But with that, if you would like to illuminate those who are speaking, I'm going to recognize you in turn. But again let’s see if we can get through it, and let’s see if we’ve got groups of things that we can actually drill down versus what to follow up on. Um, the lady over here was first up. Um, actually four seats back. ???, you light's on. Did you intend to have your light on? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Shall I speak? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Please stand up. Grab the mic. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My name is Tyrona ??? Hooker ??? I was a 2012 North Carolina Teacher of the Year -- [SPEAKER CHANGES] You're back on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thought I did something wrong. [laughs] What would I like to talk about is, I was a lateral-entry teacher, so I came into the profession after being in the criminal justice system, and I'm very concerned about the teaching fellows program, the cadet program, those things that are being cut where students realize in high school that they're interested in going into the teaching profession. It's a wonderful opportunity to groom them and to create an environment which allows them to be proud, for scholarships to be received. Um, as we know, teaching we don't make a whole lot, um, but the gift for us is in the results and the outcome. But it would be a wonderful opportunity, so I would just for it to be thought about or reconsidered as to whether or not these programs couldn't be re-instituted in some form or fashion, even if the name needs to change. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's, uh, that’s great. I think if you follow the press, you know, that there was, we were trying to work out with the Senate, I think there's some merit to teaching fellows or or some program like that, a successor program. I'm going back to my consulting days on terms of facilitation techniques. Here's what I'd like for you all to do so we can get to the subjects that we want to prioritize and touch on today. We're gonna count that as Teaching Fellows and Professional Development. So when you get up, think in terms of your first time to speak as spending just a few seconds saying if I talked about nothing else today, it would be about this, and then we'll see based on the group what we should come back to. So I'd like to cover that, uh, under professional development. Ah, the lady right here. Yes, ma'am. And I'm sorry. We've kind of changed the seating chart, so I would, had intended to call you by name, but you're not necessarily sitting where we expected you were going to. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hi, I'm Anne ??? Pittman ??? from Duplin county, and, um, we're doing some amazing things in that county that I hope will continue to be supported, and, um, and at the early-college high school, our high school students in five years, they can graduate with both a high-school diploma and two years of transfer college credits or an AA degree, and all of our teachers are trained very intensively through professional development to teach a different way, and it really works with our population, which includes kids of all different academic backgrounds, and because of the way that we teach, I think it's really working with a high diversity population that has a lot of first-generation college students and a lot of low-income students, so our county has gone district-wide from kindergarten on up -- [SPEAKER CHANGES] If I may interrupt for a minute, how would you distill that into a subject matter that we'll come back to? How would you put that as a subject, under Professional Development? I heard early college, but in terms of trying to distill it into -- [SPEAKER CHANGES] Education reform, perhaps. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's a big ??? . [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, early-college high schools, or North Carolina New Schools Project [SPEAKER CHANGES] I was hopin' you were gonna say that because that's something I wanted to touch with you all on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So, an early-college high school, hopefully that we'll have an expression of interest from the group as a whole as you come up and make other comments, so we can kind of vote on that, but I think it's a good area to focus. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Um-hm. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And you can continue. I just wanted to distill into something that we can come back to. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'll try to wrap it up. Um, in our county, kindergarten on up, we have started instilling in our students that they're going to some sort of college. It may be a vocational college, but they will go to college. So, from kindergarten on up, they take field trips to visit colleges. They, um, have banners all over the school about different colleges, and our teachers county-wide are being trained in new ways to teach pretty extensively. And it's working. You just wouldn't believe some of the kids that are succeeding who I really don't think would have in a different sort of situation. Thank you for your time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ooo, the excitement. The lady right here. You have, I thought I had, uh, Rep. Dockham’s. Oh, I'm sorry. The gentleman right here. We have new seating assignments here, so I'm trying to do a quick cross block. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My name's Jason Philips ??? from [CUTS OFF]
The Eastern part of the state, if I was to summarize my little talking point I guess it would be on fiscal policies: educational spending. Short and sweet, there's not that much money available. Certainly it's a huge cost for the state, so we want to spend it as wisely as possible. I'd like to suggest two areas briefly that I think we can make much more efficient. First is the use of half days instructional days. In my county, the kids arrive at our school at about 8 o'clock. They leave at 11:30. The state pays a tremendous amount of money to operate that school, to heat it to cool it, to run those buses a phenomenal amount of miles for three and a half hours of instruction. They get breakfast that is provided - I'm in a low-income district, kind of an impoverished district - and they're fed breakfast and lunch. In all honesty, this is a very inefficient way that we spend money: the use of half days. Either no school day, make it a full professional day for teachers, or a full instructional day. If we only have a pot of money this big, the use of half days is not a very wise way for us to spend it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And if I, if I may again, I'm glad you touched on that topic. Budget and efficiency is an area I'd like to record this as. I hope that we, that there is-- is there generally people kind of wanting to know what the fiscal situation is going to be this year? Show of hands. [laughter] Okay, so we definitely, I'm thinking once we go through this lightning round to find the topics, we'll come back and we'll let that be the first one. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Excellent. And my second idea, or thought: in my county textbooks are used much, much, much more sparingly than they used to be traditionally. In my middle school, one textbook for the whole class. Class sets. Technology certainly is a huge part of 21st century learning, and so textbooks cost a tremendous amount of money. I know the textbook companies have strong lobbies, but if we only have a pot of money so large I think that the spending on textbooks and to take a very critical look at how much need is there. Thank you for your time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And trust me digital conversion has a very strong lobby in the way of the members. And I was waiting for an "amen" from Representative Horn back there so we'll come back to that as a part of our budget and efficiency discussion. The lady in front of Representative Cotham. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hi, thank you for this opportunity speaker. I am Erica Tyner, I teach sixth grade language arts in Nancy County - a very low-income district. I'm from a very high-performing school, though, 300 students. I'd like to talk about teacher tenure. I think there is a popular belief that tenure is a license for at teacher to become subpar, and I don't think that is correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let me just ask you again, though, because it sounds like you're going to build a case for your argument, which I want you to. The question is, is there any other teacher here who would like to have tenure brought up for more than just a single discussion? All right. I would say that that's very likely to be in the priority list. So I would ask you, in terms of building your case, I'm trying to give you some sense of the priorities. I wanna get through this and manage our time so we can get back and have more than one teacher speak on it, but I think you can be assured that tenure will come back and we'll recognize you to build a case at the beginning of that discussion. But you can continue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Unlike other states, North Carolina has 15 grounds under which tenured teachers can be fired, and there's even a fast-track in severe issues. So tenure is not in place so that teachers can do what they want to do in their classroom. Having said that, tenure is important for all teachers. We need stability in this profession if we're going to keep qualified teachers in the classroom, and if we're going to attract intelligent individuals to this profession stability needs to be in place. And I think it can be with tenure. I would at least ask that teachers who already have tenure get grandfathered in to this status, and we need to keep teachers - we need to keep tenured teachers as mentors and as educators who have seen the pendulum swing back and forth with education. Who know the curriculum, even though it is new, and who are there for the students. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. The lady sitting next to Representative Johnson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hi, thank you. I'm late to the career of teaching - I've only been teaching five years, but I've been out in the industry.
