On Feb. 8, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed House Bill 26, the Education Omnibus, in a 75-42 vote. The bill has passed its first reading in the N.C. Senate and is currently in the Senate rules committee.
The original draft of the bill was submitted by House Republicans on Jan. 26. The bill includes proposed changes to the structure of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, as well as plans to support students' learning after pandemic disruptions.
The first part of H.B. 26 reforms the governance structure of the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching, which is an organization that enables teachers to study advanced topics in their field of interest. NCCAT also provides teachers with teaching methods they can use in their classrooms.
UNC professor Ferrel Guillory, a former member of NCCAT’s Board of Trustees, said the bill will have a significant effect on NCCAT’s independence.
H.B. 26 will change the governance structure of NCCAT from a trustees model to being run by the state superintendent and the Department of Public Instruction.
“It diminishes the independence of NCCAT and would make the future of NCCAT more dependent on whoever is elected superintendent of public instruction,” he said.
Rep. Renée Price (D-Caswell, Orange) — who voted against H.B. 26 — said this new NCCAT structure concerns her.
“The superintendent is allowed to designate full authority regarding all aspects of employment contracts, according to personnel policies and procedures, and then the board of trustees advises the superintendent," she said. "That’s really broad power.”