Category

News

Coalition Welcomes Piedmont Community Charter School

By News
Last week, the board of Piedmont Community Charter School voted to join the Coalition. We are so pleased to have Piedmont as our newest member!

A public charter school in Gastonia, NC

Piedmont operates three campuses in Gastonia, North Carolina, including a new high school that launched two years ago, in August 2020. The school currently serves nearly 1,900 students in grades K-12.
In fact, Piedmont is the fourth largest brick and mortar charter school in North Carolina. The school offers students “a rich academic curriculum, diverse fine arts, competitive athletics and well-developed programs that celebrate and inspire excellent student achievement and character.”
Learn more about Piedmont in the video below. Piedmont, welcome to the Coalition!

Coalition Recognizes 2021-22 Charter Champions

By News
As the 2022 Short Session wraps up, the Coalition is working to recognize our “Charter Champions” in the North Carolina General Assembly. Republicans and Democrats alike, these lawmakers have supported the success and sustainability of North Carolina’s charter school movement throughout 2021-22. As a result, we are honoring their commitment to charter schools and school choice.

Coalition 2021-22 Charter Champions

This week, Lindalyn Kakadelis, the Coalition’s executive director, has been making the rounds at the General Assembly with Lee Teague, a member of the Coalition’s Government Relations Team. While there, Lindalyn is awarding 26 certificates, recognizing the following 2021-22 Coalition Charter Champions:

 

House Speaker Tim Moore with Lindalyn Kakadelis.

Senate Leader Phil Berger with Lindalyn Kakadelis.

Senator Paul Lowe with Lindalyn Kakadelis and Lee Teague.

Senator Mike Woodard with Lindalyn Kakadelis and Lee Teague.

2022 Poll: ‘The Education Voter is the New Swing Voter’

By Election 2022, News

“The education voter is the new swing voter.” That’s the assessment from Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, of what new poll findings show about the growing power of education at the ballot box. The Alliance commissioned Harris Poll to conduct the survey of 5,000 parents of K-12 schoolchildren nationwide. Full poll findings are coming later this summer–but the Alliance released a sneak peek memo earlier this week to coincide with its 2022 National Charter Schools Conference. Harris Poll queried parents between May 19-31, 2022. Key findings are below.

Education is becoming more important to parents than political party

Parents are very focused on education as they head into the fall–and its importance to them has grown. In fact, more than 8 in 10 parents, or 83%, say education “has become a more important political issue to them than it was in the past.”

Parents who vote in both federal and state/local elections rank education as the second most important issue to them, behind only taxes.

Moreover, parents indicate that education could be even more predictive than political party in deciding how they vote. For instance, 82% say they “would be willing to vote outside their political party based on the candidate’s education platform.”

Here’s the screenshot from the Alliance poll infographic:

Screenshot from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Infographic: “Is the ‘Education Voter’ the New Swing Voter?”

Most parents want more public charter schools

About three in four parents from the Alliance poll say they:

  • “would consider sending their child to a public charter school if one were available in their area”
  • “want more public charter school offerings in their area”
  • “support expanding the number of slots in existing public charter schools in their area”

Read the press release from the Alliance about the polling memo.

Watch the Alliance’s full panel discussion from this week, “Numbers Don’t Lie,” to learn more about polling data on charters and school choice.

 

DPI Announces $6M in Research Funding to Examine Pandemic Learning, Interventions

By News

This week the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced $6 million in funding for new research into pandemic learning. The initiative is a joint effort between DPI and UNC-Chapel Hill’s NC Collaboratory. Funds come from a General Assembly appropriation. Research will focus on understanding the pandemic’s impact on students and schools. In addition, research should identify effective interventions.

In a press release from DPI, Superintendent Truitt said, “This joint effort will be instrumental for policymakers as we seek to address the most pressing challenges K-12 students and educators face as a result of the pandemic. More importantly, this research provides a unique opportunity for the K-12 system to harness the research power of North Carolina’s great institutions of higher education.”

