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Awake58: What are your legislative priorities?

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

What are your legislative priorities?

Last week, community college folks headed to the North Carolina General Assembly to visit their legislators and discuss the legislative agenda…What are your priorities? We heard from you and we are now sharing the results… We are beginning a look at workforce development…

We have explored the North Carolina education pipeline alongside Carolina Demography for the past several weeks. The project is designed to illustrate the areas along our educational pipeline where students stop out. One of the largest “leaks” along the pipeline is summer melt and we want to know more about your experience with the issue.

In late 2018, as EdNC prepared for the 2019 legislative cycle, we had an idea: What would it look like to create a people-sourced, people-focused legislative agenda for education in North Carolina? We knew that the governor, state representatives, and the like would release their own education agendas — but what would the agenda of the people be?

With that in mind, we launched the People’s Session in late February to collect opinions on education policy issues likely to arise this legislative session. Over the course of two weeks, more than 1,000 North Carolinians participated in this online project, adding their own statements to the project along the way.

The result: 1,058 participants submitted 44,611 votes on 103 statements related to education in the state, spanning everything from community college faculty and staff pay to residency determination.

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the People’s Session report:

  • Participants overwhelmingly agreed with pay increases for community college faculty and staff but were more mixed in their support of tenure for community college faculty.
  • 83% of participants agreed that the state should provide start-up funding for community colleges to establish new programs that meet the needs of the local workforce. This is an issue we hear about frequently during visits to community college. For more on this, read our series on funding and enrollment.
  • On residency determination, the results were more of a mixed bag. Only 55% of participants agreed that individual colleges, rather than the RDS system, should determine who qualifies as an in-state student. For more, read our series on residency determination.

You can read our full results report here, along with more information about how the project was conducted and who participated. We found it interesting to look at what you all thought as we covered the community college system’s day at the legislature last week.

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EdNC Reads

Community college advocates descend on legislature 

“The legislature will see me. But they will listen to you,” declared Peter Hans last week as advocates from across the community college system landed in Raleigh. It was a first-of-its-kind attempt to bring together representatives from all 58 community colleges to walk the halls of the North Carolina General Assembly.

Developing North Carolina’s workforce: Why community colleges want equal funding for short-term workforce development

Ellen Spolar leads off the discussion on short-term workforce development with this frame: “But with full-time enrollment in degree programs on the decline, community colleges are creating more avenues for workers to get the skills they need to advance their careers while working. And in an economy increasingly reliant on digital and technical capabilities, the skills taught in con ed courses are increasingly necessary for the workforce. Now, the North Carolina Community College System is asking that the funding model reflect this reality.”

One State, One Rate,’ group organizing around tuition equity for undocumented students

“Currently, some 33,000 school-aged undocumented immigrant children live in North Carolina. There are 170,000 U.S. citizen children living in the state under the care of at least one undocumented parent. For these children, obtaining in-state tuition under current state residency laws can sometimes be confusing — particularly for those applying to community colleges…” A group is organizing to work for in-state tuition for those students for both community colleges and universities.

Let’s talk about the future of local news

North Carolina has experienced a decline in local news outlets over the last several decades. We would love to know more about your own experience with local news. Weigh in on our site.


Other Reads

Redefining the ‘American Dream’ in the age of automation

Provocative questions are raised in this piece: “So in a nation where the American Dream comes with the condition of success, the age of automation could dramatically change Americans’ ability to achieve that dream — especially if defining success misplaces the true source of happiness.”

Census 2020: Everything you need to know about North Carolina’s hard-to-count communities

Carolina Demography has paired with the NC Counts Coalition to examine communities that are at risk of being undercounted in the upcoming census.

These students are already solving problems for local businesses

District C is an after-school program focused on soft skill development. The program pairs teams of students with area businesses who present them with complex problems to solve. For more on District C, check out this brief.

CTE classes are popular, but only 25% of students take courses that could lead to the nation’s biggest industries

Are your CTE courses targeting your largest local industries? One recent study argues fewer students are taking courses in the biggest industries in the country — business, marketing, tourism, and manufacturing.



EducationNC ( believes a more informed, connected, and engaged North Carolina is a better North Carolina. Thank you so much for joining us in the conversation around our students, our state, and our future. If you have any questions about our mission and vision, feel free to email me.


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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.