Parents Group Decries Bill That Abolishes Opportunity Scholarships PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Friday, 29 May 2020 09:26
Mike Long, President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, decried a newly introduced bill in the N.C. House that seeks to abolish the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP).


“Our state is embroiled in a once-in-a-century global pandemic. People’s bank accounts are being impacted every day, especially those of working-class families in North Carolina. And yet, in the middle of this crisis, a small group of House lawmakers want to take away the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which currently enables 12,283 students in our state to get the education they deserve,” Long said. “Outrageously, this effort to end Opportunity Scholarships is hidden in a broader bill that seeks to respond to recent court decisions on the Leandro case providing ‘a sound basic education’ to all NC children. Our message to sponsors of the bill: You cannot to take away educational opportunity freely chosen by thousands of families. You cannot advance Leandro policy on the backs of these students.”


Long added, “Under this provision, the 12,283 current scholarship students can keep their scholarships, but we are well aware that this is the first step in Governor Roy Cooper’s plan to eliminate the program completely. We do not believe it is written this way, in goodwill, but as a way to tiptoe, politically, toward current scholarship family's purse strings and rip it away from them when they get the chance.”


OSP provides low-income and working-class, tax-paying families in North Carolina with a private school scholarship of up to $4,200 to send their child to the school of their choice. Today, 12,283 K-12 students in our state benefit from an Opportunity Scholarship. According to an N.C. State University study, the median household income for new OSP recipients (adjusted for inflation) is $16,213 and $15,000 for renewal recipients. HB 1129 would stop any new students from joining the program and begin the eventual draw down of all Opportunity Scholarships.


“Since the birth of OSP in 2013, parents and families in our state have been under attack by the education elite class, who believes they are better positioned to make education decisions for children than their parents,” Long added. “This education establishment, including politicians in our state, simply is not listening. Since OSP was passed in 2013, tens of thousands of families have applied for the program, and nearly 40,000 scholarships have been awarded or renewed for children from low-income and working-class families in our state. Furthermore, thousands of new families would lose access to the program in the future. To the legislators eager to sign-on to a bill to abolish this program, my question is simple: Why?”


“The best word to describe this bill: Hypocrisy. All of the sponsors are Democrats, including Rep. Graig Meyer who himself attended a private high school in Ohio. Why was school choice suitable for Rep. Meyer but not hard-working, low-income families in our state? Perhaps this group of lawmakers is working to make good on Gov. Cooper’s comments that the Opportunity Scholarship Program ‘is an expense that we should stop in our state,’ and that he ‘felt better just eliminating the funding.’ It is shameful, and we call on House leaders to stand up to Gov. Cooper and his anti-school choice allies to block HB 1129.”
The following are sponsors of HB 1129 and the number of current Opportunity Scholarship students and applicants in the counties they represent:
Last Updated on Friday, 29 May 2020 09:28
Education Equity Task Force Members Announced PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Friday, 29 May 2020 09:01
Governor Roy Cooper announced appointments to the DRIVE Task Force. Established through Executive Order 113, the task force is focused on improving equity and inclusion in education and will submit a report to the Governor with recommendations to reach that goal. 


“North Carolina is committed to living up to our responsibility to deliver a quality education to every student in every county,” said Governor Cooper. “This group of experts knows how to tackle the inequities across our state in order to ensure quality education.”


The task force is comprised of parents, educators, administrators, education advocates, representatives of state and local government, representatives from the University of North Carolina system and North Carolina Community College System, and employers with a presence in North Carolina. The Hunt Institute, an affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, will provide facilitation and research support for the task force. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the Task Force to Develop a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education:


Dr. Anthony Graham of Greensboro as Chair and as a UNC System representative. Graham is the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Graham has collaborated with educators to create initiatives and programs that increase the number of classroom teachers, especially ethnic and racial minority teachers, who enter the teaching profession in under-resourced and hard-to-staff rural and urban schools. These programs include the North Carolina A&T Rural Teaching Fellows Program, the North Carolina A&Teach STEM Scholars Program, and the North Carolina A&T Teacher Residency Program. 


Dr. Lisa Mabe Eads of King as a North Carolina Community College System representative. Eads is the Director of Academic Programs for the North Carolina Community College System. She also teaches as an online adjunct in the Human Development and Family Studies Department and the Specialized Education Services/School of Education Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  


N. King Prather of Cary as a member at-large. Prather previously served as senior vice president and General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. He serves on the Board of Directors for Higher Education Works and was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine for Leadership and Service to the State of North Carolina. 


J. Wendell Hall of Ahoskie as a member At-Large. Hall serves on the North Carolina State Board of Education. Hall served as the Interim Superintendent for Northampton County Schools, Warren County Schools, and Weldon City Schools. He also served as President of the NC School Boards and Association and the NC Association of School Administrators. 


Aliyah Abdur-Rahman of Durham as a parent or guardian of North Carolina elementary, middle, or high school aged students. Abdur-Rahman is a senior fellow for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University. Abdur-Rahman also serves on the board of Maureen Joy Charter School.  


