Senate Approves Education Reforms
Special Report - June 5, 2012
The State House will now begin the process of considering sweeping reforms to the public school system in North Carolina, after the State Senate passed SB 795Excellent Schools Act on Monday night. The Senate spent about 40 minutes debating the legislation during session on June 4. After defeating the one amendment that was offered, 31 senators ultimately voted to give final approval to the bill, while 17 senators voted against the bill. Monday’s action concluded a prolonged debate on the bill, which was originally unveiled by Senate President Pro Temp Phil Berger (RRockingham) in April, and is co-sponsored by 27 members of the Senate. After several contentious committee meetings to discuss the bill, the full Senate debated it for almost an hour on May 31 before tentatively approving it by a vote of 3115. The vote last night finalized Senate approval of SB 795 and sends it to the House for consideration.
Among its proposals are changes to improve K-3 literacy, assign school performance grades, adjust the school calendar, strengthen teacher licensure requirements, repeal the prohibition on teacher prepayment, provide a tax deduction for educational supplies, establish teacher contracts and eliminate public financing for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and other goals. Sen. Berger emphasized during Monday night’s session that the current state of the public school system was “unacceptable” and that the reforms in the bill are needed to help protect and improve public schools.
Several groups and many legislators still have reservations about the bill, which is expected to be amended as it makes its way through the House. Should the House pass an amended version of the bill, the Senate would have the option of either accepting the House’s changes or else sending the bill to a conference committee where representatives from each chamber would develop a compromise version of the bill. Once both the House and Senate approve identical versions of the bill, it would go to the governor.
“We are pleased that the legislature is taking the time and opportunity during this short session to consider how we can improve the educational experiences and opportunities for students, parents, and teachers across North Carolina,” said Bill Brooks. “Legislators should continue to focus on solid policy proposals like those in SB 795 and other bills that have been filed this session that would give students and parents more and better educational options.”
Education Committee Approves Reforms - May 30, 2012
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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