Research goals

Project priorities will focus on two key areas, according to the NC Collaboratory:

  • Research into the pandemic’s long-term impacts on student learning (such as effects on the educator workforce, best practices in virtual learning, strategies addressing students’ academic and mental health needs, and more)
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of pandemic interventions (funded by ESSER III dollars)

Research will begin as early as this fall and conclude by October 2024. Learn more about the Request for Proposals here.

Secretary Cardona Announces New National Parent Council

By News

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the formation of a new parent advisory group. Known as the “National Parents and Families Engagement Council,” the group includes a broad swath of education stakeholder groups. For instance, the current group encompasses 14 advocacy organizations that the Department has said will represent public school parents as well as parents from public charter, private, and homeschool backgrounds.

“The Council will help foster a collaborative environment where we can work together to serve the best interest of students and ensure they have the academic and mental health support they need to recover from the pandemic and thrive in the future,” Secretary Cardona said in a press release.

Find the list of groups currently participating in the national parent council here.

Also this week, Superintendent Truitt announced the launch of a parent advisory commission for North Carolina. Superintendent Truitt’s group includes parents from all education sectors–in each of the eight education regions of the state. Read more about that in an earlier Coalition blog post.

Find out more about Secretary Cardona’s new parent council from The 74.

Superintendent Truitt Names Parent Advisory Commission Members

By News

Today Superintendent Truitt announced members of her new Parent Advisory Commission. Comprised of 48 North Carolina parents, the commission will begin meeting this fall. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s press release, the group will share aspirations for public education and feedback on policy. In addition, members will provide parent perspectives and recommendations.

“This commission is focused on giving parents a seat at the table and strengthening parent and family involvement in education,” Sup. Truitt said.

Parent membership by region

The commission represents all sectors of K-12 education. For instance, parent members have children who attend traditional public, public charter, home, and private schools. Sup. Truitt selected six parents from each of the eight education regions using the following criteria:

  • Two parents with children in traditional public schools
  • One parent each with children in public charter, home, and private schools (three parents total)
  • One parent from the largest county in each region

Clearly, interest was high: More than 3,000 parents applied to be commission members. Parents will now serve two-year terms, from 2022 to 2024.

Eight public charter school parents will serve

In total, eight parents will represent public charter schools in North Carolina. Their names are:

  • Tamara Adams (North Central)
  • Beatriz “Betty” Ward (Northeast)
  • Jessica Hofstetter (Piedmont-Triad)
  • Nazila Alimohammadi (Southwest)
  • Jessica Lopez (Southeast)
  • Shawn Wright (Western)
  • Shanna S. Wall (Northwest)
  • Yvette Bell (Sandhills)

Congratulations to these charter parents–and to all of the North Carolina parents who will serve!

Find the full list of commission members on the Parent Advisory Commission website.

Apply for 2022 STOP Awards and the Yass Prize in Education

By News

Are you interested in applying for an award that recognizes your innovation as an educator? If so, consider applying for a 2022 STOP Award. The deadline to apply is July 15. Awards go to education providers whose work is:

  • Sustainable
  • Transformational
  • Outstanding
  • Permissionless

Read more about these ideas here. See the Coalition’s earlier blog post on the STOP Awards. Created by charter school founder and philanthropist Janine Yass, the STOP Awards are a partnership between Forbes and the Center for Education Reform.

$10 million in 2022 awards

Awards for 2022 total $10 million. Moreover, $1 million of this amount will go in a grand prize to the group that most embodies the STOP principles. The Foundation has dubbed this the Yass Prize and is referring to it as the “Pulitzer Prize for Education.” In addition to the Yass Prize, the STOP Foundation will distribute:

  • Four $250,000 awards (finalists)
  • 27 $200,000 awards (semifinalists)
  • 32 $100,000 awards (quarterfinalists)

Apply for a STOP Award here.

