NC ends tenure, master’s degree pay hike

North Carolina teachers won’t get a raise if they earn a master’s degree, under legislation signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican. The bill also eliminates tenure and freezes pay for the fifth time in sixth years.

North Carolina is believed to be the first state to eliminate the automatic pay bump for earning an advanced degree.

North Carolina teachers are pursuing jobs in South Carolina, says union leader Charles Smith. ”A six-year teacher is still getting paid the same as a first-year teacher.”

Enrollment is projected to grow rapidly in North Carolina with an added 800,000 students by 2030, notes Matthew Ladner on Jay Greene’s blog. Legislators have expanded school choice options for low- and moderate-income students and special-needs children, but per-pupil funding may not enough to “spur new private school supply,” writes Ladner.

Fordham: New science standards get a C

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) deserve a C grade, concludes a Fordham evaluation. The new standards are “clearly superior” science standards in 16 states and the PISA framework, but “clearly inferior” to standards in 12 states, the District of Columbia and the NAEP and TIMSS frameworks.

Fordham gives an A to California and D.C. and an A- grade to Massachusetts, Indiana, South Carolina and Virginia, as well as NAEP and TIMSS. Wisconsin, North Dakota and Montana have the worst science standards, according to Fordham’s analysis.

The states with subpar science standards would be “far better off if they Xeroxed (and faithfully implemented) South Carolina’s excellent science standards or if they constructed new ones around the commendable assessment frameworks of TIMSS and NAEP,” Education Gadfly suggests.

Teacher suspended for stomping on flag

A high school teacher in South Carolina  has been placed on long-term administrative leave on charges he threw a U.S. flag on the floor and stepped on it in a lesson on symbols, reports The Daily Caller.

Scott Compton, an English teacher at Chapin High School in Chapin, S.C., repeated the act in three classes, reports WIS-TV.

“He drew a couple of symbols, like one of them was a cross, and he said, ‘What does this represent,’ and everybody said, ‘Christianity,’” (parent Michael) Copeland explained to WIS.

“Then he proceeds to take down the American flag, and said, ‘This is a symbol, but it’s only a piece of cloth. It doesn’t mean anything,’ and then he throws it down on the floor and then stomps on it, repeatedly,” Copeland continued.

According to Copeland’s daughter, the teacher told students there would be no consequences, because “it’s just a piece of cloth that doesn’t mean anything.”

Perhaps the teacher meant to say that he couldn’t be arrested for stepping on the flag — or the cross. But there are consequences for angering people by disrespecting symbols they honor.

How strong are teachers’ unions?

Hawaii’s teachers’ union is the strongest in the nation, followed by Oregon, Montana and Pennsylvania, according to Fordham’s analysis. Arizona has the weakest teachers’ unions, followed by Florida and South Carolina.

Lawless

In its zeal to push Common Core Standards on all the states, Arne Duncan’s Education Department is “pretending that three laws do not mean what they clearly say,” writes columnist George Will. He cites the Pioneer Institute’s report, The Road to a National Curriculum, by three former department officials.

The 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act – No Child Left Behind is its ninth iteration – said “nothing in this act” shall authorize any federal official to “mandate, direct, or control” a state’s, local educational agency’s or school’s curriculum.

The General Education Provisions Act of 1970 stipulates that “no provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize” any federal agency or official “to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction” or selection of “instructional materials” by “any educational institution or school system.”

The 1979 law establishing the Education Department forbids it from exercising “any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum” or “program of instruction” of any school or school system. The ESEA as amended goes further: No funds provided to the Education Department “may be used…to endorse, approve, or sanction any curriculum designed to be used in” grades K-12.

The department has used Race to the Top funding and No Child Left Behind waivers to pressure states to adopt the new standards, the Pioneer report charges. The effect will be a national curriculum.

“As the regulatory state’s micromanagement of society metastasizes, inconvenient laws are construed — by those the laws are supposed to restrain — as porous and permissive, enabling the executive branch to render them nullities,” Will concludes.

Update: When South Carolina legislators considered rescinding the state’s adoption of Common Core Standards, Duncan blasted the idea. He drew a lot of flak for that. In response to Utah’s threatened withdrawal, he wrote a letter agreeing that it’s the state’s decision.

No pressure

The U.S. Department of Education is not pressuring states to adopt Common Core, claims Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who goes on to denounce a South Carolina proposal to block implementation. Yesterday, a state Senate subcommittee sent the bill to the full committee with an unfavorable recommendation.

In short, resistance is futile for any state that wants federal grants or waivers, responds Greg Forster on Jay Greene’s blog. He includes the perfect video:

Cato @ Liberty headline: ‘Say I Threatened You Again and You’ll Really Be Sorry’

Proficient in Texas, but not in Missouri

Most states don’t match federal proficiency standards for elementary math and reading, a new federal report concludes.

Eight states have raised standards in recent years.  South Carolina has lowered its standards, though the new superintendent pledges to raise the bar.

The National Center for Education Statistics compares state requirements to the National Assessment of Education Progress.

In fourth-grade reading, for example, 35 states set passing bars that are below the “basic” level on the national NAEP exam. “Basic” means students have a satisfactory understanding of material, as opposed to “proficient,” which means they have a solid grasp of it. Massachusetts is the only state to set its bar at “proficient”—and that was only in fourth- and eighth-grade math.

The report shows huge disparities among the standards states set when their tests are converted to the NAEP’s 500-point scale. In eighth-grade reading, for example, there is a 60-point difference between Texas, which has the lowest passing bar, and Missouri, which has the highest, according to the data. In eighth-grade math, there is a 71-point spread between the low, Tennessee, and the high, Massachusetts.

A Tennessee eighth grader could be considered proficient without being able to read a graph, while a Massachusetts student meeting the proficiency benchmark “would likely be able to solve a math problem using algebra and geometry.”

 

States may un-adopt Common Core

New Hampshire, Minnesota and South Carolina legislators are considering bills that would block or reverse the adoption of Common Core Standards, reports Curriculum Matters.

Ty’Sheoma needs choices

Without school choice, Ty’Sheoma Bethea will stay in her second-rate school, writes Jeanne Allen, who runs the Center for Education Reform, in the Washington Post.

Ty’Sheoma is the young lady who sat with first lady Michelle Obama when President Obama spoke to Congress Tuesday night. She had reached the president through a letter about her school, the ceiling that leaks, the walls that shake when trains go by, the poor education it provides.

Ty’Sheoma lives in Dillon, South Carolina, which spends $8,700 — more than the national average — to keep her in that crumbling school. Her junior high has a student-to-staff ratio of 9 to 1, notes Allen.  But it doesn’t seem to make a difference.
Ty’Sheoma’s parents have no choice: There are no charter alternatives in Dillon; there are no vouchers or “opportunity scholarships” that would let them consider a private school.  There’s no pressure on the district-run public schools to improve. “If Ty’Sheoma had a choice, maybe we wouldn’t know her at all,” writes Allen.