LEGISLATIVE & POLICY NEWS

  • State Superintendent Shares K-12 School Priorities With Lawmakers

    State Superintendent Catherine Truitt on Wednesday outlined for the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee her top priorities and goals for reforming and improving North Carolina’s K-12 schools. The presentation was her first official address to a legislative committee since taking office in January.

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  • Education Budget Work Begins

    The legislative process for creating the state’s K-12 education budget began this week, as lawmakers held joint committee meetings outlining the budgetary process. Staff from the non-partisan Fiscal Research Division provided committee members with a budgetary overview during Tuesday’s joint Education Appropriations Committee meeting, and shared plans for joint appropriations meetings through the end of March.

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  • Houses Pushes Forward Digital Learning Reporting Bills

    The NC House approved two bills relating to digital learning this week, one which would create new LEA reporting requirements for K-12 computer science courses, and a separate bill requiring the State Board of Education to maintain a “digital learning dashboard” for public access. House Bill 78: Report on K-12 Computer Science Data and House Bill 79: Student Digital Learning Access were both unanimously passed by House legislators on Wednesday, and have been sent to the Senate for additional action, likely next week.

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  • Restrictions Eased At High School Sporting Events As Senate Republicans Pursue Legislative Mandate

    Governor Roy Cooper on Wednesday announced he will ease restrictions on attendance at high school and college sporting events while lifting the state’s modified stay-home order and adjusting the limits on bar operations and the current alcohol sales curfew. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans pushed forward Senate Bill 116 that would increase the attendance capacity at outdoor sporting events for public and nonpublic high schools even if the Governor orders lower limits for spectators the remainder of this school year.

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  • House Passes Summer Learning Bill, Senate Action Likely Next Week

    Members of the NC House unanimously voted 120-0 on Wednesday to approve a bill requiring all school districts to offer in-person learning opportunities this summer. House Bill 82: Summer Learning Choice for NC Families was amended several times earlier in the week in both the House K-12 Education Committee and House Pensions Committee to incorporate some changes recommended by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and other groups before being amended a final time on the House floor.

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  • House Files Bill Requiring Districts To Offer Summer School Program

    House Speaker Tim Moore and other representatives on Tuesday filed House Bill 82: Summer Learning Choice for NC Families, which would require all NC school districts to create and offer 6-week “learning recovery and enrichment” summer programs for all K-12 students. Specifically, the bill requires LEAs to develop guidelines for prioritizing at-risk students for the voluntary program, although students not identified as at-risk could also participate within available space. Members of the House K-12 Education Committee discussed an updated version of the bill at length during a meeting on Wednesday, in preparation for a vote by committee members next week, likely Tuesday, February 23.

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  • Legislators Finalize Bill To Reopen Schools, Governor Signals He Won’t Accept It As Is

    House and Senate negotiators reached final agreement Tuesday on a revised version of Senate Bill 37 to reopen schools. The Senate voted 31-16 that afternoon to approve the bill, and the House voted 76-42 Wednesday to approve as well. Before the House vote, Governor Roy Cooper issued a statement indicating his concerns with the final legislation.

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  • NC’s Dr. Rodney Shotwell Among 3 Vying To Be AASA President-Elect

    The School Superintendents Association (AASA) has announced three candidates, including one from North Carolina, who will compete for votes from February 19 – March 12 to become the national organization’s President-Elect. Dr. Rodney Shotwell, Superintendent of Rockingham County Schools, is one of three contenders vying for the office of President-Elect.

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  • K-12, Child-Care Employees Eligible For Vaccines Feb. 24th

    Governor Roy Cooper announced in a press conference Wednesday that educators, school personnel, and child-care workers would receive the greatest prioritization within the group of eligible frontline workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone working in-person as a child-care provider or in PreK-12 schools could receive the vaccine as early as February 24, while the vaccine would become available to other eligible essential workers beginning March 10th.

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  • House, Senate To Negotiate On Bill To Reopen Schools

    A bill requiring school districts to offer in-person instruction was sent back to the negotiation table this afternoon after members of the Senate voted not to concur with changes made to the bill in the House. Senate Bill 37 (S37), which is fully summarized by legislative staff here, quickly moved through various committees this week with limited amendments, and House lawmakers approved the revised version this afternoon in a 74-44 vote.

