this presentation, contact Brian at 834-2099 or firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the most significant budget battles taking place in the General Assembly this year involves K-12 education. This year most of the budget discussion revolves around how to manage next year’s education budget shortfall, which is currently hovering around $930 million.
Several weeks ago I received an eight-page insert to my local paper detailing the online degree programs at East Carolina University. The insert proudly proclaimed: “With more than 60 degree and certificate programs in health, education, technology, business and other areas, East Carolina University has the largest network of distance education students in the state.” What caught my eye however was the small print on the bottom left corner of the outside fold. It read: “1,670,292 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $86,292 or 5¢ per copy.”
It seems North Carolina’s High School Graduation Project (HSGP) doesn’t have many friends. In early April, the North Carolina State Board of Education delayed, by one year, the HSGP requirement. Last week, the House Education Committee approved a bill (HB 223) sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Love (D-Harnett) that delays HSGP until 2011. The bill also requests the legislative program and evaluation unit study the project.
UNC President Erskine Bowles says Gov. Bev Perdue’s recommended $165 million in budget cuts will be a bitter pill for the state’s public colleges and universities to swallow. While the cuts to the UNC System’s $2.5 billion budget are significant, they aren’t deadly. The impact of the cuts can be softened by additional savings gathered from a thorough review of existing programs and policies.
Public education fares better than any other agency. Perdue actually increases spending by 2.5 percent (this is overall spending including the spending of receipts). Money from state funds and federal stimulus package will increase funding $350 million across all education levels. Per student state support for K-12 education will increase from $5,597 to $5,736.
Gov. Perdue recently named Dr. Bill Harrison, superintendent of the Cumberland County Schools (CCS), to what the new Governor calls “the most important job in North Carolina.” In his new position as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the North Carolina Public Schools, Harrison will manage staff at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and guide education policy for the North Carolina State Board of Education. The new position is intended to provide clear lines of responsibility and improve a policymaking process currently bogged down in uncertainty and bureaucracy.
Gov. Beverly Perdue recently named Bill Harrison, superintendent of the Cumberland County Schools, to what the new governor calls "the most important job in North Carolina." In his new position as chief operating officer of the state's public schools, Harrison will manage staff at the Department of Public Instruction and guide policy for the State Board of Education. The new position is intended to provide clear lines of responsibility and to improve a policymaking process currently bogged down in uncertainty and bureaucracy.