From the desk of Senator Joyce Waddell

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee’s Education Proposals

Joyce Waddell

CHARLOTTE, NC – On May 1, Senator Joyce Waddell joined members of the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee to submit their legislative report. The purpose of the Committee is to review educational institutions in North Carolina and make recommendations to the North Carolina General Assembly to improve public education from kindergarten through higher education.

Here is a summary of the Committee’s legislative recommendations:

Extend Pilot/Virtual Charter Schools – This legislation would extend the virtual charter school pilot program for four more school years. In 2014, the State Board of Education created a virtual charter school program to serve students in kindergarten through high school. North Carolina Connections Academy and the North Carolina Virtual Academy opened in the 2015-16 school year. Under current legislation, they will close at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Although the student achievement outcomes have not been high, the Committee recommends extending the program to the 2022-23 School Year for a reassessment.

Cross-training DPI Licensure Section Staff – This act would direct the section chief of the licensure section of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to establish a cross-training program for employees of the section to improve timely processing of educator licensor applications. There have been concerns raised over the past years by teachers and local school administrative units about the length of time it takes for DPI to issue educator licenses to applicants.

Medical Education & Residency Study – This legislation would study medical education and medical residency programs in the State. The Joint Subcommittee on Medical Education and Medical Residency Programs submitted a report which provided valuable information on how North Carolina allocates funds to address the short- and long-term health care needs of residents.

Revise Cursive and Multiplication Report – This act would clarify and make permanent the reporting requirement on cursive writing and multiplication tables. A state law was passed in 2013 to ensure that public schools are teaching cursive writing. In last year’s state budget, the Department of Public Instruction had to report how school districts were obeying the law. According to the report, 93 percent of elementary schools stated that they taught cursive at least occasionally; 94 percent indicated that they taught multiplication tables weekly. The legislation would require annual reporting to learn which districts are not in compliance with the law.

“I am looking forward to the short legislative session to support legislation that meets the needs of our State,” said Senator Joyce Waddell.