Susan Fisher: The Raleigh Report

NC House of Representatives – Susan Fisher Update

The Raleigh Report

N. C. House of Representatives
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601
(919) 715-2013

From the Office of Representative Susan C. Fisher
April 8, 2008

Education has long been the focus of the state’s efforts and last year the state budgeted more than $11 billion for our public schools, community colleges and universities. As legislators, we value our youth. Several committees meet during the interim to consider issues that affect our children and school systems.

Thank you for allowing me to share this information with you. Please let me know if I can assist you in any way.

Joint Select Committee on Arts Education

Last week the Joint Select Committee on Arts Education, which I am a member, met for the first time. We heard presentations from Helga Fasciano and Christie Lynch of the state Department of Public Instruction on arts education in North Carolina. Mary Fulton, a policy analyst from the Education Commission of the States also gave a presentation on arts education. The committee will prepare a report in December.

Joint Legislative Commission on Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation

I serve on the Joint Legislative Commission on Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation which met for the first time last November. We asked several questions about how North Carolina calculates its dropout rate before learning about several successful local programs. The commission has also conducted a series of dropout hearings throughout the state to get constituent input on ways we can solve the decrease the dropout rate. At the last meeting, We focused on the New Schools Project, barriers that prevent girls from graduating, and Communities in Schools initiatives.

The commission awarded grants to 60 groups out of 307 applicants. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 were awarded to school systems, schools, agencies and nonprofits. The commission will also review research on student success, study major middle and high school reform efforts and how they may influence the dropout rate, review the courses required for graduation, and determine whether changes should be made and determine which strategies best help students remain in school when they are at risk of being retained.

The Joint Legislative Study Committee on Public School Funding Formulas

The Joint Legislative Study Committee on Public School Funding Formulas studies all public school formulas and distributions. The committee has been focusing on the allotment formula, funding history and expenditures in public schools.

The committee has recently studied student transportation costs and the education of children with disabilities and limited English proficiency. The committee has also studied the Public School Building Capital Fund, NC Lottery funding, At-Risk Student Services/Alternative Schools, improving student accountability and funding for gifted students.

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee meets regularly to keep up with developments in education programs and initiatives.

At the committee’s last meeting, several school system superintendents came to Raleigh to discuss how they would improve the services of the Department of Public Instruction. School officials are concerned about the organizational structure at DPI and about the licensure process for teachers who come to North Carolina after being licensed to teach in another state.

Howard Lee, chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Education, came to the meeting to discuss public school governance and there were presentations about programs for exceptional children. The committee heard updates on two programs designed to help students from a variety of backgrounds prepare for college and learned about efforts to integrate arts into the public school curriculum.

Legislative Study Commission on Children and Youth

Members of the Legislative Study Commission on Children and Youth will hear presentations on ways we determine whether or not a state is a good place to raise children and how North Carolina measures up to other states.

The commission will also focus on the state’s role in strengthening North Carolina families. As a start, the members will strive to coordinate activities of state departments that serve children and youth through a system that directs shared responsibility and demands accountability for actions that affect children and youth. The commission is dedicated to creating a better North Carolina that cares for our children, youth, and families so that our youth can grow into strong responsible North Carolinians.

Please remember that you can listen to each day’s committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly’s website at http://www.ncleg.net. Once on the site, select “audio,” and then make your selection – Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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