NC Human Capital Roundtable used “Vegas Rules” to ensure its work on Pathways to Excellence remained secret

According to meeting notes obtained via public records request, the North Carolina Human Capital Roundtable had a policy of following “Vegas Rules” to ensure its work on creating the Pathways to Excellence teacher licensure/compensation reform proposal would remain secret.

The Human Capital Roundtable, which included high-ranking employees of the Department of Public Instruction and a member of the State Board of Education, was convened in early 2019 under the facilitation of Atlanta-based nonprofit Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).

The group worked for two years on drafting the framework for the controversial merit pay plan. Meetings were never announced to the public, and journalists who did get wind of meetings were barred from attending by SREB’s project manager. That same project manager also claimed that “minutes were not taken”:

To date none of the group’s meeting notes–which definitely do exist–or working documents have been made public by SREB.

Notes from the group’s January 28, 2020 meeting reveal the extent of the Human Capital Roundtable’s focus on secrecy.

At this meeting, a small focus group was invited to listen to a presentation of an early draft of Pathways to Excellence and then provide feedback. Human Capital Roundtable member and PEPSC Chair Dr. Patrick Miller kicked off the meeting by welcoming focus group participants and advising them that Vegas Rules were in effect (highlighting is mine):

After the focus group had concluded, the meeting continued with just Human Capital Roundtable members present.

During that portion of the meeting, the Human Capital Roundtable gave member Geoff Coltrane permission to suspend Vegas Rules and discuss the group’s work with another entity

The Human Capital Roundtable was engaged in drafting what the group hoped/hopes will become official North Carolina public policy. The fact that this group very intentionally eschewed transparency while it did so should concern all North Carolinians.

An agenda for the meeting and the meeting notes document are embedded below. Besides revealing the group’s hyper focus on secrecy, the January 28, 2020 meeting is also noteworthy in that it was Best NC CEO Brenda Berg’s first meeting as a Human Capital Roundtable member. The last 4-5 pages of the notes document are Berg’s thoughts.

Human Capital Roundtable January 28, 2020 meeting agenda and facilitation guide:


Human Capital Roundtable January 28, 2020 meeting notes:


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