CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina state lawmakers have passed two bills aimed at helping students who have been adversely affected by virtual learning during the past school year.
House Bill 82 would require all school districts to offer at least six weeks of in-person summer school for K-12 students who have fallen behind during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers who sign up to teacher at these summer camps would receive signing and performance bonuses.
Senate Bill 387, known as the Excellent Schools Act, would train teachers on how to improve students' reading skills before they reach third grade. The bill is a hybrid of previously proposed legislation. It would mandate that elementary school teachers be trained in scientific methods of reading instruction that emphasize phonics, vocabulary and spelling.
"We know that virtual learning is tantamount to no education," said Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham County).
Both bills passed the Republican-controlled House and Senate by overwhelming margins and will head to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk. It's unclear if Cooper will sign the bills as presented, but Berger says it's critical that both of these bills become law. Parents know firsthand just how important this extra instruction is.
"Personally, as a third-grade parent, my son has EOGs (End of Grade tests) for the first time this year," said Nicole Brown. "He needs this month in class with the teacher really harping and going over things that he has to learn for this testing, some things that I can't provide."