[Speaker changes.]...and have also raised two sons, one was learning disabled and one was gifted so I've sorta been on all sides of that fence and then on the other side of the tables with teachers. I also appreciate what teachers go through. Just wanted to make a comment, excited about the fact that North Carolina's adopted the Common Core because our students these days, in this economy, the students are so transient. Not only from school to school and city to city but from state to state and I think it gives us a lot of good stuff to know what they're learning in other states versus North Carolina also...and it gives us a lot of common themes. I encourage you to make sure that the teachers have the resources that support that common core. It's very rigorous and mention text books and things like that...that you can't just "google" your way through teaching. So making sure that we have the resources to support the Common Core is very important. [Speaker changes.] I'm glad you brought it up...I do believe that it is one of the more important things that we need to talk about today because it effects you all. I see a representatives from ETI??????? I've spoken with them about some of the tools that they're trying to provide to help you so that it's not just go out to google and figure out how you deal with it. There tools that are available hopefully...if there's anyone from BPI/ETI??? here that would like to speak on it, I would like to do that at the appropriate time. (INAUDIBLE.) [Speaker changes.] Good morning, I'm Lauren Burkes?????? and I'm the teacher of the year from Wake County this year. Mister Speaker I just wanna say thank you on behalf of all the other teachers here for taking a minute to hear our voice....and for the other representatives that are in here, that you would take a moment just to be able to hear things that we are saying in our hearts and from our classrooms, for our students. I'd like to just reiterate a couple of the topics that have already been said. I'd like to discuss the concept of the teacher fellow...teaching fellows and cadet program. I'd also like to discuss the professionalism that education receives in the concept of salary. I'd also like to discuss Common Core and the new curriculum that's coming out. I'd like to discuss resources as far as budgeting goes on in the fiscal year that is required of that...and lastly, I'd like to discuss national board certification and why that's not more of a priority in our school system. Thank you. [Speaker changes.] That's very good and actually, again, I'm just evolving??????, using old meeting facilitation techniques. What I think we'll do, just for the purpose of getting to a drill down discussion on this....most of these topics if not all of them....I may take a poll to see if there's shared interest in the direction stated by the members so that we can prioritize this, maybe move to a drill down discussion. You covered Common Core. You basically substantiated that everything we said we wanna talk about, we need to talk about so it's noted. Takin' good notes...actually....(INAUDIBLE) [Speaker changes.] Hi, I'm Sherry ???????? from Alleghany County and I think most of the things that I'm concerned about have already been touched on but with the possibility of being sequestered on Friday and the loss of more teacher positions, I don't think we're serving our students the way we need to. I'm from a very small school, we have one EC?????? teacher that serves 200 students. We have an AIG????? teacher that only comes to us once a week so we're not hitting where we need to hit with some of our students. So my concern is how we're gonna retain these 500 teacher positions that could possibly be cut and are those cuts also gonna come from the Head Start Program and our Pre-K programs cause that's where so many students really get their first steps in education. [Speaker changes.] We need to cover that and budget sequestration ?????????INAUDIBLE The...which one of you...you have your light on. [Speaker changes.] My name is Byron Jones, teacher of the year from ???????????? State School. Twenty-five years in education, fourteen as an art instructor, both high school and middle school. Eleven years as an administrator, which is why I'm back in the classroom. Not a real big political guy. My principal ...work for a great principal...Mr. Thompson, ??????????? Great superintendent, Brady Johnson. My big issue is educational reform...everything that's been brought to the table is really good but, in our school we have about 430 students...most diverse ethnic background in the county, our current...our last year's 8th grade class, well over 30% were two to three grade levels behind in reading...so that's one of my big things. Even I've never taught elementary...it's ludicrous to me the amount of salaries that are spent on other things,, other than educational reform at the third.... [Speaker changes.]
