Action in the Carolinas

ACTSMM

PAA affiliates in North and South Carolina have had a busy year, and are looking forward to new rounds of action and advocacy at local and state levels.

Public Schools First NC (PSFNC)

Website: publicschoolsfirstnc.org

Public Schools First NC is a statewide, nonpartisan organization focused solely on public education. Our mission is to educate and mobilize citizens in support of a public education system that equitably offers a high-quality, well-funded, and diverse education to all students.

Since our inception in early 2013, we have focused on numerous threats to public education funding and quality, including a new private school voucher program, which was recently halted by the NC Superior Court, and the proliferation of unregulated charter schools.  We conduct community meetings around the state, hold webinars on issues, and maintain an informative website that is a valuable archive of fact sheets and other resources.

This year, we will again focus on the activities of the North Carolina General Assembly as legislators begin their long session in January 2015 and set a new two-year budget. Teacher retention and improving the pipeline of excellent teachers are among our key goals.

Charleston Area Community Voice for Education (CACVE)

CACVE is a loosely knit network of parents, educators, and community members from the Charleston, South Carolina area and across the state with a small but active core of local education advocates. Our goals include informing communities and creating conversations about local issues, as well as involvement in local initiatives.

During 2013-2014, CACVE has focused on the Charleston County School District BRIDGE initiative. BRIDGE is funded by Race to the Top and Teacher Incentive Fund grants that total $44 million. It involves a remake of teacher and administrator evaluation that includes observation checklists, VAM and SLOs. as well as changes in salary schedules, including merit pay. In pilot phase last year, BRIDGE was scheduled to go district-wide in 2014-2015. Members of our group have been active on BRIDGE committees and regularly meet with (and inform) members of the BRIDGE leadership.

Much of the BRIDGE initiative directly conflicts with our beliefs (and those of PAA) as well as most research. Working with EDfirstSC, a statewide advocacy group, as well as teacher groups, we have been instrumental in the district’s decision to delay full district-wide implementation, including SLOs for 2014-2015. Although BRIDGE remains officially intact, its future is questionable, particularly with upcoming school board elections. Members have also been active in opposing a similar statewide evaluation plan.

Our plans for this year include continued work to redirect (or dismantle) BRIDGE and to focus conversations on building better teaching capacity.

Co-founder Sarah Johnson is also a candidate for the district school board. Her website is: ccshad.wix.com/sarahshadjohnson

Mecklenburg Area Coming Together for Schools            MecklenburgACTS

Website: MecklenburgACTS.org

MecklenburgACTS.org was founded in 2006 by a group of community leaders in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, N.C. At the time, we were especially concerned about the inequalities that were emerging as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) was forced by a court order to end busing for racial desegregation. We have worked on several issues at a local level, advocating for smaller classes and equity of opportunity across our district while opposing resegregation, school closings and the expansion of high stakes testing.

This past year we focused on high stakes standardized testing. We put together North Carolina’s first comprehensive information packet for families who wanted to refuse state tests, and advised families on the process and the potential results. We also worked with families to expose the problems with North Carolina’s new “Read to Achieve” legislation, an ALEC-promoted program that requires third graders to pass the third grade End-of-Grade reading test in order to be promoted to fourth grade. We participated in several of the “Moral Monday” marches that demonstrated the depth and breadth of opposition to the damaging education and economic policies of the North Carolina state legislature.

This year, we plan to focus on building a statewide parent coalition to pressure the legislature to end Read to Achieve as well as the recently instituted A-F school grading legislation. We would be interested in discussing this issue with groups who are battling this legislation in other states.

Great Schools in Wake Coalition (GSIW)

Website: greatschoolsinwake.org

Founded in 2009 as a project of WakeUP Wake County, the Great Schools in Wake Coalition is a community coalition of organizations, business leaders, parents and citizen advocates who are working to ensure educational excellence in the Wake County, N.C., public school system. Issues we have targeted include student assignment, the school-to-prison-pipeline, school funding and teacher compensation.

In all our work, GSIW seeks to provide accurate information to educate the public about policy initiatives that impact the quality of education, to foster well-informed discussions about critical education issues, and to advocate for policies that improve public education in Wake County.

 

 

 

 

Posted on by pagrundy Posted in Misc

Comments are closed.