Monday, Feb. 18, 10 am, Board of Elections hearing, North Carolina State Bar, 217 E. Edenton St., Raleigh. This is an evidentiary hearing into possible ballot irregularities in the 9th Congressional District. See more information here.
Monday, Feb. 18 various times, Presidents Day Protests from Crisis Response Network, various NC locations including Asheboro, Hickory, Pittsboro, Raleigh, and Sylva. Click here for more info.
Tweet Storm #NotInvited on Tue., Feb 19 from 6-8pm (read more at the bottom of the post)
Creating a Shared Vision for North Carolina Schools
Last month, Justin Parmenter, a 7th grade teacher in NC, wrote a piece for the News and Observer called Five things lawmakers can do for public education in 2019. This list is one that would be supported by public school educators across the state, but are their voices being heard? Is their expertise even valued?
NC Superintendent, Mark Johnson, is not bringing educators to the table, literally. He is holding an Innovation and Leadership dinner Tue., February 19. Currently the Eventbrite says this is an invitation only event, but those receiving rejection emails say it originally did not say "invitation only." Teachers like Kim Mackey and other supporters like Adrian H. Wood, Ph.D. (Tales of an Educated Debutante) used Facebook to show their displeasure and get the word out. Mackey said she was "sincerely interested in being present for [the] scheduled announcement regarding the future of education in North Carolina."
Public schools supporters feel snubbed by Superintendent Mark Johnson’s invitation only event and are wondering what 'major announcement' will be made. It has been reported that tax money will not be used to fund the dinner and program. His spokesperson did not comment on who was funding the program. There is speculation that "North Carolina will be one of five states selected for a new K-12 initiative funded by the conservative Koch network." Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute, says the initiative would include "public policy reforms that begin to get at the root causes of challenges in the nation’s education system."
There are many reasons Why North Carolina needs state leaders, not the Koch brothers, to save public education. Concerns include intentions to tear down public schools instead of build them up. Reasons for this include co-founder, David Koch, having "once campaigned for vice president on a libertarian platform to, among other things, abolish public schools." Last year the Washington Post reported the Koch Network's plans of "breaking the teacher unions . . . [and] expanding educational savings accounts." School choice is one of their priorities and this aligns with Mark Johnson's priorities as well. NC Policy Watch reported that the
conservative superintendent is a lion on school choice and a mouse on the state legislature’s peevish school funding cuts, even if Johnson was elected to serve all of North Carolina’s 1.5 million students, and not simply the 200,000 or so enrolled in private schools and charters.
They go on to say "neither the Kochs nor any big-dollar philanthropists can or should bankroll North Carolina’s constitutional obligation to fund public education" and that "most of all, public school supporters want school funding without the strings, without an attachment to an unsolicited, ideological agenda."
So who should be at the table when in comes to education policy? As the article stated earlier, NC needs state leaders making decisions to build our public schools not destroy them in favor of school choice (which is not held to the same standards). State leaders need to bring experts like educators to the table to inform policy while looking at the facts. The News and Observer reported
that private education operators receiving public money are held to a lower standard of accountability than public schools. . . [and that] private schools receiving taxpayer money don’t have to be accredited, have certified teachers or meet curriculum standards.
Charter schools have been in the news a lot lately with explanations of how in some North Carolina counties, traditional schools are being squeezed by charters and suggestions of new caps on charters. Read more here about charters and learn more from Public Schools First NC about how charters reportedly have had poorer student outcomes than District schools and how they promote racial isolation.
Stay informed about what is going on in public education by looking for Stamp NC Blue posts, tracking NCGA education bills, and looking for next steps from NCAE to "win the schools that North Carolina's students deserve" and kick off their Spring Campaign for Strong Students. Strong Schools. Strong Communities. Also, you can get involved in community events:
Creating a Shared Vision for North Carolina Schools
Also, you can express your dissatisfaction with Superintendent Johnson not opening up the Innovation and Leadership dinner to teachers, advocates, and community members and his lack of support for public schools by participating in a Tweet Storm #NotInvited on Tue., Feb 19 from 6-8pm.