From the Ground Up, March 20, 2009

March 20, 2009

Greetings, parents and local education partners.

This past week was a busy one in Raleigh with Governor Perdue releasing her budget and legislators rushing to draft proposals before the House's filing deadline for local bills. Perdue slashed spending in every single budget category including education, but maintained funding at levels that reduce the odds that local systems will need to cut teaching positions. View the entire education budget here.

Over at the legislature, more than 1800 bills have been introduced with the final bill filing deadline still weeks away. Listed below are a few that have the greatest possibility of improving the quality of education for low-income and minority students.

HB 88 Healthy Youth Act. An act to allow parents to choose whether their children receive abstinence-based or comprehensive sexuality health education.

HB 442 Parental Involvement in School Discipline Act. A bill to require schools to get permission from parents or caregivers before punishment is administered and to require schools to report occurrences of corporal punishment.

HB 548/SB 519 School Violence Prevention Act. An act to prevent bullying or harassment of school employees and students based on perceived differentiating characteristics such as race, class, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

HB 218:  Parent and Student Educational Involvement Act. A bill to provide notice to parents/caregivers of students that have been suspended. The bill would also provide a description of the offense that the student violated and would give parents details of the students rights in the event of a hearing.

HB 470 - Calculation of the Dropout Rate

An Act to change how dropout rates are calculated so that students who leave school to enroll in GED programs are no longer classified as dropouts.

 

Judge threatens to take control of Halifax Schools

Those of you who advocated for years around Leandro v. State of North Carolina are probably as interested as we are in the lastest finding from Howard Manning, the Superior Court judge who has overseen the academic performance of state schools ever since Leandro plaintiffs sought to get more state support for school districts in low-income and rural areas. On Monday, Manning wrote a letter to the Halifax County school system ordering a hearing for next month to determine whether the local district should lose control of its schools because of its "apparent failure" to provide students with "equal opportunity to obtain a sound basic education." 

 

Manning is right. That school system is seriously failing its students. Seventy-one percent of elementary school kids in Halifax cannot read at grade level, and 74.3 percent of middle-school students are not proficient.

Unfortunately, believes he can solve the problem by wresting control of the failing system from the county and handing it to the state, a shortsighted solution that may help Halifax temporarily but won't reduce the odds of the same problem happening in other poor counties around the state. Low-income students need access to high-quality teachers, small class sizes, advanced curricula, and safe learning environments. But those resources cost money that some poor districts say they don't have.

 

Upcoming Meetings, Trainings, and Advocacy Opportunities

NCCARE Meeting

Who:

Members of NC Community Advocates for Revitalizing Education.

What:

Coalition Meeting.

When:

Sat., March 28 at 10 a.m.

Where:   

Rocky Mount OIC, 224 S.402 Virginia Street Raleigh, NC.

Why:

To get updates from policy manual committee and review a draft of the manual and finalize 2009 work plan.

 

People of Color Justice and Unity Legislative Day

Who:

NC NAACP, NCCARE, The NC Justice Center and a broad coalitions of partner organizations.

What:

A joint legislative day

When:

March 25 at 9 a.m.

Where:   

16 W. Jones Street, Raleigh, NC, General Assembly Legislative Auditorium

Why:

To support a broad agenda that support children, families, and communities.

 

Creating Opportunities for Latinos to Access Education

Who:

The Association of Mexicans in North Carolina and East Carolina University

What:

A forum

When:

Friday, March 27, 2009, from 6 to 9:30 pm

Where:   

The Willis Building at ECU (corner of Reade & 1st Streets) in Greenville, North Carolina.

Why:

To discuss strategies to expand education opportunities in Pitt County

 

North Carolina State Board of Education committee and full-board meetings

Who:

Any parent, advocate, or community member who is interested in attending.   

What:

Monthly board meetings.

When:

March 31- April 2

Where:   

Office of the North Carolina State Board of Education. 301 North Wilmington Street, Raleigh.

Why:

To monitor and gain insight into the decisions being made by the state's top education officials.

 

Projects: 
Research & Publications: