Dear BEST NC, You Want to Expand The FIT Initiative, But Where Do You Stand on These Vital Issues?

BEST NC is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of business leaders committed to improving North Carolina’s education system through policy and advocacy – from http://best-nc.org/.

As business leaders, we understand how critical talent management is to the success of any organization. Currently, North Carolina lacks a talent plan that will successfully recruit and retain excellent educators from pre-k through post-graduate – http://best-nc.org/the-imperative/. 

If you were to read posts on this blog concerning BEST NC, you would quickly ascertain that this teacher looks at them as a group that is trying to “transform” North Carolina’s schools through business-based initiatives.

You would see that they seem to label education as an “industry” and not necessarily a public good.

bestnc

BEST NC has been a presence since 2014 and possibly their biggest “public” splash into public education was the new principal pay plan that really has not been that well-received. They also held a closed-doors legislative “retreat” with Michelle Rhee, whose very policies are antagonistic to a great number of public school advocates.

In reality, BEST NC has not publicly or willingly entered the conversations on a variety of issues that many in public education advocacy would like to hear their views on.

It does state in their “mission statement” above that part of your charge is to ADVOCATE. And advocating means being up front and out loud concerning issues that truly affect public education.

They are now advancing with an open application to their FIT initiative – that’s First in Teaching. Rumor has it they are looking to add 100 teachers from NC to their cohort.

So, I would challenge anyone who is thinking about applying for the FIT program to ask BEST NC where they specifically stand on the following in hopes that they may clarify how they might really help “transform” education in North Carolina.

  1. NC is one of a few states that has a school performance grading system to measure schools. Only North Carolina has its grading system measuring achievement more than growth (80/20). Should that formula stay the same or should it be altered to allow growth to have a greater influence than achievement?
  2. Do you believe that NC should reduce testing? Does that mean reduce the number of tests that students take?
  3. Do you believe that teachers should have graduate degree pay increases?
  4. Do you believe that a teacher should have career-status and due-process rights?
  5. Should NC increase its per-pupil expenditure to the levels before the recession adjusted for inflation?
  6. Do you believe in performance bonuses, merit pay, and other “incentives” for teachers and schools?
  7. Do you agree with the intent of bills such as SB599 and other “teacher recruitment” efforts?
  8. Did you support the May 16th March for Students in Raleigh attended by over %20 of the NC teaching force?
  9. Do you think that the voucher system should have more oversight since it is the least transparent in the nation?
  10. Will you ever engage in dialogue with NCAE?
  11. Do you support the current efforts of Mark Johnson?
  12. Do you believe that schools need more teacher assistants?
  13. Do you believe schools need more nurses, social workers and counselors?
  14. What is your stance on class-size chaos?
  15. Do you think that veteran teachers have been treated fairly?
  16. Do you believe that teachers should be the only state employees who no longer have longevity pay?
  17. Do you support the Innovative School District’s design and selection process?
  18. Do you believe that poverty is a major force in the lives of students and their ability to learn in school?
  19. What is your position on HB514 – the Municipality Charter School Bill?
  20. Do you believe that the charter school cap should remain lifted in NC?
  21. Do you support arming teachers in schools?

And remember that silence might be the loudest answer one can give.