RALEIGH, N.C. – Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) commended North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis and the North Carolina General Assembly for rewarding excellent teachers, creating a transparent A-F school grading formula, empowering parents with Opportunity Scholarships for low-income students and providing funding to proven policies.
“Equipping each child with a high-quality education is crucial for the future of our students, states, and country,” said Patricia Levesque, chief executive officer of ExcelinEd. “North Carolina’s leaders are investing in student-centered measures to strengthen school accountability, boosting teacher quality, increasing access to rigorous courses and expanding school choice options for children across the state. When crafting a budget, you must fund your priorities first. Thanks to the leadership of the Legislature and Governor McCrory, education in North Carolina will be focused on student achievement.”
North Carolina’s state budget for fiscal years 2013-2015 includes the following:
- Replaces guaranteed lifetime tenure with an updated system to employ teachers through contracts that are renewed based on job performance.
- Designates $10 million in funding for a merit-pay system to reward North Carolina’s most effective teachers.
- Designates a transparent A-F school grading formula based on student achievement and growth, which will also grade high schools on graduation rates and enrollment in accelerated coursework.
- Establishes Opportunity Scholarships for low-income students beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
- Implements an Advanced Placement course partnership – modeled after Florida’s highly successful Partnership for Minority and Underrepresented Student Achievement to build AP participation and performance in North Carolina. The budget also calls for funding of AP and IB exams beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
- Expands Teach For America funding by $5.1 million (to a total of $6 million) and opens a third North Carolina-based region to the organization.
- Funds further implementation of the Excellent Public Schools Act, including an emphasis on North Carolina’s K-3 literacy policy approved by lawmakers last summer.
In a separate move, lawmakers approved a policy to allow students with disabilities to receive up to $6,000 per year in grants to pay for private school tuition and related special education services. This replaces an existing and similar tax-credit law that excluded low-income students from qualifying because of financial requirements. House Bill 269 also heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.
To learn more about student-centered reforms taking place throughout the country, visit www.excelined.org.