A bill moving through the North Carolina General Assembly that aggressively addresses the long standing and now critical problem of failing public schools. House Bill 1080, sponsored by Rep. Rob Bryan, Rep. Cecil Brockman and Rep. John Bradford offers three ways to address the very serious problem and to offer hope to hundreds of kids stuck in failing schools.

  1. It creates pilot programs in five schools selected by the State Board of Education, contracting with operators with a proven record of success to runt he schools in an “Achievement School District” They have 5 years to improve student performance.
  2. A local school board could opt instead to allow the school to participate in another pilot program which would bring in a principal with a proven record of success to lead the “turnaround” of the school. This pilot would apply to five schools statewide.
  3. Up to three continually low performing schools would be lumped together into an innovation zone, with high quality staff and the freedom and flexibility normally afforded a charter school.

The House K-12 Education Committee heard the bill yesterday. We learned that there are over 500 failing schools across the state impacting thousands of kids everyday, only 35% of African/American students are performing at grade level and are particularly harmed by being stuck in a failing school, guardrails for the pilot programs will be in place to ensure accountably and success.

Many recognize the need and urgency to help kids now, committed to change and innovation, leading to ensure every kid has a chance. Others, like the teacher union and some legislators seem to resist a monumental opportunity even though it’s only a handful of schools in the pilot programs, accepting the status quo and allowing students to continue to languish in failing schools.

HB 1080 passed the House Education Committee 18-11. The bill now moves to the full House where we expect debate and votes next Weds and Thursday.

This is how members of the House Education Committee voted:

Voting YES:

Rep. John Bradford (R-Mecklenberg)

Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenberg)

Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow)

Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin)

Rep, Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes)

Rep. Ed Hanes (D-Forsyth)

Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford)

Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union)

Rep. Frank Iler (R-Brusnwick)

Rep. Bert Jones (R-Rockingham)

Rep. Chris Malone (R-Wake)

Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus)

Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance)

Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln)

Rep. Skip Stam (R-Wake)

Rep. Scott Stone (R-Mecklenberg)

Rep. Rena Turner (R-Iredell)

Rep. Chris Whitmire (R-Transylvania)

Voting NO:

Rep. John Ager (D-Buncombe)

Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe)

Rep. Rosa Gill (D-Wake)

Rep. Kyle Hall (R-Stokes)

Rep. Pat Hurley (R-Randolph)

Rep. Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus)

Rep. J.H. Langdon (R-Johnston)

Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham)

Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange)

Rep. Bobbie Richardson (D-Franklin)

Rep. Chris Sgro (D-Guilford)

Absent from the meeting:

Rep. Trica Cotham (D-Mecklenberg)

Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-Wilson)

Rep. Charles Graham (D-Robeson)

Rep. Howard J. Hunter III (D-Bertie)

Rep. Danny Lambeth (R-Forsyth)