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House Approves Bills On Displaying State And National Motto, Cursive Writing/Multiplication Report, Advanced Course Placement

Two bills that would require LEA reporting on compliance with mandated instruction in cursive and multiplication, advanced math placement for high-performing students in grades 3-8, and the installation of national and state motto signage in every public school statewide were approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and the House of Representatives this week.

House Bill 965 would require every North Carolina public school in the state to signs displaying our national motto, "In God We Trust," as well as North Carolina’s motto, “Esse Quam Videri” and its English translation "To Be, Rather Than To Seem" and under each motto, designate whether it is the national or state motto. The requirement would apply to local boards of education, charter schools, innovative schools as well as the NC School of the Arts high school and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

Age-appropriate instruction on the mottos would also be required. The bill would also require $25,000 in nonrecurring funding be appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction to implement the requirements of the act, including funding purchases of supplies to create displays or mounted plaques, to be installed in at least one prominent place in each school. Upon the request of the school boards association, the bill was amended to become effective July 1, but its new requirements would not apply until Dec. 1.

House Bill 986  would require new reporting from LEAs to allow lawmakers to ensure that schools are still teaching the multiplication table and cursive writing, even though it's not part of the new Common Core curriculum adopted several years ago. The State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction would be required to issue a compliance report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by March 30 of each year. LEAs who are noncompliant or whose results are non-satisfactory will be “put on a list and spoken with” by the JLEOC, according to Rep. Pat Hurley (R-Randolph), sponsor of the bill.

The same bill would automatically send elementary school students with high test scores into advanced math classes. Local boards of education would be required to offer advanced courses in mathematics in grades three and higher. Any student scoring a level five on the mathematics end-of-grade or end-of-course test would be enrolled in the advanced level mathematics course he/she would be enrolled in the following year. Further, no student who qualifies under this subsection could be removed from advanced coursework unless that student’s parent or guardian provides written consent for the student to do so.

HB965 and HB986 have been sent to the Senate for additional consideration.