Educators from 184 Charter Schools Share Views in NC Teacher Survey

By News
Recently, the Department of Public Instruction released new results from the 2022 NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey. Administered every two years, the survey has been in place since 2002. This year’s survey had a response rate of 92%–a 20-year record. Teachers, principals, and other educators from nearly 2,700 North Carolina public schools, both district and charter, participated in the survey. Among public charter schools, 184 schools met the minimum response threshold; 27 charter schools did not. Among respondents overall, 87% were teachers, 2% were principals, 2% were assistant principals, and 9% were other educators.

According to survey findings, these are the top three conditions that most impact willingness to continue teaching at a school:

  • School leadership (33%)
  • Time during the work day (17%)
  • Managing student conduct (12%)

These are the most important pandemic issues, according to educators’ survey responses:

  • Addressing disparities in student learning (24%)
  • School staffing shortages (15%)
  • Assessing student performance and needs (13%)
  • Social/emotional support for students (12%)
  • Health and safety of teachers and staff (9%)

Screenshot from Infographic: “2022 Highlighted Results, NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey,” NC Department of Public Instruction & Academic Development Institute

Some other key findings:

  • A majority of educators believe students are at least six months behind: 59% of educators say their students are six months to one year behind in their learning.
  • Cyberbullying is pervasive among students, especially in the eyes of principals: Just 36% of principals and 63% of teachers agreed with the statement, “Cyberbullying is not a frequent problem among students” at their district/school.
  • Almost 7 in 10 educators believe students’ emotional and mental health needs have grown–in some cases, substantially: 40% say students’ need for support is “much more than before” while 29% say the need is “somewhat more than before.”

Learn more about the survey findings:

  • See DPI’s press release about the survey here.
  • Find the full survey results here.
  • View the survey infographic here.
  • Read about the survey from WUNC.

Coalition Member Alpha Academy Garners Praise for Enrollment Diversity

By News

Congratulations to Alpha Academy, a Coalition member school! Along with Capitol Encore Academy, Alpha Academy is the subject of a new Fayetteville Observer article. These two charter schools, the only ones in Cumberland County,  have garnered recognition from local media for their diverse student enrollments.

A majority-minority charter school, Alpha Academy opened in 2000. According to the article:

Eugene Slocum, superintendent at Alpha Academy, said the diverse nature of the school helps attract parents who want their children to receive a well-rounded education.

“When you have a school of choice, the choice is not for the school to select the students, but for the parents to select the school,” he said.

As it turns out, many parents are doing just that! Currently, Alpha Academy enrolls around 950 students. Alpha’s first class of high school seniors graduated recently.

Alpha Academy’s Class of 2022 with actor Derek Luke. Photo credit: Fayetteville Observer, June 1, 2022.

Read the full article here. The article was published in partnership with EdNC.

New State Resource Helps Educators Understand Learning Loss

By News

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) recently launched a new initiative to help educators understand the size and scope of pandemic learning loss. The brainchild of DPI’s Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration (OLR), the initiative encompasses a new blog–called “Research & Recovery Roundup” — as well as a series of monthly white papers.

Here’s the summary from OLR:

Through these blog posts and whitepapers series, each month we will focus on a key finding or student group to explore in more detail and use existing literature to identify and propose key evidenced-based interventions intended to help those students combat the impact of lost instructional time and accelerate learning.

OLR, a relatively new office, was established by State Superintendent Catherine Truitt. Its preliminary report came out in March 2022 and sought to quantify just how much learning students lost during the pandemic. Findings are the result of a partnership with the SAS Institute.

What’s next?

According to OLR:

Future white-papers will describe subgroup trends, present additional analysis, and provide evidence-based policy recommendations. See here for OLR’s preliminary report to the General Assembly. The final technical report is due December 2022.

The State Board of Education will hear an update on this effort at its June meeting later this week.