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  • State Board of Education Monthly Review - February 4, 2021

    The State Board of Education held its monthly meeting today and yesterday, during which Board members approved the Board’s 2020-21 legislative and policy priorities, as well as greatly-debated revisions to the K-12 social studies content standards. Read more about these issues and other agenda items by clicking the accompanying image or link below.

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  • Governor Proposes Emergency Budget With Bonuses For School Personnel

    At a briefing Feb. 4, Governor Roy Cooper unveiled an emergency state budget proposal that would allocate recent federal COVID-19 relief funds and additional state money for pandemic response. A chief recommendation in the proposal would provide a $2,500 bonus to all teachers and principals in public schools and a $1,500 bonus to all non-certified staff.

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  • State Leaders Urge In-Person Instruction; Senate’s Reopening Bill Moves Forward

    State leaders from the NC General Assembly, Governor’s office, Board of Education, and Department of Public Instruction all voiced support for reopening schools for in-person instruction on Tuesday, although the groups shared different opinions on the best approach to make this goal a reality for students. Republican Sens. Deanna Ballard (Watauga), Michael Lee (New Hanover), and Ralph Hise (Mitchell) filed Senate Bill 37: “In-Person Learning Choice for Families” on Monday, which would require all districts to offer students some type of in-person instruction within 15 days of the bill becoming law.

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  • General Assembly Extends COVID Relief, Releases New Federal Funds To Schools

    The NC House and Senate this week quickly approved modifications to 2020 COVID-19 relief measures to extend deadlines for spending some federal funds and expedite the release of others. The latter includes appropriating the $1.6 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funding (commonly known as ESSER 2) authorized by Congress in December to flow directly to public school units. These changes are contained in Senate Bill 36, that now awaits action by Governor Roy Cooper.

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  • Senate Education Committee Updated On COVID-19 Funding & Policy Changes From 2020

    The NC Senate’s Education/Higher Education Committee met Wednesday for reports on funding and policy changes from 2020 that provided COVID-19 relief to K-12 public schools, community colleges and universities in the state. Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), the committee’s presiding co-chair, said the updates provide context for similar actions committee members may take in the coming weeks for additional relief needed this school year.

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  • Public School Forum Brings 2021 “Eggs & Issues” To Computer Screens

    The Public School Forum hosted its annual “Eggs & Issues” program virtually this year, during which the Forum unveiled its “Top Education Issues for 2021” and featured comments from two sets of panelists focusing on “COVID-19” and “Equity” in North Carolina.

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  • State Board of Education Debates Social Studies Standards, Shares Legislative & Budget Priorities

    A special called meeting of the State Board of Education sparked intense debate on Wednesday as members continued their discussion of proposed revisions to the K-12 social studies content standards. The discourse centered around the specific inclusion of “explicit language” in the current draft standards, as well as the broader issue of systemic racism in the United States.

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  • Updating Earlier COVID Legislation Is First On Agenda; Governor, Lawmakers Urge Safely Reopening Schools

    As state lawmakers started their 2021 long session in earnest on Wednesday, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) announced the first order of business will be addressing needed technical corrections to COVID-19 relief measures signed into law in 2020. Meanwhile, leaders of both the House and Senate and Governor Roy Cooper all made public statements this week indicating they want more public schools statewide to use Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance to get students back in classrooms safely.

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  • 2021 Legislative Session Kicks Off With Bills For K-12 Schools

    The newly seated General Assembly returned to Raleigh Wednesday to begin work for this long session and started filing new legislation with several bills focused on North Carolina public schools.

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  • State Board of Education Monthly Review - January 7, 2021

    In its first meeting of the new year, the State Board of Education (SBE) welcomed newly-elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, Catherine Truitt, as well as Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, to join the discussion and voting on critical education topics such as testing and accountability, teacher licensure, and broadband Internet expansion. State Board members officially approved a state testing plan addendum and waiver request to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, and continued to review legislative and budget priorities for the upcoming legislative session. The Board also shared some exciting news regarding additional funding for the NC Education Corps Initiative.

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