News today that HB377 (test reduction) passed through the house chamber of the NCGA is another indication of the the shift in power that has occurred in the General Assembly since the last election.
Actually, that testing bill is not the only one to gain some traction.
There are multiple bills with support concerning calendar flexibility for school systems.
There are bills that hope to curb the catastrophic stigma surrounding the school performance grading system: keeping the 15-point grading system, giving growth a higher weight, etc.
There are bills to restore Masters Degree pay for teachers.
There is talk of putting the school construction bond on the next ballot.
Even the state superintendent wants to give a 5% salary increase to all teachers.
So why now in 2019? Why not in 2018?
Easy. Both chambers of the NCGA are no longer veto-proof. The swell that began last year and manifested itself in a variety of public school advocacy and grassroots work helped to swing many districts to pro-public education candidates.
And now the pro-public education governor can use a veto that can actually stick. Furthermore, a budget can not be passed through the nuclear option.
All of those issues have been identified and talked about loudly and fully for years. That bond could have been put on last year’s ballot. Salary increases to veteran teachers could have been given in years past. Restoring graduate degree pay could have been done earlier as well as calendar flexibility and eliminating the school performance grading system.
All of those representatives in Raleigh know that election season is never really over. To continue to ignore public schools as in years past can not serve their political purposes now.
So, how much of this is really veneer and how much is solid oak? That remains to be seen, but what is clear is that lawmakers in Raleigh will have to listen to teachers one way or the other.
May 16th last year showed that.
May 1st this year will be even bigger.