K-12 Education Legislative Update - Friday, March 6, 2020

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K12 Education Legislation Update

State Board of Education Vision: Every public school student in North Carolina will be empowered to accept academic challenges, prepared to pursue their chosen path after graduating high school, and encouraged to become lifelong learners with the capacity to engage in a globally-collaborative society
State Board of Education Mission: The mission of the North Carolina State Board of Education is to use its constitutional authority to guard and maintain the right of a sound, basic education for every child in North Carolina Public Schools. 

March 6, 2020

Honoring the Lives of Our NC Public Education Champions

The NC State Board of Education would like to honor several key NC Public Education advocates who lost their lives recently, including, Representative and Co-Chair for the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, Linda Johnson, former Lt. Governor, Bob Jordan, and Cumberland County School Board Member and CREED NC Equity Fellow, Porcha McMillan. We thank them and honor them for their dedication to the profession we hold so dearly in our daily actions and lives.


NC Public School Champions

The Week In Review and Looking Forward




OVERVIEW of the WEEK- March 2nd- March 6th, 2020


Welcome to the newest edition of the NC State Board of Education's "K-12 Education Legislative Update." The NC General Assembly reconvened on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, and ratified Resolution 2020-1 Senate Joint Resolution 703, which adjourned the regular session of the 2019 General Assembly until the Legislative Short Session, which will begin on Tuesday, April 28th, 2020, at 12 Noon. This bill also limits the matters that may be considered during the Short Session as outlined in Sections 2 through Section 4.


Several Legislative Committees have met over the last few weeks, including the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee (JLEOC), co-chaired by Senator Deanna Ballard and Representative Craig Horn, discussing a myriad of topics including: an overview of Educator Preparation Program (EPP) recent legislation; the impact of the implementation of SB 599 (Excellent Educators in Every Classroom) and proposed weighted performance models for EPPs; national school breakfast and lunch programs, including the Community Eligibility Program (CEP); perspectives from No Kid Hungry, Bladen County, and Cumberland County; and discussions on Perkins V authorization and DPI's perspective on CTE. 


The NC State Board of Education also discussed their legislative priorities in the 2020-2021 Funding Requests, which included:

  • Early Grades Literacy
  • Teacher and Principal Preparation, Professional Learning Opportunities, and Compensation 
  • School Accountability and Teacher Effectiveness Models
  • School and District Assistance and Turnaround
  • Connecting High School to Post-secondary and Career Opportunities
  • Supporting the Whole Child, including Social/ Emotional and Mental Health Support, as well as Child Nutrition programs (Second Chance Breakfast)

Next week's edition will provide an update on the Wednesday, March 11th, 2020, JLEOC meeting which will discuss the action plan to "Study and Expand the Computer Science Program to All Students."


Thank-You, to all of my fellow "Educator Diplomats" across the state of North Carolina, for your hard work, dedication, and voice, in advocating, supporting, and serving the students of our NC Public Schools. I applaud you, appreciate you, and honor you. Enjoy your weekend and I will update and inform you all next Friday. It is my duty, my privilege, and my honor, to represent the NC State Board of Education as we strive to move NC Public Education forward.


Freebird McKinney, Director of Legislative and Community Affairs


Freebird Head Shot 2

The NC State Board of Education  Welcomes New Legislative and Community Affairs Director- Freebird McKinney

The NC State Board of Education has hired Freebird McKinney as its new Director of Legislative and Community Affairs. In this role, Freebird serves as the primary contact and staff for the State Board of Education (SBE) with state and federal education policy makers and stakeholders, including the NC General Assembly, the Governor’s Office, state agencies and the U.S. Congress/ Senate. Mr. McKinney is passionate about education, building relationships and being an “Educator Diplomat.”  Freebird’s life journey is best described as a calling to teach, to extend the desire to seek the adventure of learning and to empower people to answer their calling. He is known as a consummate bridge builder.


McKinney emulates what an engaged citizen looks like as a husband, father, son, teacher and a community advocate. As a citizen of “The Shire,” Burlington, NC, Freebird lives with his wife, Kelly, and their two children, Dorothy Gail, and Jeremiah. His fifteen years in the classroom, work as an adjunct professor at Elon University and time as the Alamance Burlington School System coordinator for community outreach cultivated his desire to serve as an education advocate. As the former 2018 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, he served as the Teacher Adviser to the State Board of Education. In this position, he identified high-stake SBE policy and General Assembly legislation for public schools across North Carolina. Freebird also visited 78 school districts and 26 colleges and universities across the state. In his words, he took notes, reflected, asked questions, and thought about how each individual learning community is a model in their own way. He took that knowledge and applied it to his service on the Professional Educators Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) and in his partnership with the N.C. Regional Teachers of the Year.


