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Education bills start to pour in

As the North Carolina General Assembly gears up, education bills are being filed in both the Senate and the House. 

Multiple bills have been filed that would give “educational purpose” waivers to various schools so that they can be flexible with their local school calendars. This is a part of a big push that a bipartisan coalition is making for local calendar flexibility. Here is one of those bills, but there are many, and you can see them all using our legislative tracker. 

There is a bill in both the House and the Senate to restore the Teaching Fellows Program. This is a program that offers free scholarships to college for top-notch high school graduates who are willing to spend four years teaching in North Carolina schools. It’s been around since 1986, but the General Assembly ended funding for it in 2014. 

A bill in the Senate would restore extra pay for teachers with masters degrees.As the title of the bill suggests, teachers with masters degrees used to get extra pay. Many veteran teachers feel like their pay has been ignored by state lawmakers.

Senate Republicans have also filed a bill that would get rid of the State Superintendent for Public Instruction and the State Board of Education, and replace them with a secretary of education appointed by the governor.

Sen. Josh Stein has a bill that would change the formula for school grades. Right now it’s weighted 80 percent in favor of academic achievement and 20 percent academic growth. His bill would make it 60 percent growth and 40 percent achievement. It’s been referred to the Ways & Means committee. 

And in the wake of concerns over the financial operation of some charter schools, a bill has been filed in the House that would increase financial accountability for such institutions. 

This is in no way a complete picture of all the bills that have been filed, but hopefully it will give you a sense of the diversity and direction our lawmakers are taking. Education committees are getting underway in earnest this week, so there is guaranteed to be more action in the days and weeks ahead.

Alex Granados

Alex Granados is senior reporter for EducationNC.