GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2017

H 1

HOUSE BILL 339*

 

 

Short Title: North Carolina Teaching Fellows.

(Public)

Sponsors:

Representatives Horn, Ross, Grange, and Iler (Primary Sponsors).

For a complete list of sponsors, refer to the North Carolina General Assembly web site.

Referred to:

Education - Universities, if favorable, Appropriations

March 15, 2017

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to Reestablish the north carolina Teaching fellows program.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.(a) Article 23 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Part to read:

"Part 3. North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.

" 116‑209.60. Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Part:

(1) Commission. The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission.

(2) Director. The Director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.

(3) Forgivable loan. A forgivable loan made under the Program.

(4) Fund. The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program Fund.

(5) Program. The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.

(6) Public school. An elementary or secondary school located in North Carolina that is governed by a local board of education, charter school board of directors, regional school board of directors, or University of North Carolina laboratory school board of trustees.

(7) STEM. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

" 116‑209.61. North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission established; membership.

(a) Commission Established. There is established the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission. The Commission shall determine program and forgivable loan recipient selection criteria, selection procedures, and shall select the recipients to receive forgivable loans under the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program in accordance with the requirements of this Part. The Director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program shall appoint staff to the Commission.

(b) Membership. The Commission shall consist of 14 members appointed or shall serve as ex officio members as follows:

(1) The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina shall appoint seven members to the Commission as follows:

a. Two deans of approved schools of education at postsecondary constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina.

b. The president of a North Carolina community college.

c. A teacher who graduated from an approved educator preparation program located in the State within three years of appointment to serve on the Commission.

d. A principal who graduated from an approved educator preparation program located in the State.

e. A local board of education member.

f. A member to represent business and industry in North Carolina.

(2) The General Assembly shall appoint two members to the Commission in accordance with G.S. 120‑121 as follows:

a. One dean of an approved school of education at a private postsecondary institution operating in the State upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

b. One dean of an approved school of education at a private postsecondary institution operating in the State upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

(3) The following five members shall serve as ex officio members to the Commission:

a. The North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

b. The North Carolina Principal of the Year.

c. The North Carolina Superintendent of the Year.

d. The chair of the Board of the State Education Assistance Authority.

e. The Director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.

(c) Terms of Office. Appointments to the Commission shall be for two‑year terms, expiring on July 1 in odd‑numbered years. Members serving ex officio, other than the chair of the Board of the State Education Assistance Authority and Director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, who have otherwise completed their term of service, shall continue to serve on the Commission until July 1, annually.

(d) Vacancies. Except as otherwise provided, if a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Commission, the appointing authority shall appoint another person meeting the same qualifications to serve for the balance of the unexpired term.

(e) Chair; Meetings. The Director of the Program shall call the first meeting of the Commission. The Commission members shall elect a chair and a vice‑chair from the membership of the Commission to serve one‑year terms. The Commission shall meet regularly at times and places deemed necessary by the chair or, in the absence of the chair, by the vice‑chair.

(f) Conflict of Interest. A member of the Commission shall abstain from voting on the selection of an educator preparation program of a postsecondary constituent institution of The University of North Carolina or a private postsecondary institution operating in the State under G.S. 116‑209.62(f) if the member is an officer or employee of the institution or sits as a member of the institution's board of directors.

(g) Expenses. Commission members shall receive per diem, subsistence, and travel allowances in accordance with G.S. 138‑5 or G.S. 138‑6, as appropriate.

" 116‑209.62. North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program established; administration.

(a) Program. There is established the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program to be administered by the General Administration of The University of North Carolina, in conjunction with the Authority and the Commission. The purpose of the Program is to recruit, prepare, and support students residing in or attending institutions of higher education located in North Carolina for preparation as highly effective STEM or special education teachers in the State's public schools. The Program shall be used to provide a forgivable loan to individuals interested in preparing to teach in the public schools of the State in STEM or special education licensure areas.

(b) Fund. There is established the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program Fund to be administered by the Authority, in conjunction with the General Administration of The University of North Carolina. All funds (i) appropriated to, or otherwise received by, the Program for forgivable loans; (ii) all funds received as repayment of forgivable loans; and (iii) all interest earned on these funds shall be placed in the Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to provide financial assistance to qualified students for completion of teacher education and licensure programs to fill STEM or special education licensure areas in the public schools of the State.

