NCGA Week in Review

January 29, 2016

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This week, several legislative oversight committees met to discuss the issues concerning education in North Carolina and the Legislative ResearchCommission met to appoint six study committees.

Legislative Research Commission

The Legislative Research Commission, chaired by Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), met on Thursday, January 29 2016 to approve six new studycommittees to convene during the interim.

The study committees are:

  • Committee on Access to Public Lands, chaired by Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin), Sen. Buck Newton (R-Wilson)
  • Committee on Savings Reserve Account, chaired by Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) and Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake)
  • Committee on Municipal Districts, chaired by Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) and Rep. David Lewis (R-New Hanover)
  • Committee on Homeless Youth, Foster Care and Dependency, chaired by Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Wake) and Rep. Sarah Stevens (R-Surry)
  • Committee on Regulatory Rate Issues and Insurance, chaired by Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) and Rep. Paul Tine (U-Dare)
  • Committee on Barriers to Small Business Access to Credit and Capital, chaired by Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett)

Click here to read more about thecommittees’ charges and membership.

House Select Committee on Achievement School Districts

Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) called a House Select Committee on Achievement School Districts to meet on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. The committeediscussed the current reform strategies for continually low performing schools and reviewed a bill draft for a pilot achievement school district, which maybe considered in the upcoming short session.

Kara McCraw, of the NCGA Research Division, presented a review of legislative history regarding low performing schools to the committee. Current lawprovides a definition for consistently low performing schools and offers four models of assistance for recovery. The four models of assistance a school canrequest are: the transformation model, the restart model, the turnaround model, and finally school closure.

Dr. Nancy Barbour, Director of the District and School Transformation Program (DST), Department of Public Instruction (DPI), provided further insight onprior and present turn around programs administered by DPI. The district and school transformation program works hands-on in 40 elementary, 27 middle, and12 high schools in the state. There are currently 34 charter schools and 547 traditional schools that meet the definition of low performing. DST has seensuccesses through their program, including improved graduation rates in high schools and improved performance in math and science.

The committee will meet again during the interim to continue the discussion and for continued review of the bill draft.

House Select Committee on Education & Strategy Practices

The House Select Committee on Education and Strategy Practices met on Wednesday, January 27 and Thursday, January 28, 2016.

On Wednesday, the committee heard from NC State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson on teacher compensation. Dr. Atkinson proposed a tiered approach,beginning with across the board 10% increases for all teachers. She acknowledged this was a bold recommendation, but one that would strengthen thefoundation of education in the state. She also proposed funding bonuses for local teacher leadership, high quality teachers in low performing schools, andschools exceeding growth.

Clickhereto review Dr. Atkinson’s presentation.

Dr. Trip Stallings, director of policy research for the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, at North Carolina State University, followed with apresentationon compensation and strategic staffing. Dr. Stallings reviewed the lessons the state has learned from Race-to-the-Top, and suggested that pay forperformance should be considered, but should not be the sole incentive for teachers.

The John Locke Foundation provided their insight on teacher turnover, retention and compensation as well. Dr. Terry Stoops suggested that teachers leavethe profession for five reasons: compensation, regulations and policies, poor school working conditions, the labor market, and personal circumstances. Henoted especially high turnover with math and science teachers, early-career teachers and teachers in low-income, high minority and urban schools. Dr. Stoops cited that though it is difficult to compare turnover data to other states, North Carolina has a 14% turnover rate. Unlike Dr. Atkinson, theJohn Locke Foundation does not recommend across the board salary increases because they believe it would promote bad teachers to stay in the profession andlessens the resources available to reward our best teachers.

Click here toreview Dr. Stoops’ presentation.

Brenda Berg, President and CEO of BEST NC, wrapped up Wednesday’s session with apresentationon the business communities’ perspective on compensation and student achievement. She specifically focused on the challenges facing staffing new teachers,noting that the UNC system has seen a 30% decline in applicants to the education program since 2010. Berg suggested that millennials are not attracted tothe teaching profession. She recommended a multifaceted approach of financial and non-financial compensation strategies to make teaching an attractiveprofession.

Thursday’s meeting included a panel of superintendents from across the state who discussed what has and has not worked in their school systems, in regardsto retaining teachers.

The committee also reviewed anoverviewon the NC Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force. The task force was created in 2013 and was tasked with making recommendations on whether tocreate a statewide model of incentive to encourage the recruitment and retention of highly effective educators.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services Subcommittee Early Education Family Support

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, subcommittee on Early Education and Family Support Programs convened on ThursdayJanuary 28, 2016.

The committee heard informational presentations from Deborah Landry, of the NCGA’s Fiscal Research Division, on the three programs that primarily servechildren ages 0-5 in North Carolina:Smart Start,Child Care Subsidies, andNC Pre-K. These need based programs aim to help children and families develop appropriately and be prepared to enter kindergarten. Benefits of these programsinclude higher rates of working single mothers, improved performance in math, language and reading skills, increased vaccinations and overall improvedchild health.

Pam Shue, Director of the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), provided the Division’s perspective on these programs. Shuehighlighted successful outcomes in the state including increased enrollment in higher “star rated” programs, and that the NC Pre-K has been recognized asone of five state pre-k programs that meets all of the benchmarks for a high quality program. The programs are facing some issues, primarily concerninglimited resources and staffing concerns.

Clickhereto see her presentation.

Jennifer Johnson, Assistant Director of DCDEE, provided an overview of child care subsidies and the Child Care Development Fund Reauthorization (CCDBG), afederal act signed by President Obama in 2014. The CCDBG requires that states make changes to both subsidized and non-subsidized child care programs.Compliance with these new requirements will be established through submission and approval of the Child Care and Development Fund State Plans, and are duein March 2016.

See the department’s overview of these changeshere.

Click here for more information about the changes to Federal regulations.

A Look Ahead to Next Week


  • 9:00 am House Subcommittee on Primary Roads System
  • 10:00 am House Subcommittee on Secondary Roads System
  • 11:00 am House Subcommittee on Public Transportation & Aviation
  • 12:00 pm House Subcommittee on Ports and Rails
  • 2:00pm House Select Committee on Strategic Planning & Long Term Funding Solutions


  • 9:30 am Administrative Procedure Oversight
  • 10:00 am Education Oversight
  • 1:30 pm Workforce Development System Reform Oversight


  • 9:30 am State Board of Education Meeting
  • 9:30 am Unemployment Insurance Oversight


  • 9:00 am State Board of Education Meeting
  • 9:00 am Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight
  • 1:00 pm IT Oversight


  • 9:00 am Transportation Oversight


Senior Vice President 

Senior Vice President 

Franklin Freeman
Senior Vice President 

Bo Heath
Senior Vice President 

John Merritt
Senior Vice President 

Senior Vice President 

Kerri Burke
Vice President 

Assistant Vice President 

Sarah Wolfe
Assistant Vice President