grade level because if you don't educate the kids at the third-grade level and their not on reading level you put the middle school kids behind the eight ball. Middle school kids are asked to, teachers are asked to do more and more with limited resources with kids who can't even read and then they get to high school and then you want to start bandying about the 21st century learners and then you're promoting an inferior product because when these high school kids get to the colleges, community colleges, they have to take the remediation classes because principals at the high school level are pressured by the superintendent, superintendents are pressured by the state, to promote a great graduation rate which is all smoke and mirrors when you really get down to the fact of grades are being changed in high schools, teachers are being pressured in elementary, middle schools, to promote their kids. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just for the, and please do not take offense when I interrupt you, I'm trying to distill this down, and what would be the subject of that discussion? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Education reform and promotion standards. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The promotion standard, one of the things I was hoping, as a facilitator you try and lead people to a discussion that you want to talk about too and it has to do with promotion standards but one question I have does have to do with, it came out of the Education Reform Bill, and the third-grade, the hold back for third-grade based on reading proficiency. Is that something that this group is interested in talking about? Show of hands? Okay. Probably the difference between elementary school teachers and, yeah, okay. Well that sounds like a pretty significant number so that's at least one area. I noticed when Representative Horn introduced himself that when he said education reform I couldn't tell if you were positively or negatively reacting to it. I noticed a little wince or body language and one question I had about this is where or not we should change, even the discussion about reform, because one side of it says, "Well we're here to reform all of you all." And I do realize, now, that words matter, particularly at this level. So one thing, not today, but one thing I'd like to talk about is how do we really, if I were in business, where I've spent most of my career, I would never have had a major project to improve Bank of America or Duke Energy or other companies that I've worked with and I'd call it Duke Reform. It wouldn't come off very well. So it's really making me think about how we message this as a part of the process and we're going to work on that and try and recognize that the words matter. You can continue but I just wanted to get that- [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, like I said, I'm not a real political guy. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Nor am I. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Which is why I always had fun being a principal. I come from a family of educators so most of my colleagues, my friends, my wife's been a math teacher at the same school for 29 years, when we heard the word educational reform, generally most of us kind of laugh, go run in our classroom, hide, and do what we do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Because that's what really matters. But really, when you talk about all these current catchphrases, if the kid can't read, it doesn't matter what the teacher does, it doesn't matter how much wonderful technology, because I've got 8th-grade kids who can't even spell-check because they're used to writing on Facebook. So when you start talking political and educational reform, it doesn't take money. It takes, I don't know, maybe pressuring the local people, the local superintendents or the local school systems to actually put things in place to educate the kids before they advance to the next level. Because everything else is just people sitting around talking. If you don't address those issues we are gradually educating a generation of kids who really don't know how to learn. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Now, I will tell you that we've started what I call the brainstorming session, and when we started there were 15 lights on. There are now 14 lights on. So one thing I just want to be mindful of, with about 50 minutes left, that some of these topics that I think are a priority. If you've heard something that you know we're going to come back to I'd suggest that you hold, if you have a new topic or something you want to bring up, in order for us to get to a point where we can have some meaningful discussion but know the discussion doesn't end here, it begins here. The lady right in front of Representative Jeter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I'm Ashley Fillingame from Craven County and we may be the only county who wants this so I'll be really quick. We submitted a calendar waiver because, right now, we have three different calendars in our county and trying to get our students future ready and having high school exams after Christmas break and not being able to have those kids apply for early acceptance into college. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We'll call that calendar flexibility. There are only about 99 other counties who are interested, in some level, of calendar flexibility.
You're not along and I would like to come back to calendar flexibility. Lady 4th row back, yes, ma'am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My name is Angie Parker. I represent Cumberland County's teacher of the year and I wanted to hit on teacher salaries. As a lateral entry teacher I started off knowing coming into teaching I was going to have literally half my pay salary cut. That was OK, I accepted that. I knew what I was coming into. I love teaching, I wouldn't turn around and go back to managing restaurants, however over the years teacher's salaries have been frozen. They've stopped. In 2009 the average teacher's salary was about $48 thousand. This year in 2013 it's now $45 thousand, so we're decreasing in our salary. At this point in 2013 I am officially making as a teacher what I made as a restaurant manager back in 2003. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'd like if you would indulge me, I think budget of which teacher's salaries is going to be a part of the discussion will be first up once we get to drill down discussion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I also wanted to talk about the digital textbooks, the bill that has just been recently passed. I wanted to know what we were going to do about the infrastructure as far as technology's concerned. If we're going to have digital textbooks, how are we going to make sure that our students that don't have computers or internet access at home have access to these textbooks and how will schools be able to access these textbooks. Will every student have a computer basically in their classrooms. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That needs to come under the budget discussion. I think we have someone in the room that has some expertise on that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And my last item was standard 6, the 70/30 model. To consider whether or not teachers should have tenure. I know it follows under tenure which was mentioned earlier, how standard 6 is going to affect our teaching by EOG scores, I've seen students with ELL learning issues, students that may come from troubled homes maybe not be able to stay awake during the test. I've watched this. I could do my very best as a teacher to try to help these students, but there are some students that are in circumstances where they don't do well and I want to know what the situation is as far as that reflecting on teachers. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I believe this gentleman right here. You have your light on. I'm having to count back real time, so I'm sorry I'm a little clumsy here, I'm trying to use this in a different way. Your light was on to begin where if you turn your light back on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I am Julien Wilson, a Gaston County schools teacher of the year. Thank you, Mr. Speaker for having us this morning. My concern or my topic piggybacks a little bit on hers. We just drafted for Gaston County a merit pay that we have currently submitted and in some respects many of us are very, very excited about it. We were curious about funding issues that you were speaking of, will that money be available to actually make that happen in the foreseeable future. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We'll cover that under budget. First topic when we get to the circle back. Lady right here. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning. I'm Linda West, I'm a registered nurse, lateral entry, I've been teaching for 22 years at Plymouth High School in Washington County. It is my understanding that there's no reciprocal licensure for teachers from other states. This was how best to bring this to the floor, requirements for graduate pay needs to be revisited. Is there a disconnect between the career and technical education post assessment required by the state and the actual workplace readiness. The CT post assessment is not accommodating various learning styles and lastly there is not enough career and technical education. We are not being directly worked with when we are doing our PLC and by that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I want to know what a PLC is. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Professional Learning Communities. I realize that we have a summer conference that we attend every summer, but actually in our school systems it may need to be better addressed for lack of a better word. I'm going to touch on the half days that the gentleman over here mentioned earlier. It is a, I see it as a waste of money as well. The attendance is poor on those days, so that's another
