“NO” on Race-Based Hiring Discrimination in North Carolina (Sections 1.10-1.12 of HB 885)

Name: North Carolina HB 885, Sound Basic Education for Every Child

Summary: While most of the bill focuses on education funding, Sections 1.10-1.12 of the bill seek to incentivize hiring based on race, annually reporting the racial makeup and “education equity” of schools, and establishing an Office of Equity Affairs in the State Board of Education.

Status: In House Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations

Bill Sponsor: Rep. Julie von Haefen, Rep. Rosa Gill, Rep. Cynthia Ball, and Rep. Lindsey Prather are the primary sponsors of the bill. Rep. von Haefen has represented District 36 since 2019, Rep. Gill has represented District 33 since 2009, Rep. Ball has represented District 49 since 2017, and Rep. Prather, a teacher, has represented District 115 since 2023.

A sponsor is a legislator who presents a bill to the legislature to be considered for a vote

Bill Breakdown: 

HB 885 appropriates funds for teacher, school staff, and school administrator training, hiring, and retention. It also increases funding for various high-need categories, including students with disabilities or limited English proficiency, schools in low-income areas, etc. It also provides funding for a community school pilot program and for early childhood education.

As part of the bill’s aims to hire teachers, Sections 1.10-1.12 of the bill propose a grant for hiring and training teachers of color. Grant funds are designated to be used for financial aid for people of color in higher education who may be considering becoming teachers, along with providing financial support for affinity groups and professional conferences for teachers of color. The bill also requires an annual report about the race and ethnicity of all teachers in public schools, accompanied with recommendations for schools to recruit racially diverse teachers. Finally, section 1.12 of the bill establishes the Office of Equity Affairs in the State Board of Education, whose role is to recruit and retain a racially diverse workforce.

Why did PDE Action oppose this bill? 

PDE Action supports appropriate and necessary funding of teachers and schools, and of hiring high-quality educators. Families should be able to trust schools to hire the most qualified candidates to oversee their children’s education. 

PDE Action is concerned by Sections 1.10-1.12 of this bill. Racial discrimination has no place in the classroom, and teachers and prospective teachers should not be given preference in hiring decisions based on their race. Likewise, supplemental funds for teacher trainings, professional development, and financial aid for their own education should not be granted to teachers on the basis of race.