Education: Bill Fletcher February 2019 Newsletter

Wake County, NC – Thoughts for January 2019 from Bill Fletcher, Member of the Wake County Board of Education.

Bill’s Legislative Goals for 2019

Let’s take a fresh approach in the Legislature this year. Let’s agree on some simple principles and then set about enacting laws and budgets in support of those principles! Are you ready?

NC Constitution provides for a state-funded system of public schools. Fund it.

  •   Stop and reverse the systematic transfer of state financial responsibilities to county budgets
  •   Recognize the impact of inflation on the cost of district-purchased goods and services
  •   Completely fund retirement benefits for state employees. Stop making LEAs to use property taxes tomake up for the state underfunding.
  •   More than 100 districts must use county property taxes to hire required personnel
  •   More than 100 LEAs must use local property taxes to pay competitive salaries
  •   Fully fund K-12 operating budget. Then counties can pay for their capital needs with property taxes rather than augmenting inadequate state budgets.

Recognize that teachers are the solution, not the problem

  •   Support teachers as professionals with professional salaries and benefits
  •   Restore professional development funding for courses and substitute stipends
  •   Restore retirement benefits for new hires

Recognize that the impact of poverty on health care, nutrition, personal educational resources & opportunities, family stability and adverse childhood experiences embodies the root causes of poor academic performance.

  •   Allocate sufficient state positions for school counselors and social workers to meet national standards in all LEAs and schools. Give LEAs flexibility to utilize resources when and where needed by the students.
  •   Allocate 1 teacher for every 17 students (the 2015 formula) and allow principals and LEA leaders to deploy as required to best serve their students. No state mandated class size limits K-12.

Recognize that principals are in the best position to leverage resources to produce student academic outcomes

  •  Give principals authority to deploy state and local resources to best serve the students in their building.

Recognize that standardized multiple choice bubble sheet tests do not measure what employers want

  •   Evaluate student soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.
  •   Consider standards-based evaluation systems
  •   If parent satisfaction is sufficient accountability for Charters and Vouchers, why is it not for public schools?

Wake Develops First Dress Code

Teaching children, teens and young adults to make good decisions regarding their attire is among the objectives of the first ever student dress code being developed by the school board. “Wear clothes appropriate for your workspace” is the expectation. The new policy will put the responsibility to build common expectations of what is appropriate attire in our schools on school staffs and students.

Factoid #46: Wake Caps 21 Schools

Uneven growth continues in Wake County. This year the area west of Davis Drive added 1400 students to a series of schools already severely crowded. One solution was to “cap” the enrollment at most schools and tell newcomers that “their school would be farther away, but we’ll take you there on a yellow bus.” The K-3 class-size mandate is contributing significantly to crowded schools.

Parent chats (except on holidays)

1st Thursday – 1 PM
Cary Chamber, 315 N Academy St., Cary

3rd Monday – 11 AM
Caribou Coffee shop, 109 SW Maynard Rd., Cary

Bill Fletcher school || Voice Mail: 919-694-8843 || Mobile: 919-880-5301

Story by Bill Fletcher, Member Wake County Board of Education. Photos by Brett Levin.