House Judiciary committee hearing,Wed. 3/27, 10 am, LOB 544, 300 N Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27603 -HB 370 (forcing all NC sheriffs to cooperate with ICE beyond what is now legally required) is on the agenda. El Pueblo is requesting support from allies to attend and testify at the hearing—let them know if you or someone you know is interested in testifying. More info and an action link here, https://elpueblo.org/stop-hb-370/

Make It Public, Raleigh Rally, March 26, 10:30am, https://www.facebook.com/events/2224325407833132/

Your weekly ICYMI with Kate will be out Friday instead of Wednesday this week. Stay tuned!

So what's going on in the North Carolina General Assembly related to education? By my count, 160 education-related bills have been introduced since January. More than 50 of these bills are related to school calendar flexibility. Other bills that have drawn a lot of attention include

1-HB 377 Reduce Testing (read more about the need for testing reform)

2- SB 329 / HB 428 K-3 Reading and Literacy Improvement Act (one TA per K-2 classroom and one TA for every 3rd grade) - read more here.

3 -School Performance Grades - HB 145 / HB 362 15-Point Scale For School Performance Grades, HB 266 School Annual Report Card, HB 354 / HB 313 Modify Weighting/School Performance Grades. Read more here and here.

4 - SB 247 Charter School Growth/Moratorium on Growth - read more here

What else do we have to look forward to this session? Mark your calendars for May 1 as we expect a sea of #Red4Ed with another day of action similar to last year's May 16th Rally for Respect. Justin Parmenter wrote

On May 1, we’re calling for all employees of North Carolina schools  to take a personal day and join us in Raleigh as we converge on the  General Assembly to press for the following 5 changes:
Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social  workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet  national standards
Provide $15 minimum wage  for all school personnel, 5% raise for all ESPs (non-certified staff),  teachers, admin, and a 5% cost of living adjustment for retirees
Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families
Reinstate state retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017
Restore advanced degree compensation stripped by the General Assembly in 2013

So where do we stand on these five issues? Here's a run down on bills which have been introduced and related news stories.

1- school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals - read more here about the need; see the recommendations for these support professionals in comparison to the deficit in our state.

2- $15 minimum wage for all school personnel - House Bill 359 (filed 3/13/19)

5% raise - Gov. Cooper wants a $3.9 billion education bond, 9 percent pay raises for teachers; NC superintendent shares top education priorities, including raising teacher pay at least 5%

5% cost of living adjustment for retirees - Senate Bill 243 (Filed 3/13/19, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate)

3- expand Medicaid - House Bill 5 / Senate Bill 3 (filed 1/30/19, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Health - read more here and here)

4 - state retiree health benefits - HB 184 Study State Health Plan Design (filed 2/26/19, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Health); HB 188 Retirement Administrative Changes; Court Rules State Retirees Should Pay Health Premiums | WUNC

5 - advanced degree compensation - Senate Bill 28 Restore Master's Pay for Certain Teachers (filed 2/6/19, passed 1st reading, referred to committee on rules); Senate Bill 244

Call to Action - Contact your legislators and tell them how important these five priorities are. Plan to rally alongside teachers on May 1.

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