The family may want to look at woman aiding making those at the counter and the department would only get to some of these things which are more technical in nature of these are things the government said the couple and maybe all of the night and continued discussion on its list of allows it and bring it up and it was taken and so will all end (SPEAKER CHANGES) last thing they have ESP name, northeast region by Kent school nurse, oblivious to the start, like an army is actually losing money because they are having to do things for that school and not knocking the school and I'm not getting the school down a four exact a black bear having to care PM that's the 1994 in its army FCC two state SMS role as DSM game center anyone came from the canny school syntax taking away at the freshman class that would be in a high school this year and the FBI now that I would even be happy to have much La that's not the point is just a matter that can ease losing money and and with budget cuts that can afford to give them money at about a couple, (SPEAKER CHANGES) the pick of the concept that you're talking about in terms of the of the DNA of money politics quarterback and writer progress without a lot of petty offenses, minutes, so we make sure we get back some of these issues like groundwork for pulp after those of ways of getting that the topics we may want considered discussed the only go back to budget , and four to two professional development which I would not be responsible in politics read one to get all of the outweigh the so always members of get used to yours is members admitted some also tried a month ago or the use of these try anything that threatens IE and run for state Atty. as part of the bank it's a fashion I would like to know where it and 95 from vacation money are applicable discussion on that (SPEAKER CHANGES) because my aren't real gains with all of the different to commercial to stop talking about a group of 30 computers and when I got the idea to attend class understand some of the attack and we think that triggered the special issue of seven very concerned about vouchers and (SPEAKER CHANGES) how they don't rightly its public funds but if the plants discussed at the graduate of Oxford will and we will will take them isn't like the top of the week, (SPEAKER CHANGES) while it is a discussion with the weekends to or rose at TI have a handful of a year and 500 army where the graduations for statewide-if and that's where , why ask for any of the feeling in the future of a non-20 CH a E TNT runs and five injured and area, people are expected to run for MSI dickey Simpkins and ID, revival to contact the topic in the army alive in the right information about every real action school. I'm the only an interest in the final word on when I go out and asked after that if it's worth, and 1/2 since 1988 where code in Austria won and coffee cherries and bobby retainer education across to the line of migration about it all with a program encourages you to be a 123 in which someone was coming and outs of one of one worker 26 to 1 1/2, and we get a separate entity, (SPEAKER CHANGES) ) the question is not an aircraft and Britain with IC a I-890988. I either of the Rincon street on March 9 in the occupied meeting was a fairly illegal not at all or rose Pak ………
Good morning, and thank you as well. My name is ?? Riley, and I'm representing Ryan Salisbury schools. This is not a new topic but I too would like to discuss the common core curriculum. I am excited about teaching the common core, I do 9th and 10th grade language arts, and it is an art in itself so teaching students to appreciate the art of language I think has been captured in the new curriculum so I'm appreciative for that, but y question lies about the true essence of it being common. Within our county alone, different high schools have a choice as to which novels they teach, or which supporting pieces they can pull in, and if we are on a competitive level with Ohio, California and other states, what is it that's guaranteeing that our materials are aligned and what's guaranteeing that teachers actually teach that curriculum in a way that students can remain competitive. So if we revisit that's one issue that I'd like to look at more. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think we really have to, because you all are where the rubber meets the road on common core, and we certainly want to allot the remaining time to discuss that. The lady who turned her light on and off a couple of times earlier. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, my name is Jody Salosi, I'm a high school teacher in Laney High School in New Hanover county. I've been teaching for seven years, and I'm a North Carolina teaching fellow, so I'm also a big advocate for that program being reinstated, I definitely am interested in talking about a lot of the different topics that were mentioned, but one thing that I have not heard mentioned yet is the common exams and MSLs. That was a top down initiative to measure student learning, it factors in with our standard 6 in teacher evaluation, and the information that we've been getting has been changing constantly, I think every week we get new information, the dates are constantly changing, the roll out has been muddied, and aggravating for teachers because we're supposed to be preparing these students and we have no idea what we're preparing them for. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. It may be the first time I've ever allowed applause to happen in this chamber, and it's okay. The next person I have is three rows back to the right, I believe that, is your light on? Four rows back, I'm sorry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have to follow the person that got applause? That's hard to do. I'm Jennifer Arberg, thank you Mr. Speaker for having us. I'm a middle school match teacher in Guilford county, and I think my main area of concern is teacher morale. This is my 17th year in education and I think morale is at an all time low, and I know we can't improve it by giving teachers more time, or probably not more money, but I know one thing that has been really beneficial in my teaching career, has been NCCAT, the North Carolina Center for Advancement of Teaching. It's really helped me improve instructional quality in my classroom, it has helped me connect with teachers across the state to design better lessons. I think my students have really really benefited from the program, and I just want to make sure it stays around. I think it's just so beneficial for teachers and our students, and it gives teachers an extra bit of morale. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You touched on a very important point, because you've acknowledged that we're resource constrained. I'm not here to tell you I've got a billion dollars more to spend, but one thing that I've understood talking to teachers and principals and superintendents. Absent being able to give substantially more money to teachers, the professional development is a very important part of what you all value as an exchange for economic value. You'd probably like to have both, but if you'd like to at least have one, and I think that's something that we'll bring up when we discuss professional development. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Great, and you can feel free to applaud me as well, if you want. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And actually, Let's see, where to, the lady in the back here. Three rows- yes ma'am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning. My name is Shauna LaGrant, and I'm teacher of the year for Caswell county schools. My topic today, I wanted to discuss the early childhood programs. I heard it briefly mentioned but in recent weeks there has been a heightened awareness of the role of early
