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Awake58: Who makes decisions in North Carolina?

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

Who makes decisions in North Carolina?

Welcome to Awake58! If you were forwarded this email from a friend, click here to subscribe. I would also recommend joining any/all of our other EdNC emails, click here.

The General Assembly is underway, but we have a number of other factors at play in North Carolina including several commissions… two bond proposals are being floated for the state which could have an impact on your local college… Have you thought of automation? One study has taken a deeper dive.

Thank you all for your feedback last week on our legislative preview. We heard from several folks who are concerned about faculty pay, in addition to the issues Alex spotlighted in his legislative preview.

One important factor in North Carolina is the sheer amount of commissions and committees which are exploring critical issues across the entire education continuum from teacher preparation to high poverty education to educational attainment. Liz Bell covered each of the key commissions and decision-makers in this must-read piece.

We are paying particular attention to myFutureNC. We’ve been tracking their efforts since the beginning. We played a role in their listening sessions, facilitated a survey, and Mebane Rash served as a content expert in the P12 space. myFutureNC will announce a call to action and release a statewide attainment goal around February 20th, and we will be on hand. Stay tuned for more on the attainment front in the weeks ahead.

This week, we also covered the bond proposed by Speaker Moore and the new proposal from Senator Berger. Each proposal could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars for construction for the 58 community colleges.

Finally, Superintendent Mark Johnson and President Peter Hans declared February to be Career Pathways Month yesterday at Wake Tech.  Both Johnson and Hans spoke to a desire to educate students on the broad array of paths to start a career beyond simply a four-year degree.

Thanks for reading. Please stay in touch! As always, reply directly to this email with any ideas, comments, or concerns.

– Nation


EdNC Reads

Superintendent Johnson and Community College President Hans announce Career Pathways Month

Liz Bell has the story: “Superintendent Mark Johnson said he wants students across North Carolina to know that attending a four-year institution after high school is not the only option for a successful career. He said collaboration between K-12 public school systems and the community college system is necessary to give students exposure to several career options while still in middle and high school.”

Board of Trustees release names of candidates for President at James Sprunt

All four finalists for the president of James Sprunt Community College currently serve within the North Carolina Community College system. James Sprunt is planning to have the new president in place by April.

The legislature is back in session. Here’s what to expect for education policy.

Analisa highlights each of the legislative previews from the various educator sectors including early learning, K-12 education, community colleges, and more.

Who’s making state-level education decisions?

North Carolina has a lot of leaders working on education ranging from the Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education to the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission to myFutureNC. Liz Bell has a fantastic story outlining the key players.

Senators strike back against House building bond proposal

Speaker Tim Moore proposed a bond just before the holidays which, if passed, would allocate $200,000,000 in community college construction, while Senator Berger has proposed increasing revenue to the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund to fund $2.03 billion in construction costs for community colleges over nine years.

From Spartan to Tar Heel: Javonte Williams’ path to success

EdNC strives to be unbiased, but I am a diehard fan of the Tar Heels, so I loved seeing this article featured on our site this week. Javonte is a talented young running back for the Heels who utilized Career and College Promise to get a jump start on his college career.


What we’re reading

Automation and Artificial Intelligence

My colleague Molly has a wonderful newsletter called Friday@5, which I recommend you subscribe to for a weekly dose of policy. She sent over this report and noted the following findings: “States in the American Heartland are more at risk of automation than others given the focus on transportation and manufacturing in those states… Men, young people, and underrepresented communities are most at risk of job displacement because they are more likely to have jobs in transportation, agriculture, and construction — all jobs with high risks of automation.”

As newspapers shrink, the civic cost grows

At EdNC, we think constantly of the role civic engagement plays in our state. The author notes how the diminishment of local journalism impacts engagement and local life: “I think that loss is contributing mightily to the sense of frustration so many of us feel with politics and public life. Local news covers the kinds of problems you can actually fix, the issues where normal people can get involved and make an obvious difference.”

As jobs grow hard to fill, businesses join the drive to push rural residents towards college

What is the role of industry in terms of recruiting rural students to postsecondary?

LabCorp gives $1M to ACC’s Center of Excellence

Dr. Algie Gatewood passed along the news of a significant gift from LabCorp to Alamance Community College.

The Valedictorians Project

The Boston Globe caught up with 113 high school valedictorians who graduated from Boston high schools in 2005, 2006, and 2007 to see where they are now. The answers may surprise you.


A message from our community.

Dr. Rodney Powell from Central Carolina Community College wanted me to share the following message for those interested:

“On November 28, 2018 Dr. Karen Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, delivered a powerful message in her Dallas Herring Lecture. Her charge included the idea that community colleges need to be proactive in encouraging faculty development to further enhance student success. This call to action could not be more timely. Several experts previously presented on enhancing faculty development at the 2018 North Carolina Community Colleges System Conference and collaborated on potentially meeting once a year. This annual symposium would center around increasing and improving faculty development. The participants present are all in accord that there is no one way to do faculty development, but we can synthesize and collate various resources to build a program that works best for our respective colleges.  For those interested in joining our loosely knit group or who would like to share information with others, please contact Dr. Rodney Powell at Central Carolina Community College,”


Your voice matters

Now that you have read our legislative preview (if you haven’t, click on through), what are your top priorities for our community colleges? What issues matter most to you? When the legislature reconvenes at the end of January, EdNC and Reach NC Voices will be launching a special project called the People’s Session to understand your education agenda for the upcoming legislative session.

The People’s Session will allow you to weigh in on education issues and ideas, add your own ideas, and surface the issues you care about most for 2019. Then, we will publish your top priorities and share them with leaders across the state.

Signing up now will allow you to participate when the People’s Session launches this month. Click here to do so today!


Do you have a story to share?

We need your voice to tell the stories of our state’s 58 community colleges. We are now accepting first-person perspectives for We want to know your stories, ideas, and vision for our community colleges. To learn more about submitting an article, click here. If you respond to this email, I am happy to help you think about how to frame your perspective and story.



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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Policy research, trends, and analysis matters. If you agree you might like the Center’s weekly policy email, Friday@Five. You can subscribe here.

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.