Many describe him as “a person who believes that education’s true purpose is not to simply produce better human beings, but to produce conscious, conscientious, compassionate, civic-minded, and contributing citizens for one’s community.” When summing up his new role McKinney states, “Our job is to help our students on the path as our teachers did for us. Regardless of our role in life, we are all educators — we are all village teachers — Now it is time to answer a new calling. Indeed, The Shire has now grown.”


We look forward to Mr. McKinney’s leadership in advancing our partnership with the General Assembly and other stakeholders as he continues to demonstrate his commitment to education.


Chairman Eric Davis 


NC State Board of Education Seal

NC State Board of Education - March Meeting

The NC SBE held their monthly meeting this week on Wednesday, March 4, and Thursday, March 5. 


The agendas can be found through the links below:

  • Agenda for March 4 located here.
  • Agenda for March 5 located here.

Live Audio Streaming of SBE meetings are available at this link.

Legislative Update: Mr. Freebird McKinney - Director of Legislative and Community Affairs

SBE Leg Update 3.5.20

TOP 5 Items from the Legislative Update

  1. Thank-You for the "Warm Welcome"
  2. Celebrating the Lives of Education Champions- Bob Jordan, Linda Johnson, and Porcha McMillan
  3. The NC General Assembly's House and Senate Reconvene for the 2020 Legislative Short Session on Tuesday, April 28th, at 12 Noon (SJR 730)
  4. 49 Education-Related Bills Became Session Law in 2019 and Other Legislative Committee News 
  5. Legislative Priorities for NC SBE 2020-2021 Funding Requests


  • LINK to Legislative Presentation - March 5, 2020
  • LINK to Legislative Update - March 5, 2020

Legislative Calendar


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

12:00 p.m.: House: Session Convenes                                                          House | Audio

12:00 p.m.: Senate: Session Convenes                                                        Senate | Audio

Interim Committee Meetings - Related

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee  Co-Chairs: Sen. Deanna Ballard | Rep. Craig Horn

House Select Committee on School Safety   Co-Chairs: Rep. David Lewis | Rep. John Torbett

Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee  Co-Chairs: Sen. Brent Jackson | Rep. Craig Horn

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government  Co-Chairs: John Alexander | Rep. George Cleveland | Rep. Dennis Riddell

Child Fatality Task Force   Chair: Karen McLeod, President and CEO Benchmarks

  • Monday, March 16, 2020 – Agenda to be determined

Notable New K-12 Public Education Laws


NCGA Summary of 2019 Education Legislation


SL 2019-71: (SB 219) Modify Teacher Licensing Requirements -Makes various changes to statutes regarding the testing for the initial professional teacher (IPL) licensure; creates one-year extension for IPL for certain teachers; creates a limited teaching license for out-of-state teachers; authorizes local boards of education to determine commensurate pay level; and reduce the lifetime teaching license requirement from 50 to 30 years.  BILL SUMMARY 


SL 2019-110: (SB 399) Rehire High-Need Teachers - Permits retired teachers to return to work in certain high-needs schools without adversely impacting their retirement benefits.  BILL SUMMARY


SL 2019-154: (HB 362) 15-Point Scale For School Performance Grades - Adopts a fifteen-point scale in the determination of school performance grades, requires SBE to adopt emergency rules in preparation for permanent rule making, and directs SBE to study the reporting methods used for school accountability purposes on the NC annual school report cards.  BILL SUMMARY


SL 2019-212: (SB 621) Testing Reduction Act of 2019 - Reduces testing administered to students in public schools and makes various technical and clarifying changes related to education laws.  BILL SUMMARY


SL 2019-222: (HB 75School Safety Funds, Programs, and Reports - An act to appropriate funds for school safety, require an annual report on school resource officers, establish certain school safety grants programs, require the development of a recommended school mental health crisis response program, require annual reports on school mental health support personnel.  BILL SUMMARY     


SL 2019-247: (HB 377) Teacher Step Act - An act to ensure teachers, instructional support personnel, and assistant principals receive salary increases based on years of experience, to authorize salary supplements for highly qualified NC teaching graduates, and, consistent with HB 966 to appropriate funds to provide legislatively mandated salary increases for principals.   BILL SUMMARY 

  • Complete List of Bills that are Session Law here.
  • List of K-12 Pubilc Education Bills that are Session Law here.
  • For complete bill history and summaries, click on the bill link.
DPI Logo
  • 2019 Long Session link for bills impacting K-12 education.
  • LINK to K-12 Public Education Bills that made Crossover.
  • NCGA Crossover List - LINK.

North Carolina State Board of Education
State of the Shire”—Community Affairs Update

SBE Region Map

North Carolina State Board of Education- Events

"The State of the Shire"- February

The NC State Board of Education is excited to bring a new piece to the weekly Legislative Update, "The State of the Shire"- a recap of "Bridge Building" events that were represented at by our staff, showcasing the geographically diverse attendance and variety of initiatives and programs with which the NC SBE is collaborating. 