…good education in the overall academic success of children and whether the funding of these programs need to be cut and I just wanted to know what the future holds for North Carolina for funding for early childhood programs. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The lady over here to my left. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m Pam Mills from First Flight Middle School. I teach 8th grade language arts. I am region 1 teacher of the year. I would like the discussion of merit pay, and by the way I’ve been teaching 43 years so I speak to you from experience; I would like the subject of merit pay to be brought up today. I would not like our state and our teachers to begin to look at our students as a means of furthering our pay checks rather take into consideration the entire child. There are so many factors that go into that performance test that we need to consider where our children come from on a daily basis and our schools need to be funded and equipped to take care of those children who have needs outside of the school building. So, I would appreciate if that topic of merit pay would be discussed so that other areas are included. I do believe teachers should be rewarded with merit but perhaps for teaching in those schools that are low on staff, or teaching a national board certification, taking on peer mentoring, other incentives in that way but that our school wide performance not be based on those testing, let it be a school wide, rather than, I meant to say an individual merit pay. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Those are very good points and I do want to cover that in the budget discussion... [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] …which I think we’re approaching very quickly. The last person to have their light on is the lady four rows back. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I just noticed that one thing wasn’t spoken, again Angie Parker, I wanted to discuss professional work days as well. I think it’s great to have professional development; teachers definitely need and desire to have professional development but we also need time in our classroom where we can get things together, structure our lecture plans, communicate with our other educators in our building, have meetings with other, well I’m an English language arts teacher so I would love to discuss matters with my other English language arts but we’re not afforded the time. Our professional development days are cut in half; the rest of the day is a work day and it’s very quick. It goes by way too quickly and we really need to discuss having that implemented in the calendar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don’t mean to be smiling while you’re communicating a serious subject but it reminded me back when I was PTA president I had these teachers talking about duty free lunch. I said, you mean to tell me we charge them a tax for lunch? I mean I thought that, I mean I didn’t know. Now, I know what duty free lunch means and that’s a part of the professional development. That’s what made me smile, it’s like when I was a kid and I was wondering why gorillas were fighting wars. It’s just vivid memory. Before we go in, we’re going to come back to the budget; I’ll give you some comments, be happy to have some discussion back and forth. But, before I do, Representative Brandon you’re still here? Representative Brandon I think came in, he may have gone; he’s been here each of the three days. You’ll see Representative Pierce here who’s been good enough to come and spend some of his time with us from Scotland County. I think is Representative Elmore is still here? He’s a teacher-in-exile; he’s a member now. He was a teacher last year in a middle school and Representative Murry has joined us from Wake County; the gentlemen back here who looks young enough to be in high school and Representative Cleveland who doesn’t look young enough to be in high school but, and also I’ve tried to quickly introduce them, but I also have to tell you how impressed I am that our Lieutenant Governor has been here each of the three days to listen to you as well. He’s my counterpart in the Senate and he presides over the senate. Representative Forest, you’d like to make a couple of comments before we get to the discussion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. As Lieutenant Governor, I’m the President of the Senate so we had session a little bit ago that’s why I’m late so I apologize for coming in late. I just want to say, as everybody I’m sure has, thank you for what you do. The reason you’re here is because your performance is exemplary and the passion that you have inside of you for teaching comes out and so many of the topics that you’ve been talking about I hear bantered around here in the House and the Senate every day so people are talking about these things but as the speaker will tell you, talk is cheap, around here we want to see action. We want to see people do things with this talk and as the…
As Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, I sit on the state Board of Education, the North Carolina Board of Community Colleges, I chair the e-Learning Commission. I have 4 kids as well ages 20 down to 7, so I'm obviously passionate about education. I'll tell you because I have a lot of teachers come up to me and ask me questions from the campaign that everything you heard about me on the campaign, none of it's true. So, if you have any questions that you want to bring to me as Lieutenant Governor, please come and see me. My door is open. You can walk in my door either here or over on Blount Street and we'll be happy to talk education with you. But, thank you again for what you're doing. Thank you for making the sacrifice away from your classes today to be here. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Now, we have 30 minutes and to again begin the discussion. This isn't an end. And, I certainly want to get to the budget. What I think I'll do is remind those and get some sense of whether or not you want to continue this discussion and maybe about 6 to 8 minute increments, so that we can get to salaries and budget, professional development, and the discussion of tenure and Common Core, and maybe just a sense, if you could only talk about Common Core or tenure. If you wanted to talk about tenure versus Common Core, raise your hand. You want to talk about Common Core, raise your hand. Other ones, you just don't mind or you got other topics you wanted to talk about. So, we'll probably prioritize Common Core over tenure. We want to talk about both, just understand that I understand from superintendents and principals like the point that was made here. Tenure is not something that necessarily makes or breaks being able to get the teachers that principals want in school and it also has very important impact on you all as professionals to have that added assurance that your contribution's being recognized. And regardless of what you hear, I think the tenure discussion is ongoing. We have a working group with superintendents that I'll talk to you about on the back end that they'll reporting back on a model that we think is fair and appropriate both as a management tool and as something that you all many of you value and believe me to be a part of our go forward plan for education. But, on the budget. So, we're going to start with the budget. The budget in 2011 was one of the most difficult things I've had to deal with with my professional career. We came in on January 26 and we had and a two and a half billion dollar structural deficit and about 4 months to solve it and it was very difficult. And, education was one of the most difficult, but Health and Human Services was up there too because we're making decisions that obviously affect a lot of lives. But, we went through it. I know it was difficult. Along the way, what we tried to do working with the superintendents was see what kinds of things we could do. If we had to reduce funding, then what could we do to make it easier for the school systems to manage the fiscal crisis that we were in. And what we tried to do was provide some additional level of flexibility in the process. We couldn't give you more money. In fact, we were giving you less. What we were trying to do is say that instead of giving you money and then telling you exactly what category you could spend it in to give you some flexibility. We only went so far with K-12 education. We went much further in community colleges and in universities. This year, we ask the superintendents come back and work with our budget writers, some of whom are in the room, to figure out how that added flexibility could provide the school systems with more latitude on the ground to spend moneys to their best and highest use because they may be by mandate spending a dollar here, when they'd prefer to spend that dollar or some portion of it somewhere else. So, the theme of added flexibility, more control at the local level is something that I've charge my budget writers to take a look at and we're hopeful that that framework will also be embraced with the Senate who this year is grafting the budget. We did it 2 years ago. From a money situation, we went from a two and a half billion dollars deficit in 2011 to about a $100 million "surplus" starting out with the budget this year what we expect to receive in tax revenues. In the end, $100 million seems like a big number, except for when it's on a $20 billion budget. So, what it really means is we're about even. We did a good job projecting how much money we would have none of obligations. I think all of that is said to say we're not going to have substantially more sums of money, not substantially less. So, now it's a matter of how would we go back and look at and obviously the budget is adjusted for enrollment, so there will be more money being spent.
