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Thurs,  Jan 23, 6:30pm, Chapel Hill Public Library, Denied and  Abridged: The  Struggle for Voting Rights in NC. Anna Richards  (CH-Carrboro NAACP) and  Irving Joyner (law professor at NCCU) speaking.  Sponsored by Neighbors  on Call. Register here.

Join NoC  on Feb 3 or 4 to hear about their 2020 plans, events in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Durham, and Pittsboro. https://www.neighborsoncall.org/events

Absentee voting by mail has started, ballot request deadline is Feb 25. Get all the details here. https://www.ncvoter.org/absentee-ballots/


Though this post will focus mostly on education, I wanted to take a moment to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy in connection with voting rights. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, Bernice King, recently said that the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta will devote "Monday to voter education and registration." Bernice King said "she believes her father would have been disappointed with efforts  playing out in some U.S. states . . . to impose strict ID requirements." NC is one of those states mentioned in the article. Read more about voter id in NC from Kate's post last week.

Read here about the Martin Luther King celebration at Duke University that [focused] on voting rights (limited free access with N & O). Former Tallahassee mayor, Andrew Gillum, spoke: “Our strongest tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and what he fought so hard for... may be the ballot itself." He continued by saying

the ballot should be valued as much as the stone monuments, the  memorial street names in cities all over America, the holidays and the  fire that burns for King in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Every day we are fighting in Florida and in  Texas and in North Carolina to make the Voting Rights Act mean  something."

It has been another busy week in NC education. The action started on Tuesday with  a "busy" day in the North Carolina General Assembly. That morning, "The North Carolina Association of Educators call[ed] on lawmakers and Gov. Roy Cooper to reach a deal on teacher raises." However, the day ended with no budget. (Read more from Kate's post from last Wednesday.) The North Carolina Justice Center explains what it means that we move on without a budget and the mini budgets that were passed.

Regarding public schools they say

North Carolina’s legislators are obligated under our State  Constitution to ensure that every child has a meaningful opportunity to  receive a sound basic education, backed by adequate funding and  resources in every public school. Unfortunately, school funding has  stayed stagnant, despite growing enrollment numbers. North Carolina  continues to face a backlog of over $8 billion in school construction.1 Fixing our crumbling school infrastructure would improve learning  environments and generate good jobs. North Carolina’s class of 2021 will  have experienced declining state investment for their entire K-12  education experience. Per-student funding is $380 lower than lower than  it was before the Great Recession.2 The lack of a comprehensive budget has meant that public schools are  expected to operate with no increased dollars to match higher enrollment  numbers.
Every teacher should be compensated at a level that acknowledges  their contributions to our children and the prosperity of our state.  Next year, teachers will go without their annual modest pay raise.  Teacher pay in North Carolina remains below $54,000, and North Carolina  teachers are paid 26.5 percent less than comparably educated workers in  the private sector.3 By comparison, the average basic cost of living for a family of four in the state is approximately $53,000 per year.4 As North Carolina continues to ask teachers to do more with less, many  teachers cover more and more class expenses out of their own pockets.  Without adequate compensation, we aren’t setting teachers up for success  in the classroom or at home.

Read here how the UNC System condemns [the] state’s budget impasse and warns that it will hurt universities. (limited free access with N & O)

In other education news this week in NC, the long awaited hearing for Istation wrapped up on Friday. NC Policy Watch reports that it will "be more than five weeks before a decision is made on the fate of the  controversial contract award to Istation to assess reading levels of the  state’s K-3 students." Read more of the Istation fiasco history here.

If you want the "play by play" of the hearing. Start here

and work your way back to the beginning as Chelsea Bartel, school psychologist, tweeted the details of the hearing throughout the week.

Also read more about what's been going on related to Superintendent Mark Johnson:

Explosive new Istation allegation: Department of Public Instruction spied on retired director

Let's get to the bottom of the Department of Public Instruction's Spygate

NC Superintendent Mark Johnson mocks improper surveillance accusations with references to ninjas and “DPI Spy Squad”

NC School’s Superintendent has message for teachers protesting stalled budget
More than a dozen teachers walked from Asheville’s Chamber of Commerce to Pack Square on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 demanding more money. The march came after lawmakers failed once again to pass a budget, leavingteacher pay raises up in the air. WLOS. State School Superintendent Mark Johnson recently …

Now, Just in case you needed a reminder about how I really feel, here's last week's education post, Mark Johnson Must Go.

There was a lot of disappointment this week with the budget. We are left waiting to hear the Istation hearing outcome. Let me end on a positive note in NC education. . . . Elections are coming! The North Carolina Association of Educators knows that we need to elect pro-public education candidates and is beginning their process for endorsing 2020 candidates. Watch for those "apple cards" to show up soon. Can you believe primaries are less than two months away?

Tags: (education, NC budget, Istation, NC Superintendent, NCGA, NCPol, 2020 elections)

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