Education Committee Approves Reforms
Special Report - May 30, 2012
Yesterday, the Senate Education and Higher Education Committee passed an amended version of a bill that includes major changes to the State’s public school system. The amended Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) for SB 795Excellent Public Schools Act passed by voice vote. Introduced by Sens. Tom Apodaca (RHenderson), Phil Berger (RRockingham), and Jerry Tillman (RRandolph), the bill would make sweeping changes to improve the education system in North Carolina. Among the changes proposed by the measure are, the assignment of school performance grades, adjustments to the school calendar, stronger teacher licensure requirements, a tax deduction for educational supplies, the establishment of teacher contracts, and the elimination of public financing for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction,.
Senate President Pro Temp Berger presented the PCS to the committee on May 29, after receiving public comments from various groups on the original version of the bill. The comments were made public May 25. The changes included in the PCS respond to concerns about the original bill, primarily from the business community regarding the school calendar year. Other major changes in the PCS address concerns about career status, or the ability of local school boards to employ teachers with multi-year contracts after three years.
Members of the committee raised concerns that the requirements for additional student assessments, testing, reporting, and evaluations would take away from valuable teaching time. Some members questioned whether the “school performance grades” should consider improvement in schools in addition to current performance, and whether they were too simplistic and punitive. Sen. Berger stressed the importance of having qualified teachers in the classroom, and emphasized the need for new minimum score requirements for new K-6 teachers on reading and math assessments. An amendment was adopted by voice vote that removed redundancy in the bill and corrected technical drafting errors.
The Committee heard public comments from Save Our Summer N.C., the N.C. Justice Center, the N.C. School Board Association, the N.C. Council of School Attorneys, the N.C. Association of School Administrators, and the N.C. Association of Educators. The bill is now set to be considered by the Appropriations Committee. If given the green light there, it would then need to also be approved by the Finance Committee before going to the Senate floor.
Statewide Education Reforms Proposed - April 25, 2011
NC Students Struggle to Compete - February 9, 2012
NC Test Scores Released - November 7, 2011
2011 Legislative Review - June 22, 2011
Education Day at the Legislature - June 10, 2011
Condition Of Education Report Released - June 2, 2010
Report Evaluates Education Innovation - November 18, 2009
NC Public Schools Leaving Children Behind - August 14, 2008
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