But, its because we have more students going to school and we have a formula for trying to get that base line. But, assume that base line goes up, adjusted for enrollment. Flexibility is one thing we can work on to try and work through what continues to be a fiscal crisis or really an economic crisis, right now in terms of where the state and the nations economy is. The things that effect the budget . . . So, I'm happy to talk about what flexibility means. But, one of the things we are trying to encourage all of the strata of education; universities, community college, even K-12, let's find ways to save money or to spend more efficiently. If the half day issue is a way as a source for that, lets go back and find ways that we save money. I was criticized, although I think you got tired of criticizing me, but I've started talking about this concept depressed, I should say about finders keepers. What we're trying to do is find ways to save money, and if you find it we want you to be able to keep it for something that we believe is a better and higher use. The reward of the past for state agencies to save money was to have that money taken away and spent some place else. What we're trying to say today is that within that category, if you assume for the shake of this discussion, will provide roughly the same amount of money. If you find ways to save money, then lets be certain that you be rewarded by letting you spend that money on something else. Teachers do it all the time, I know teachers do it all the time in their classroom, you know, I save a little money here and I can get a few more things there. Well, imagine that sort of concept being applied at a higher level and not taking money out of your pockets. I'm sure most of you are teachers of the year are probably taking money out of your pockets to do what you wanted to do in the classroom. But, taking money out of other categories of state funding, I would also encourage you to think about this as county funding. one thing that frustrates me is, you'll have county folks, not you all, but elected officials will say, well why would I save that money, those are state dollars? I've heard that said before. Well, they should because those state dollars may be used more productively back at their school districts. This is a very important part and I'll just tell you conceptually, you're all well educated people. It's $10 Billion that goes into education, is there anyone here who as a constituent that feels that $10 Billion is being spent 100% efficiently? Is there anyone here that thinks that, because if you do . . . You can raise your hand if your hand if you choose to, but lets just say for the sake of argument that we're 93% efficient. What does that mean, we're about average, as good as it gets. That's $700 Million. $700 Million being spent in the education category, whether its for a teacher, an administrator, or a program $700 Million, lets assume we only find 7% productivity that can applied back into what we're talking about. That conceptually is how I'm trying to get our members to think and in consultation with the governor and the governor's staff so that we can start freeing up this money for better and higher use. I think that goes back to the question, or the direction that the gentleman was discussing in terms of efficiency. Other sources of funding; the lottery, there have been proposals to cut down the administrative costs to free that money up for education purposes, its an example of what I'm talking about here. Lets say that the lottery, and by most national standards our lottery is pretty efficient, but we're going through and saying can it be more efficient? Because, when you're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars a few percentage points of improvement frees up money to retire capital debt that the counties have taken on to build schools and other educational purposes. But, this legislature is steadfast in the policy that education lottery funds are going to be spent for education, we've implemented some policy for that purpose, but we've also want to be absolutely certain that its being spent efficiently. But, that will most likely be tabbed for purposes already identified. We have a bill filed, it's a great bill, but its suggesting maybe we use some of the lottery funds to pay for it. But, I would suggest that unless you can identify lottery funds that are going to something else that are not as good as this new idea, then you've got to go find another funding source to pay for it. We've got to have this kind of concept, versus just saying, go do this, its a good idea and figure out how you do it with the money we give you. The salaries, this year the expectation is . . . I don't know if there's any proposals for any
We tried to provide a 1.2% raise. I know it wasn't a lot. The main reason for that - the thought process for that - was to just let the state employees as a whole that they're out there and that we're trying to-- 1.2% doesn't seem like a lot of money, but what was the total cost of that was about $125 million? 1.2%, to provide a 1.2% raise sound like very little, and it was in your paycheck. But it was a $125 to $150 million dollar cost at a time when we were trying to dig ourselves out of $2.5 billion dollar hole. But it was important to us enough to try and put something out there to let you know that we do recognize pay is an issue. And it's not only an issue for educators, it's an issue for police, for fire, and health and human services professional and a number of other people. So we're trying to work through that. And in merit pay. In merit pay you all in particular - I mean you're by virtue of your status as teacher of the year - you're the best of the best. You've obviously done something that has caused your school districts to recognize you for extraordinary contribution. And a part of what we're trying to do is treat everybody fairly. Every teacher who goes in every classroom should be treated fairly. But there's this concept - and maybe it's one that you all disagree with - we can't necessarily teat everyone equally in terms of limited resources. It's trying to find a way to reward them. But you touched on something that I think is very important. In my business in management consulting, it's very difficult to say that teacher deserves a bonus or pay increase because of their individual contribution. That needs to be a factor maybe, but I think school performance and system performance-- some cohort also needs to be included. SO merit is not necessarily something that just directly relates to a teacher, but it relates to a community that together is producing above average results. So in the planned design that we've discussed with superintendents, we've asked them to come back and think about that conceptually, as the way that we would come up with an incredible plan that teachers and principals feel like is fair. A lot of local exceptions too, when you deal with the level of poverty that a school population represents, or a classroom represents. The types of needs that may exist in the classroom. There's a lot of of either discounting or curving that needs to go on to make sure you have a merit-based system that is in fact fair. And something that a principal can look across the desk from a teacher and explained how they've arrived at whatever compensation decision they've arrived at. And it's a lot of work. But I do believe, at the end of the day, that the teacher population pretty much is consistent with what you find in any population of employees. There's about 10 or 15 percent of them that are truly exceptional at what they do compared to their peers. Probably another 25 to 30 percent that are above average, and probably 40 or 50 percent that are average. And there are probably 10 or 15 percent that either have professional development needs, or may make a decision to get out of the classroom and move into some other role. It's just a natural part of personnel management. That's really what we're talking about trying to get to. I think the take-away though is that we're working hard to try and maintain spending, adjusted for enrolment that we put into place. The one area that is a wild card - and it's dependent upon federal policy - is sequestration. I don't know what the number is. I've given a very wide spread. I heard between 30 and 60 million. Do we know what the number is? We've been trying to quantify that. I think it's in excess of $30 million that flows from the federal government into the state for education purposes. For you all as tax payers and citizens, sequestration to the state represents about a $300 million reduction in annual spending from the federal government flowing into the state. And of that somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of it appears to be linked to education. What we're trying to do know is find out how that money is being spent. Is it a program that will simply end and not necessarily-- or is it a program that's funding teaching positions? Or is it a program that's funding IT? We don't know. We're trying to actually back into that? And as you all know if you watch the news, it's sort of a moving target because we don't know how the president are going to come down on that and make any changes. But right now if we assume sequestration there's probably about another $30 plus funding impact.