  • My Future NC: "Kick-Off Celebration"- Greensboro, NC on 2/10/2020
  • State Superintendent Candidate Forum- Student Town Hall: the Edgecombe Early College High School (hosted by EdNC) on 2/11/2020
  • Black History Month Celebration: the NC Governor's Mansion on 2/11/2020
  • NC Latino/ Hispanic Education Workforce Committee: Raleigh, NC on 2/12/2020
  • Belk Foundation's "Recognizing Top Talent": Raleigh, NC on 2/12/2020
State of the Shire 1 for March
  • NC Independent Colleges and Universities- Digital Learners Symposium: Elon University on 2/14/2020
  • Clinton City Schools "Professional Learning Day"- Clinton, NC on 2/17/2020
  • NC Public School Forum "Eggs and Issues": NC State University on 2/18/2020
  • Regional Education Laboratory with RTI to Carroll Magnet Middle School- "Measuring Success through Competency Based Learning" on 2/19/2020
  • No Kid Hungry NC Leaders Conference: UNC- Chapel Hill on 2/19/2020
  • U.S. Secretary of Labor Announcement- A.I. Internships with Lt. Governor Dan Forrest: NC State University on 2/19/2020
  • Cumberland County Public Education "Town Hall": Fayetteville, NC on 2/19/2020
  • The NC PTA Winter Symposium- "Superhero Partnership Breakfast": Durham, NC on 2/29/2020

State of the Shire 2 for March

North Carolina State Board of Education- Upcoming Events

"The State of the Shire"- March (Subject to Change)

  • Informed Decision Making Collaborative on a Statewide Longitudinal Data System (Hosted by the Hunt Institute): Raleigh, NC, on 3/3/2020
  • The NC State Board of Education: Raleigh, NC, on 3/4-5/2020
  • "Equality, Liberty, and the Quest for Human Dignity" (Hosted by The John Locke Foundation): Raleigh, NC on 3/9/2020
  • NC Education Human Capital Round Table: Raleigh, NC, on 3/10/2020
  • NC Association of Student Councils State Convention: Southern Alamance High School on 03/13-15/2020
  • Profound Gentlemen's "Community Impact Assembly": Charlotte, NC, on 03/13-15/2020
  • Participate Learning Network Symposium: 03/13-14/2020
  • NC Middle School Educators Conference: Greensboro, NC, on 03/15-17/2020
  • Advocating for Families and Children Summit: Greenville, NC, on 03/19-20/2020
  • National Association of State Boards of Education Conference: Washington, DC, on 03/22-24/2020
  • The Society for Hispanic Professionals Conference: NC State University on 2/27/2020
  • NCASA Conference on Educational Leadership: 03/25-26/2020

50th Annual Youth Legislative Assembly

Be the Voice of Government



The North Carolina Youth Legislative Assembly (YLA) is a state program that continues to shape young leaders and provide them with a hands-on approach to government. The YLA program replicates a legislative atmosphere of geographic diversity similar to our legislature. In doing so, the YLA program builds, encourages, and strengthens character traits that equip students to take leadership roles in civic activities in their communities.


In April 2020, approximately 200 North Carolina high school students will convene at the NC General Assembly for YLA. If you know a high school student with an interest in government, please share this information with them. Applications for the Youth Legislative Assembly are now online and can be found at https://www.ncleg.gov/YLA. If you have questions regarding the YLA program, please contact Erica Gallion, YLA Program Coordinator, at erica.gallion@ncleg.net or (919) 301-1372. 

North Carolina General Assembly 


News Resources

National Education News Sources

State Education News Sources


Legislative Info and Acronyms 

This section includes details pertaining to acronyms and bill information referenced throughout the K-12 Education Legislative Update newsletters.


Biennium- A two-year term of legislative activity

Public Bill- Legislation enacted into law that applies to the public at large

Local Bill- Legislation put into law that has limited application (How many counties)- Local bills do not have to be signed by the governor

Sponsor- The legislator who presents a bill or resolution for consideration

Resolution- A document that expresses the sentiment or intent of the legislature or a chamber. Resolutions, when finalized, go to the Secretary of State

Glossary of Legislative Terms- LINK


DPI = NC Department of Public Instruction

LEA = Local Education Agency

NCGA North Carolina General Assembly

LB/LOB = Legislative Building/Legislative Office Building 

SBE = North Carolina State Board of Education


HB/SB = House Bill/Senate Bill

JR = Joint Resolution

SL = Session Law

GS = General Statute 

PCS = Proposed Committee Substitute 


  • Freebird McKinney –  Director of Legislative and Community Affairs | 919-807-3406  
  • Anne Murtha  –  Legislative Specialist  |  919-807-3403


To view previous Weekly Legislative Updates click here.

 The NC Department of Public instruction offers a number of topics for subscription.

  • To subscribe to the Weekly Legislative Update, click here.
  • To subscribe to other NC Department of Public Instruction topics, click here.