Monday, May 14, 2012

The Magnitude of Senate Bill 795

The proposed "Excellent Public Schools Act" is an intensive education reform contained in Senate Bill 795.  After reading the 12 parts of the Act in great deal, I tweeted:

"I hope every teacher is aware of how Senate Bill 795 & the proposed "Excellent Public Schools Act" will change education in #NC."

The North Carolina Association of School Administrators did a great job of seeking input from its members on the components of Senate Bill 795.  The NCASA used the responses to "guide a focus group of superintendents, personnel directors and principals who participated in a full-day discussion on each component (NCASA, 2012).  The NCASA created a Review and Recommendations for each component of Senate Bill 795.

I have listed some of the potential changes resulting from the Excellent Public Schools Act.  I have attempted to not include my own opinions, but rather share some of the potential changes.  Keep in mind, this is a 12-part Act, so not every component is listed:

THE BIG ONE (in my opinion): "Pay for Excellence" would allow each local school board to establish performance pay for all licensed school employees.  (Note: The NCASA is recommending a timeline, involving piloted districts, which wouldn't be concluded until 2014-2015.)

THE REALLY BIG ONE:  Tenure (or Career Status) would be eliminated.  In addition, the following would be eliminated: RIF provisions, the requirement of providing reasons for contract non-renewal, hearings before hearing officers, among others.  There is some discussion of having teachers be placed on similar contracts to principals and assistant principals, which are two-year initial contracts, followed by four-year contracts.  This component would greatly impact every teacher in North Carolina.

There is a focus to improve literacy in K-3 education, but does not specify if each Local Education Agency (LEA) will have the flexibility to determine how it will enhance literacy through appropriate policy.

The "grading system" used by the state of North Carolina would assign A-F to each school, based predominately on EOG/EOC test performance. (Note: The NCASA is strongly opposing this.)

The school calendar, specifically start/end dates, would be adjusted.  Right now, schools cannot start sooner than August 25.  This Bill would all the start date to "the next to the last Monday in August".  This potentially could only move the start of school up a few days, with August 20 as the earliest possible.  (Note: The NCASA wants to restore LEA flexibility in setting start/end dates, especially with the start of school.)

Elementary Education Teachers (K-6) would need to demonstrate proficiency in teaching Reading, Language Arts, and Mathematics. 

I strongly recommend every teacher and school leader become familiar with the aspects of this proposed Act.  If it is passed, it will drastically reform the entire public educational system in North Carolina.  Discussion will resume on May 16 by the Senate.

Thanks for reading and follow me via Twitter @CSmithGoBlue.  


The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

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