Dr. Claudia Sandoval of Waxhaw as a parent or guardian of North Carolina elementary, middle, or high school aged students. Dr. Sandoval works for Sandy Hook Promise as a Training & Project Coordinator. She also serves as a parent member of the Union County Public School Safety Committee and on the Board of the Faith & Hope Community Center serving low-income Latino communities in Monroe.  


Dr. Anita W. Alpenfels of Pinehurst as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Alpenfels is the executive officer for human resources with Moore County Schools. She also serves on North Carolina State Board of Education Advisory Board on Requests for Exception from Teacher Licensing Requirements as well as North Carolina State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics. 


Sabrina Marie Peacock of Greensboro as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Ms. Peacock has over 27 years of experience as an educator and has been a proud member of North Carolina Association of Educators since her first year of teaching. She also has received the 2020 NEA/NCAE Teaching in Excellence Award and has been a finalist for Guilford County Schools Teacher of the Year twice. 


Guy Ymir Hill of Coats as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Hill has taught 9th and 10th grade English at Triton high school since 1999. He is also a member of the UNC & Duke Area Studies Teacher Advisory Council and was awarded Marvin R. Pittman Champion of Education Award from the NC Department of Public Instruction in 2018.  


Ricky Hurtado of Mebane as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Hurtado is co-founder and co-executive Director of LatinxEd where he seeks to build pathways to educational, professional, and civic engagement opportunities for a new generation of Latinx leaders in North Carolina. Hurtado is a member of the United Way of North Carolina, MyFutureNC, NC Child Board of Directors, and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Community Leadership Council.  


Alexandra-Emmanuelle Zagbayou of Durham as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Zagbayou currently serves as executive director of Student U in Durham. She serves on the boards of United Way of the Greater Triangle, DataWorks, the Beautiful Project, and Made in Durham.  


Ashley Mone' Kazouh of Raleigh as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Kazouh is a policy analyst at the Public School Forum of North Carolina. Prior to joining the Public School Forum, she facilitated social justice workshops for students as an Americorps member in Memphis, Tennessee and was a Program Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters.  


Kristy Denise Moore of Durham as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Moore has been an educator in Durham for over 16 years as a preschool and first grade teacher. Moore served as president of the Durham Association of Educators for four years, then transitioned into the role of district mentor for new teachers. She now serves as the State Vice President of the North Carolina Association of Educators since 2016. 


Matthew Ellinwood of Chapel Hill as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Ellinwood currently is the director of the education and law project at the North Carolina Justice Center. Since 2010 he has led education policy-related government relations efforts at the North Carolina General Assembly that promote opportunity, equity, learning, and college and career readiness for at risk students in North Carolina. Ellinwood also serves on the Legal Aid Education Task Force, the Legislative Section of Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights North Carolina Bar Committee. 


Zack Hawkins of Durham as a representative from within state and local government. Hawkins currently represents Durham in North Carolina House District 31. He serves on the Full Appropriations, Appropriations, Capital, Redistricting, Energy, and Public Utilities committees and co-chairs the House Broadband working group in the House. Hawkins has served his community as a science teacher in the Durham Public School system and as a nonprofit and higher education leader. 


Deanna Townsend-Smith of Raleigh as a member at-large. Townsend-Smith is the director of board operations and policy for the State Board of Education. She has served as a Teacher Development Specialist, a New Teacher Coach, and an Assistant Principal. She has also been a member of Skill Path Total Access and the National Staff Development Council.  


Lorena R. Gonzalez of Durham as a North Carolina Health and Human Services representative. Gonzalez is a senior manager at the early education branch of the Department of Health and Human Services. She is also a member of the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the National Head Start Association. 


Rebecca A. Planchard of Durham as a North Carolina Health and Human Services representative. Planchard is the Senior Early Childhood Policy Advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services. She also advises the Office of the Secretary for early childhood health, child welfare, and early education. Planchard is the lead on the state’s Early Childhood Action Plan, and also directs the state’s Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS). 


Dr. Van O'Dell Dempsey III of Wilmington as a UNC System representative. Dr. Dempsey currently serves as the dean of the Watson College of Education at UNC-Wilmington. He previously served as vice president for institutional assessment and effectiveness at Fairmont State University. 


Dr. Debra Stewart of Raleigh as a member at-large. Stewart currently serves as a Senior Fellow at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and as President Emerita of the Council of Graduate Schools. She serves on several boards, including the Educational Testing Service Board; the International Advisory Board of the Freie Universitat Berlin; the International Board of the ITMO University in St. Petersburg, Russia; NASFA; and the Association of International Educators. 


Dr. Cherrel Miller Dyce of Elon as a member at-large. Dyce is an associate professor and director of intercultural education in the School of Education at Elon University. With twenty years of experience in social justice work, she is a fierce social justice advocate and K-20 researcher, mentor, and social theorist. 