that we've got to keep in mind as we pass the budget, and a part of that flexibility that we're talking about may be that the school systems determine that that lack of funding from the federal government is something that is funding something that they find more important than some other state projects, so, to provide them with the flexibility to remain whole, this is part of the concept we're going through. It's fairly complicated. I'm trying to see if there are any other things on the budget that I should touch on. We've got a couple minutes. If there's anybody that has any questions about the budget process or expectations. The lady over here. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My concern is- I'm from a city district, only eight total schools, and I think that there's always, ever since I can remember, there's always been the talk that the state wants to do away with city districts or streamline things so that they don't have city districts, they only have county districts, and I would just encourage you, the legislators, before they just lump that all into streamlining or being more efficient is to take a look at those city districts. There's a lot to be said for a small district. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I agree. I actually don't think that- the physical consolidation is not as important to me. There are some great city districts. There are probably some areas that could argue that they- cities in the county could work better together if they subset at the district, so I'm less concerned with a physical consolidation than a consolidation that frankly, I think, is a part of driving out efficiencies. Counties need to talk about how maybe they can pool their resources for some of the back office functions so that they can release that funding back into the classroom, and you don't have to do that by combining two counties into a school system. Businesses do it all the time, so I really encourage the superintendents to think creatively about how they can collaborate within regions or other areas of the state. You don't have to be Mecklenburg County and Gaston County or Mecklenburg County and Cabarrus County to necessarily integrate and drive efficiencies and then figure out how you put those efficiencies back into the school. I think some people, well-meaning, say, well if we consolidate, we can save money, but I think we need to think about it in terms of best practices and outside of government where consolidation can occur without changing the on the ground organizational structure. Yes, ma'am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I just wanted to make a point that part of the problem, I think, about not receiving a salary increase on a yearly basis- and I understand that the 1.2% was- it was nice to receive something after having been in this profession now for six years, and, when I left the accounting firm that I was a part of, I was making almost twice as much as I made when I first came in, and I am still making the same amount as a first year teacher. That's a problem for me as a professional, and if all of the other businesses see themselves as professionals, I find a problem with not being able to somehow dictate that I'm doing a good job, and therefore I should receive a salary increase. We're not only doing that, but I feel like Governor Hunt and Governor Holshouser both worked very hard to work on education reform in the state, as far as salary, as far as teaching fellows programs, so, in doubling up with the losing of the teaching fellows program and the cadet program, not only are we not attracting our best teachers and our high flying students from our own education system to come into education, and so it's very hard to watch yourself stay at the same level year after year, to see the government saying, you as a first year teacher are making the same amount as myself as a teacher who's now been in for ten years, and that that's going to make us continue to make us to lose professionals. I actually have- one of my best teachers at our school, who just won the teacher of the year, she just told me she has to leave, because she's going to go to Ohio, because they offered her a much higher salary, almost double what we're offering her here, and I feel like that as teachers is a huge, huge problem in the way that we are seen as professionals. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think that it is, and I think that- that actually is a great prompt to segue into professional development, which is another topic that we wanted to talk about. We're trying to work during the budget process. It's a twenty billion dollar budget. It's a 300 page document with a 200 page money report. There's a lot of negotiation that goes on in between. I, for one, was trying to find a way to preserve the end cap program and teaching fellows program with something that I understand for most of the teaching community, they found value in it as a part of the professional development offerings that they feel like the state offers, and I was not successful in securing support for that in the last budget cycle. We are going back again
Taking a look at other professional opportunities. Finding ways to maybe leverage private sector contribution. Businesses who think very highly of you all and other ways to try and create funding for that purpose. It is something that I’ve asked my budget writers to keep in to mind. We’ve talked about something on innovation education requests trust or fund. Something where the state could maybe cede something from the private sector. Other foundations that could potentially help us create more money than the state is capable of giving and figuring out how we would use it. Know that. I know that those tow programs are important. Other professional opportunities we are trying to find. That’s the non-monetary compensation that I think you all as education professionals value. And, on the salaries again. Imagine, if we’re only 93% productive or efficient. What could be done would bring up 700 million dollars on a reoccurring basis to try an provide a differentiating compensation model for teachers. I know it’s very important because right now with the relatively limited amount of competition. The reason we need to get compensation right now, is because when the market turns, and it will, and business becomes more competitive. That accounting firm you work for may give you a call back, and convince you that not only will they double your salary, but maybe triple it. Because the market demand is such that they want to pay these extraordinarily well educated capable people who could work in the private sector if there heart wasn’t in teaching. Take them back into the private sector. It’s imperative for us to do it now so we don’t have that problem. I saw it when we were in the uptowns for the economy. I heard stories everyday from my superintendent and my principal back in Meckelberg County. About, look I got this teacher that’s doing all this stuff down in their day to day school and they could go work on the 40th floor of the Bank of America Center and triple their salary and actually have a lunch. We need to know that’s a future problem that we’ll have to deal with. The sooner we get to it the less vulnerable we’re going be to the sort of recruiting away of our best and brightest. The gentleman on the floor. Did you have your light on? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Touching base a little bit on what you were talking about. I mentioned a moment ago that we did a plan, drafted a plan for merit pay for our county. One of the things we stress is that merit pay will have no bite, it will have no effect if the base pay doesn’t come up. I think many folks in our county get very excited about merit pay but… [SPEAKER CHANGES] You’re Gaston right? City of Gaston? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. I don’t think we’re even overly concerned about the steps, as long as we get the base pay up. We went from 20th in the country a few years ago now I think we’re back at like 48. We’re watching those numbers fall. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m watching those numbers too though. We’re going to get a normalized set of numbers that we’re all working from the same page. The direction is wrong, I’m not sure I quite sure I agree with the absolute assessment. Go ahead. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That was the main concern as we were drafting that resolution. The merit pay comes first. I’m sorry, the base pay comes first before the merit pay. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. And, right in front of me. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think a lot of teachers are in the same situation. I teach with an amazing language arts teacher she has been teaching for five years. She actually makes less now than she did when she started. We keep trying to encourage her that the only way to crawl up that salary scale is National Board Certification and Master’s Certification. Now, there’s has been discussion of cutting pay in both of those realms. I think I may be on begging for that not to be done. It helps you as a teacher become a better teacher. That bonus, the extra money is an even better initiative. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Lady back here. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My name is Lisa Stats. I’m from Bogart County, northeastern region, teacher of the year. My concern with merit pay. Moral is so low this year. It’s the lowest…16 years this year. I’ve never seen it this low. It’s very frustrating to think that we’re competing amongst ourselves. There’s no collaboration at my school because we feel like we’re against each other. It’s very frustrating. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The lady who said she’s a fifth grade teacher. Did you say fifth grade? No, Oh, middle school. I think you mentioned moral too earlier in your comments. I think moral has been a problem. I think moral, is in part, just because…
