Three more state campaigns in the 50CAN network have wrapped up their legislative sessions for the year: Delaware, New York and North Carolina. We’re proud of the success these local advocates have achieved, the progress made on several initiatives together and the hard-fought losses that will pave the way for the campaigns to come next year.
The stoplights below indicate a green light for an advocacy win, a yellow light for significant progress made towards a goal and a red light for an advocacy loss. Read on to see what our local leaders have been working on in the First, Empire and Tar Heel states.
Ensure that the Every Student Succeeds Act planning process includes a diverse set of stakeholders and focuses on transparent and meaningful accountability for schools and education leaders.
DelawareCAN worked closely with stakeholders, the Department of Education and community members to advocate for and protect strong accountability measures in the state’s ESSA plan. The team secured summative ratings for schools and will now move into supporting implementation.
Ensure the faithful implementation of the Excellent Educators for All plan and promote the need for excellent educators in high-needs schools.
DelawareCAN protected strong teacher quality policies for the state. Working with partners, the team helped prevent legislation that would have lowered the bar for teaching in Delaware by eliminating required performance assessments for incoming teachers.
Adopt a school funding formula that provides sufficient flexibility and accounts for student poverty and English-language learners.
A multi-year goal, DelawareCAN did not make significant progress on this initiative in the 2017 legislative session. The team will launch an informational campaign in the fall, building support and understanding of the formula among community members.
Support the continued implementation of high standards in New York State and their linked assessments.
NYCAN, with the vital help of its partners, played a defensive role working to ensure that New York State’s standards were not rolled back and state assessments stayed in place.
Increase the number of charter schools in New York City and across the state.
NYCAN supported coalition partners including StudentsFirstNY, Success Academies and Families for Excellent Schools as they worked to increase the charter cap in New York City. Together, they successfully expanded the number of schools that could open in New York City from 23 to 45 but did not lift the statewide cap. NYCAN and partners will continue to advocate for a lift to the charter cap in future years.
Increase options for low-income and working class families by passing the Education Investment Tax Credit.
NYCAN and other partners were unable to secure support for this initiative at the state level after three years of continued advocacy.
Establish an Education Savings Accounts system for students with special needs in North Carolina.
NorthCarolinaCAN partnered with Parents for Educational Freedom North Carolina to support education savings accounts for students with special needs in the state budget. The passage of SB 603, “Exceptional Education for Exceptional Children” will provide students between $9,000 and $21,000 per year and go into effect in the 2018-19 school year.
Ensure charter schools receive more equitable and timely funding.
NorthCarolinaCAN championed the Equitable Charter Transportation Grant Program, which adds $2.5 million in transportation grants for charter schools that primarily serve low-income students. This program was signed into the budget and will begin immediately in the upcoming 2017-18 school year.
Ensure the robust implementation of the new Achievement School District.
NorthCarolinaCAN executive director Marcus Brandon was appointed chair of the implementation committee for the re-named Innovation School District. In this role, Marcus helped secure $900,000 in additional funds for the program and expanded the number of eligible communities.
Advocate for a comprehensive school accountability system including student academic achievement and growth.
NorthCarolinaCAN worked with both chambers of the state legislature to increase accountability under ESSA, securing metrics to measure school performance. However, the final bill did not include NorthCarolinaCAN’s rate of proficiency and growth for measurement—an issue NorthCarolinaCAN will continue to advocate for in 2018.
We know that the end of a legislative session or the passage of a bill is not the end of our work, but rather a step in a continuing journey to bring a high-quality education to all kids, regardless of their address. We aim to learn from our successes and setbacks as we chart the path forward—and look forward to sharing our next update on our work in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in the fall. In the meantime, you can always follow along with the work our advocates are doing in the field on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.