“All schools are equal. Some are just more equal than others.”
– A rewording of one of the change commandments from Animal Farm by George Orwell.
If you want yet another example of how the NCGA seems to treat some better than others then just look at a recent provision in the proposed budget of the North Carolina Senate led by Phil Berger.
If a provision in the Senate budget makes it into the final spending plan for the next two years, North Carolina’s early college high schools could be facing a reduction in the funding they receive from the state.
Little noticed when the Senate budget passed its chamber, the provision would phase out the supplemental funding the state provides so-called Cooperative Innovative High Schools. The state has 133 of them, 90 of which have early college in their name. Early college high schools allow students to earn college credits while working towards graduation and are paired with institutions of higher education in the area, most often community colleges.
The supplemental funds received by Cooperative Innovative High Schools are above and beyond the traditional funding that schools in North Carolina receive. These schools will still get that traditional funding, but will no longer receive the extra money that, for some schools, enables them to survive.
133 schools (90 Early Colleges) that have been established entities that could be seriously jeopardized. And these schools span the state – urban and rural.
If one looked at a list of these Cooperative Innovative High Schools , then he/she would see that most all of them are housed in community college campuses, four college campuses, and universities.
Three of them actually have the word “STEM” in the school name.
The irony is deep here. While the NCGA gives more license to unregulated charter school growth that potentially hurts local traditional schools in multiple ways, it is proposing to weaken some very effective institutions that actually help to create the very bridges that many students travel to successful careers. Think of the incredible relationships between school districts and local colleges and universities that have been leveraged for the good of all parties for years.
Now think of the amount of money that has never been used but remains in the coffers of an opaque voucher system that has not shown the rewards that so many in the NCGA bragged about years ago.
And these Cooperative Innovative High Schools do work well. In fact, a majority of them have received an “A” for their school performance grade.
That’s 72% to be exact.
Funny how for a state that actually has an office for a Deputy Superintendent for Innovation at DPI, that loves those school performance grades, and that champions “school choice,” it is considering withdrawing funds from these very successful schools – successful innovative schools.
Actually, it’s not that funny.