You keep on getting paid to say and you're expected to do more and more with the with less say into their their life, like in real problem to a lot of different root causes behind it not the least of which is a row problem exists across the state and nation right now that's because of economic circumstances and as something more sensitive to a quite honestly a slight problem is important to get this dialogue going gets to give teachers and educators from sun so we recognize that work on Arab and reacted with and respond any of the issues are out there and a Appreciate eight people congratulations on the one the regional teachers of your the couple other end and I just did what would tolerate or ask you to go back and we haven't liked to Augustine said talk is cheap amount about commencing you that those of a sea change occurs as resolve this meeting but at least some sense that knowledge that we know the problems are out there were trying to create some solutions to those problems and an abrupt dialogue along the way we appear on 18, (SPEAKER CHANGES) thank you , nine event but the judge numbers as the sector SD in east Timor rain but sensual conference and turk alone so past couple of your see Smith writes arm any money at bats and I think if I should still continue to look at cutting the fat frying programs any extra money that their A. Scott Reichardt anywhere except for where teacher salaries, and see as you with the teachers containing his first in a way that for the represent don't have money invested anywhere else in my P checked his last $15,000 with IE 52 tenths of four I think about the reality ER and survival on that, T. Chang and the professional is N. Howard E by the public can really haven't filled ourselves flakes and, for hours while it's hard not to look for any job every summer as much celebration for love my job after seven years usually turns off 9% loan, anything that NDS of things to come I am bringing in fresh round of L.a. NSIA C's LMIL were away Et Les income and a miss the opportunity for professional development at a lower cost a minimum mistake of thinking that prevents the train GEN I don't think it provides any real development, the teachers are getting anything out an ad with evaluations I can imagine any teacher actually sang nothing funny thing I did, (SPEAKER CHANGES) we expect a 12 hours in one module at Amherst the city is $12.00 area be out on teachers to put you in tax on wine and listed in a product unit of the room and I still want to print and send out and run schools and it really does skills and talents and I have to as a legislator on bonds people to watch where beyond as an argument for repressed, your intimate setting state of all your ears and yesterday so you just would double down on education knowledge of the problems you pay for its all as tonight in part by her again on women also heard from a representative from the health and human services said he would just double down on early childhood development or that Robinson became through 12 anyone gets 10 years with money raised as to whether proved a baseline stated that you're receiving Caterpillar and as a case for doubling down Health Services only are sick of and and then I have heard the association of police states that said you would just give us more opportunities in the community DL with the some problems in the community elegance all of problems that you have a middle school and ask reasonably and point to you as are all valid points and we have to do is take all those points in the NBA and environments that this is community and and and and business advocates would come and say you're just access laps and would be freed are more people it would be free to spend more money back in our communities help solve these problems with me going through what many people paper which are likely to get the money out the reason I tell you that I can respond to your your point is valid with those are all things that the members .............
Have to go through to try and manage this right now, because if we did double down and we were wrong - not because you're right in an ideal sense - but we have this less than ideal democratic process we have to go through. We may not have realized that and the process we could have created other challenges along the way. That's why it goes slow in the process, and I know it's hard for others from the outside to understand. But, just to let you know I'm sympathetic to it, but I'm also sympathetic to similar arguments that have been had by others who were trying to manage this complex process we've - for whatever reason - volunteered to get involved in. I'm afraid that we are-- because I'm just afraid members are going to start coming through that door - We have session starting at 1 o'clock today, that we're not going to be able to continue the discussion. But I did want to tell you a little bit about the process forward. We have, I've got all the subject matter up here, and we didn't get the common core. But I'll tell you about how we may be able to get back to common core and some of the other things that we wanted to talk about. With the superintendents we've had working groups established around much of these subject matter areas. And what I will task my staff with doing is trying to find a way where this group finds representation in these working groups. So that, from the group that was invited today and those who attended, we can potentially have you paired up and have you become a part of the process that the principals, the superintendents and teachers, will report back on the subject areas. We'll figure out how to do that. But we will share with you all anything that we share with the other two groups, so you can see what's going on. And then we will find some sort of a process framework where you feel like you're a part of that process. And it may be identifying those who can speak for the group or find ways to communicate. The other thing that we're doing is we're putting together a web tools, and we will have web tools on different focus areas. One of them will be education. And the purpose of that will be to provide you all, either with a direct feedback - as in I don't like NC Falcon I think it should be cut, and I'm perfectly proud to put my name next to it - or to I really don't like this, but I don't want to be known as the person who said I didn't like that. So a web portal-- I see some knowing looks in the room so I'm guessing you've ideas that fit into both of those categories. But it would be a way for you to give us feedback. Because we want to treat this like a regulatory reform process for education. One of the things that the state or DPI is requiring of you that you from where you set see no value. And then our responsibility is to either communicate back to you why we think there is a value, or you may have identified a darn good thing that we oughta stop doing. So this is an iterative process, and I would expect us to have the first version of the website up over the next few weeks. I'm pushing our IT staff and others to do that. But that would give you feedback mechanism. And in the meantime, first off you should definitely have Joe's e-mail address - we'll send out a follow up to this message - but his e-mail address is Joe.nolan@NCLAG.net. Anytime you hear something that comes up, feel free to communicate back to us. I would encourage you - if you haven't already - to go on the legislative website and at least sign up for e-mail updates on matters that come through the education policy committee. If you go to NCLAG.net and you drill down on committees - and we can provide you with some instructions if you have trouble finding it. It's fairly straight-forward. Then you can be notified when the education policy committee is meeting. You can be notified what bills are coming up. And actually you can even listen in on the internet to-- I think education is in 544, right? So it's broadcast on the internet? So you can actually listen to it, and I think that it may even be available after the session. But that's a way for you to feel a little bit more engaged in this process. And if you hear about a bill that's filed and you can't find it, contact my office and we'll find out where it is, and we'll give you some sense of whether or not it's just a bill that's ?? filed or a bill that may move. There's a big difference. And again, let's create a process that just grows and has more teachers and more principals and superintendents involved in the process. And, you know, if we-- I think if we harness the combined power capability mind-power in this room, and another of others in classrooms today, then we can really do something different than has been done in the past. And that really is my goal.
I appreciate you all coming today and I know that many of you had to get substitutes. How many of you had to get substitutes to get out of your class? Did any of you have to pay personal funds to do it? See my staff afterwards. I don't intend to make you have to personally pay to come here. I suspect that there were a few of those so, if there was anybody that personally had to take a cut out of their already small paycheck to be here, I want to figure out what we can do, within the rules, to compensate you for that. I appreciate you coming. I hope you know that I sincerely want you involved and you'll make us better at what we do. Thank you.