Raleigh, N.C. – Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) joined state House education and budget leaders on Tuesday to propose legislation providing weeks of additional in-classroom learning recovery for North Carolina students this summer.
House Bill 82 Summer Learning Choice for NC Families would provide six weeks of in-person instruction for North Carolina students in public schools this summer, five days a week.
In addition to academic course offerings focused on reading, math, science, and end-of-course tests, the optional summer curriculum would include enrichment electives in the arts and physical activity.
Adequate funding is available to school systems through both state and federal sources, Speaker Moore and House leaders said Tuesday. North Carolina’s school systems consistently ranked #1 in the Southeast and top-ten in the nation for education funding growth since 2018, and received $1.6 billion in federal relief this month.
North Carolina also received a positive revenue forecast last week predicting tax collections would exceed prior estimates by more than $4 billion, and it has guaranteed to “hold harmless” education funding for schools regardless of enrollment drops.
H.B. 82 is sponsored by Speaker Moore, House Education Committee Co-Chair John Torbett (R-Gaston), House Appropriations Committee Co-Chair Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), and freshman House Rep. Jeff Zenger (R-Forsyth), who spoke in support of the bill Tuesday:
“Parents are ready to see their children going back to school, and are very concerned about them falling behind,” Speaker Moore said Tuesday. “We have worked in a bipartisan way to reopen our classrooms, but this legislation goes further to give families the chance to recover learning loss of the last year.”Rep. Torbett said Tuesday, “This is about the mental health, the educational health, and the economic health, of our children. The full weight and responsibility of educating our children lies at the feet of this General Assembly. The North Carolina Constitution gives us that responsibility, and we take it extremely seriously.”Rep. Zenger said, “As a product of a single parent household, where I grew up with only my mom, what we haven’t really talked about is the economic collateral damage that has happened. All these parents are trying to make other arrangements for their kids, but they’re watching them slide farther and farther behind. This is an opportunity to help them, to help single moms who feel helpless and are watching their kids fall behind. This is a year we have defined a lot of things as essential. There is nothing more essential than our kids, their education, and their future.”Rep. Elmore, a public elementary school teacher said, “This is an excellent balance of local control and local flexibility in the development of summer programs. There is plenty of financial capacity to run these programs and pay for them so we can have a very robust summer enrichment program for our kids. Learning loss is a critical issue, and this is not a magic solution that will solve every bit of it, but it is an important step to get our kids back on track.”H.B. 82 will receive a hearing in the House Education K-12 Committee on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, at 1:00 p.m.