Dr. Leslie Anne Locklear of Red Springs as a member at-large. Leslie currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the First Americans Teacher Education program and First Americans Educational Leadership program at UNC-Pembroke. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the North Carolina Native American Youth Organization Adult Advisory Committee. 


Dr. Kimberly Anne Evans of Raleigh as a North Carolina Department of Public Instruction representative. Dr. Evans currently serves as a program coordinator for the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She is a veteran educator with over 15 years’ experience in instructing and teaching students from diverse backgrounds and communities.  


Pastor James D. Gailliard of Rocky Mount as a representative from within state and local government. Pastor Gailliard serves at the Word Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount. He also currently serves in the North Carolina General Assembly as a Representative from House District 25. He is a participating member on the Appropriations, Appropriations-Education, Education K-12, Health and the House Select Committee on School Safety House committees. 


Dr. Chance W. Lewis of Concord as a UNC System representative. Lewis is a Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is also the Executive Director of the UNCC Urban Education Collaborative which is publishing a new generation of research on improving urban schools. 


Alfred Mays of Apex as an at-large representative. Mays is the program officer for Science Education and Diversity at Burroughs Welcome Fund. He also has served as regional director for the North Carolina Model Teacher Education Consortium, and State Program Director within the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction. 


Princess Brown of Raleigh as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Brown currently serves as the communications and engagement coordinator at Best NC. As part of her role, Brown manages TeachNC, which employs both a broad media campaign and a robust web platform to support teacher candidates in their quest to become a teacher. 


Dr. Leroy L. Wray, Jr. of Charlotte as a UNC system representative. Wray is the Teacher Recruitment and Retention liaison for the University of North Carolina at Asheville and a Lecture Professor at several universities in North Carolina. He is the president and founder of the Prodigal Son Foundation and serves on the North Carolina PTA board as committee chair of male engagement.  


Todd Johnson of Wadesboro as a representative from within state and local government. Johnson currently serves in the North Carolina Senate from District 35. He serves on the Appropriations on Education/Higher Education, Education/Higher Education, Commerce and Insurance and Pensions and Retirement and Aging Committees. He also serves on the NC Child Fatality Task Force.  


Dr. Eric C. Bracy of Dunn as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Bracy has been the Superintendent of Sampson County Schools since February 2014. Previously, he had been superintendent for five and a half years at Northampton County Schools in Jackson. He began his career in education there as a fourth-grade teacher, later becoming an assistant principal and then a principal of elementary and middle schools. He also served as an administrator for Durham Public Schools. 


Creighton P. Blackwell of Morrisville as an employer with a presence in North Carolina. Blackwell currently serves as the Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Community Engagement at Coastal Federal Credit Union. Creighton serves on the Carolina For the Kids Foundation, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Wake Technical College Foundation and serves as the Executive Board Chairperson for the NC Council on Economic Education. He has also been awarded the Triangle Business Journal’s inaugural Corporate Philanthropy Award for his outstanding community and philanthropic work. 


Eric E. Sanchez of Youngsville as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Sanchez is the co-founder and Executive Director of Henderson Collegiate. He is a fellow and advisor for Relay Graduate School of Education and a portfolio member for the Emerging Charter Management Organization Fund. 
Last Updated on Friday, 29 May 2020 09:05
UNC Systems Names 2020-21 Presidential Scholars PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 26 May 2020 13:40

UNC System names three NC graduates as 2020-21 Presidential Scholars


CHAPEL HILL, NC – The University of North Carolina System Interim President Bill Roper announces that three recent UNC System graduates will serve as Presidential Scholars for the 2020-21 academic year. Presidential Scholars serve a one-year appointment and provide a wide range of professional functions for the UNC System Office. The scholars will interact with the president, his senior leadership and members of the UNC Board of Governors, and contribute and work in areas that include education, public policy, research and data trends that affect higher education.


“The scholars earn valuable experience in preparation for promising careers in public leadership and provide key assistance to the UNC System,” Dr. Roper said. “The program has been a great success, and we are proud of each of these scholars for this great achievement. We anticipate a great working relationship with them in the coming year.”


Scholars were selected from among 2020’s UNC System graduates. Each of the applicants demonstrated leadership skills, intellectual curiosity and a strong interest in higher education and public service. The Scholars program goes beyond higher education and career development, exposing participants to the ideals of public service to the state. Scholars see firsthand how education legislation and university policy affect current students and state residents.


This year’s scholars class includes:


Annalee Banks

Western Carolina University

Bachelor of Science in History

Bachelor of Science in Political Science

Certificate in Public History


Liz Chung

University of North Carolina at Asheville

Bachelor of Arts in Economics

Minor in Mathematics


Najawa Huntley

North Carolina A&T State University

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Minor in Spanish


As the System Office welcomes this new group of Presidential Scholars, it simultaneously bids farewell to last year’s class. The UNC System wishes to thank Robert Boone, Alexis Landrum and Katharine Shriver for their contributions over the past year.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2020 13:43

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