Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Thursday, Feb. 5. Here's what's going on around state government.
Making the Grade: The state Department of Public Instruction will release the first A-through-F grades for all public schools at about 11 a.m.
Those grades are meant to give parents and administrators an at-a-glance reference to see whether a school is doing its job.
The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 4, 2015) But many school officials say the new grades won't accurately reflect the work they do with struggling students. That's because the formula used to determine the grades relies heavily on test scores and minimizes the input of student growth – a measure of how much a student learns during the year. Schools with a higher percentage of students from low-income families are likely to struggle on the new scale.
The State Board of Education is meeting in the morning and expects to discuss the new grades at 11 a.m. At the same time, school officials say a new website reporting the grades should go live. Superintendent June Atkinson is scheduled to speak with reporters after the meeting.
At least one senator says the grading system ought to change.
Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, filed Senate Bill 30 on Wednesday, which would make student growth count towards 60 percent of a school's overall grade.
"We should measure what we value," Stein said. "The most important thing a school can do is to educate students. By increasing the weight on student growth, we will better know whether schools are teaching our students information over the course the year."
Schools that help struggling students meet or exceed learning goals should get more credit, he said.
ICYMI: Gov. Pat McCrory gave the State of the State address Wednesday, floating ideas for $2.4 billion in borrowing to pay for roads and state buildings and hinting at a plan that would allow North Carolina to draw down federal Affordable Care Act money to cover those without health insurance.
In the House: The state House is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. Members are expected to debate a proposed constitutional amendment to limit government's ability to take private property by eminent domain.
In the Senate: The Senate floor session is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. There are no bills on its calendar, and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said no votes would be taken.