(c) Uses of Monies in the Fund. The monies in the Fund may be used only for forgivable loans granted under the Program, administrative costs associated with the Program, including recruitment and recovery of funds advanced under the Program, and extracurricular enhancement activities of the Program. The Authority may use up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) from the Fund in each fiscal year for its administrative costs, the salary of the Director of the Program, and expenses of the Commission. The Commission may use up to three hundred fifty thousand dollars ($350,000) each fiscal year for the extracurricular enhancement activities of the Program.

(d) Director of the Program. The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina shall appoint a Director of the Program. The Director shall appoint staff to the Commission and shall be responsible for recruitment and coordination of the Program, including proactive, aggressive, and strategic recruitment of potential recipients. Recruitment activities shall include (i) targeting regions of the State with the highest teacher attrition rates and teacher recruitment challenges; (ii) actively engaging with educators, business leaders, experts in human resources, elected officials, and other community leaders throughout the State; and (iii) attracting candidates in STEM and special education licensure areas to the Program. The Authority shall provide office space and clerical support staff, as necessary, to the Director for the Program.

(e) Student Selection Criteria for Forgivable Loans. The Commission shall adopt stringent standards for awarding forgivable loans based on multiple measures to ensure that only the strongest applicants receive them, including the following:

(1) Grade point averages.

(2) Performance on relevant career and college readiness assessments.

(3) Experience, accomplishments, and other criteria demonstrating qualities positively correlated with highly effective teachers, including excellent verbal and communication skills.

(4) Demonstrated commitment to serve in a STEM or special education licensure area in North Carolina public schools.

(f) Program Selection Criteria. The Authority shall administer the Program in cooperation with five institutions of higher education with approved educator preparation programs selected by the Commission that represent both postsecondary constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina and private postsecondary institutions operating in the State. The Commission shall adopt stringent standards for selection of the most effective educator preparation programs, including the following:

(1) Demonstrates high rates of educator effectiveness on value‑added models and teacher evaluations, including using performance‑based, subject‑specific assessment and support systems, such as edTPA or other metrics of evaluating candidate effectiveness that have predictive validity.

(2) Demonstrates measurable impact of prior graduates on student learning, including impact of graduates teaching in STEM or special education licensure areas.

(3) Demonstrates high rates of graduates passing exams required for teacher licensure.

(4) Provides curricular and co‑curricular enhancements in leadership, facilitates learning for diverse learners, and promotes community engagement, classroom management, and reflection and assessment.

(5) Requires at least a minor concentration of study in the subject area that the candidate may teach.

(6) Provides early and frequent internship or practical experiences, including the opportunity for participants to perform practicums in diverse school environments.

(7) Is approved by the State Board of Education as an educator preparation program.

(g) Awards of Forgivable Loans. The Program shall provide forgivable loans to selected students to be used at the five selected institutions for completion of a program leading to teacher licensure as follows:

(1) North Carolina high school seniors. Forgivable loans of up to eight thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($8,250) per year for up to four years.

(2) Students applying for transfer to a selected educator preparation program at an institution of higher education. Forgivable loans of up to eight thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($8,250) per year for up to three years.

(3) Individuals currently holding a bachelor's degree seeking preparation for teacher licensure. Forgivable loans of up to eight thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($8,250) per year for up to two years.

(4) Students matriculating at institutions of higher education who are changing to enrollment in a selected educator preparation program. Forgivable loans of up to eight thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($8,250) per year for up to two years.

Forgivable loans may be used for tuition, fees, and the cost of books.

(h) Identification of STEM and Special Education Licensure Areas. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall identify and provide to the Commission and the Authority a list of STEM and special education licensure areas and shall annually provide to the Commission the number of available positions in each licensure area relative to the number of current and anticipated teachers in that area of licensure. The Commission shall make the list of STEM and special education licensure areas readily available to applicants.

(i) Administration of Forgivable Loan Awards. Upon the naming of recipients of the forgivable loans by the Commission, the Commission shall transfer to the Authority its decisions. The Authority, in coordination with the Director, shall perform all of the administrative functions necessary to implement this Part, which functions shall include rule making, dissemination of information, liaison with participating institutions of higher education, implementing forgivable loan agreements, loan monitoring, loan cancelling through service and collection, determination of the acceptability of service repayment agreements, enforcing the agreements, and all other functions necessary for the execution, payment, and enforcement of promissory notes required under this Part.

(j) Annual Report. The Commission, in coordination with the Authority, shall report no later than January 1, 2019, and annually thereafter, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee regarding the following:

(1) Forgivable loans awarded from the Fund, including the following:

a. Demographic information regarding recipients.

b. Number of recipients by institution of higher education and program.

c. Information on number of recipients by anticipated STEM and special education licensure area.

(2) Placement and repayment rates, including the following:

a. Number of graduates who have been employed in a STEM or special education licensure area within two years of program completion.

b. Number of graduates who accepted employment at a low‑performing school identified under G.S. 115C‑105.37 as part of their years of service.

c. Number of graduates who have begun loan repayment and their years of service, if any, prior to beginning loan repayment.

d. Number of graduates employed in a STEM or special education licensure area who have received an overall rating of at least accomplished and have met expected growth on applicable standards of the teacher evaluation instrument.

e. Aggregate information on student growth and proficiency in courses taught by graduates who have fulfilled service requirements through employment in a STEM or special education licensure area.

(3) Selected school outcomes by program, including the following:

a. Turnover rate for forgivable loan graduates.

b. Aggregate information on student growth and proficiency in courses taught by forgivable loan graduates.

c. Fulfillment rate of forgivable loan graduates.

" 116‑209.63. Terms of forgivable loans; receipt and disbursement of funds.

(a) Notes. All forgivable loans shall be evidenced by notes made payable to the Authority that bear interest at a rate not to exceed ten percent (10%) per year as set by the Authority and beginning 90 days after completion of the program leading to teacher licensure, or 90 days after termination of the forgivable loan, whichever is earlier. The forgivable loan may be terminated upon the recipient's withdrawal from school or by the recipient's failure to meet the standards set by the Commission.

(b) Forgiveness. The Authority shall forgive the loan and any interest accrued on the loan if, within 10 years after graduation from a program leading to teacher licensure, exclusive of any authorized deferment for extenuating circumstances, the recipient serves as a teacher in a STEM or special education licensure area, as provided in G.S. 116‑209.61(h), for every year the teacher was awarded the forgivable loan, in any combination of the following:

(1) One year at a North Carolina public school identified as low‑performing under G.S. 115C‑105.37 at the time the teacher accepts employment at the school or, if the teacher changes employment during this period, at another school identified as low‑performing.

(2) Two years at a North Carolina public school not identified as low‑performing under G.S. 115C‑105.37.

The Authority shall also forgive the loan if it finds that it is impossible for the recipient to work for up to eight years, within 10 years after completion of the program leading to teacher licensure, at a North Carolina public school because of the death or permanent disability of the recipient. If the recipient repays the forgivable loan by cash payments, all indebtedness shall be repaid within eight years after completion of the program leading to teacher licensure supported by the forgivable loan. If the recipient completes a program leading to teacher licensure, payment of principal and interest shall begin no later than 27 months after the completion of the program. Should a recipient present extenuating circumstances, the Authority may extend the period to repay the loan in cash to no more than a total of 12 years."

SECTION 1.(b) Initial appointments to the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission shall be made no later than August 15, 2017. Initial appointments to the Commission shall expire July 1, 2019.

SECTION 1.(c) The Commission shall establish initial selection criteria for recipients and select the five institutions of higher education with approved educator preparation programs at which a recipient may use a forgivable loan no later than November 15, 2017, and shall make available applications to prospective students no later than December 31, 2017.

SECTION 1.(d) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall establish the list of STEM and special education licensure areas and provide that information to the Commission and Authority no later than October 1, 2017.

SECTION 1.(e) The Commission shall select recipients and award the initial forgivable loans for the 2018‑2019 academic year no later than April 1, 2018.

SECTION 1.(f) There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina (i) for the 2017‑2018 fiscal year, the sum of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) in nonrecurring funds to be used to implement the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program (Program), as established by this section, and (ii) for the 2018‑2019 fiscal year, the sum of six million dollars ($6,000,000) in recurring funds to be used for the operation of the Program and for the award of forgivable loans to selected recipients beginning with the 2018‑2019 academic year.

SECTION 2. G.S. 116‑209.27(a) reads as rewritten:

"(a) The Authority shall, as of March 1, 2015, administer all outstanding scholarship loans previously awarded by the former North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission and subject to repayment under the former Teaching Fellows Program.Program administered pursuant to Part 2 of Article 24C of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes."

SECTION 3. This act becomes effective July 1, 2017.