Education

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multiple choice test
Alberto G. / Flickr Creative Commons

One high school freshman is determined to change how the new grading scale will be implemented in public schools next year.

Parker Renberg, a freshman at Leesville Road High School in Wake County, says he’s upset that the grading scale changes will not affect him or any other current high school student.

Instead, it’ll begin with next year’s freshman class. They’ll be graded on a 10-point scale, instead of a 7-point scale. That means an A will be a 90-to-100 instead of 93-to-100.

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Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now a conversation with UNC's Chancellor Carol Folt. I began asking by her about the accusation you just heard - that this report is a whitewash.

    

From 1993 to 2011, more than 3,000 students at UNC-Chapel Hill took classes that did not require them to show up.

They were told only to submit a final paper, and they got artificially inflated grades. Nearly half were student-athletes who benefitted from the classes by remaining eligible to play.

Those findings were released Wednesday from former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein, who had been commissioned by the university to investigate academic fraud.

Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan
NC General Assembly/US Senate

    

As the midterm elections get closer, education is a prominent topic in North Carolina’s congressional races. 

#SocialMediaNC via Twitter

On Wednesday, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced the results of an independent investigation conducted by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein into past academic irregularities at Carolina. WUNC's Jeff Tiberii was at the press conference. Here are his tweets, along with some others (most recent tweet first):

Kenan Memorial Stadium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
William Yeung / Flickr/Creative Commons

Update Thursday 9:04 a.m.:

Kenneth Wainstein says academic fraud at UNC Chapel Hill began more than 20 years ago. The former federal prosecutor detailed the findings of his eight-month investigation Wednesday. It’s the latest in a series of investigations that marks one of the worst scandals in the school’s 225-year history.

East Chapel Hill High School students
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

A state commission in charge of reworking the Common Core academic standards has begun reviewing them.  

Members spent hours on Monday learning what's expected under Common Core in terms of English and language arts. Some of those goals include when students should know how to explain their ideas or comprehend certain texts.  

The 11 members were politically appointed to review and possibly make changes to the academic standards after lawmakers heard complaints from parents and teachers that they do not progress in a natural or developmentally appropriate way.

Teen Suicide
www.teensuicideprevention.org

About 900 people are expected to attend the National Symposium on Juvenile Services this week in Greensboro.  The five-day event includes panel discussions, trainings on youth development strategies and research presentations to better understand brain development in adolescents.

Seminar topics include:

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall
UNC History Department website

  

When Jacquelyn Dowd Hall started the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 40 years ago, documenting the lives of ordinary people was not part of most history departments.

Students at lunch
U.S. Department of Agriculture

About 650 schools throughout the state are opting into a program to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students.

It is part of a new program called Community Eligibility Provision, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The idea is to allow schools with high percentages of low-income children to offer free meals for all, instead of collecting individual applications for free and reduced price meals.

In Durham, 10 schools are offering free meals to all students.

high school students
Vancouver Film School via Flickr/Creative Commons

North Carolina’s average SAT score from high school seniors is slightly improving, but is below the national average.

The 2014 senior class posted an average score of 1483 on the SAT college admission test, up four points from last year’s. A perfect score is 2400, with the three sections on the test graded on a 200-800 point scale.

The average score is 14 points below the national average of 1497. North Carolina students did not perform as well as their national peers in writing and math.

school supplies
Flickr via Robert S. Donovan

In North Carolina public schools, formal assessments do not begin until third grade, but many students develop learning problems long before then. That’s why education leaders say they are rolling out a statewide plan to begin assessing students in the earlier years.

Now, that does not mean five- and six-year-olds will have more paper and pencil tests. Instead, the responsibility will fall on teachers to track the development of their students.

Formative Assessments In A Kindergarten Classroom

Books
Reema Khrais

 Across the state, 79.2 percent of third-grade students showed they were proficient last year, according to a report presented to the State Board of Education on Thursday. 

A total of 12.7 percent of third-grade students were either retained in the third-grade or placed in transitional or accelerated classes. The remaining students were exempt because they are either English Language Learners or have learning disabilities. 

multiple choice test
Alberto G. / Flickr Creative Commons

  North Carolina’s high schools will move to a 10-point grading scale in 2015-16, going into effect with next year's freshmen. 

The State Board of Education approved the change on Thursday, moving away from the 7-point scale that has long been in place.

The 7-point scale means that a score between 93 and 100 is an A, 85-92 is a B, and so on.

Under the new scale, an A will be 90 to 100, and an 80 will be the lowest B. Scores below 60 will be considered failing.  

Flickr/Creative Commons
Image of A flag for each of the potential 3000 women that will be assaulted on a campus the size of University of Oregon, based on national averages

  

One in five women and one in 16 men is sexually assaulted on campus according to the National Institute of Justice

More than 300 teachers across the state have participated so far in our #TeachingInNC project.  It's where we ask teachers to give us a snapshot of their lives, using words or pictures. We hope that, collectively, these snippets will give "the rest of us" a sense of what it's like to be a teacher in NC. 

Most teachers are sending in their snapshots via Twitter, but some are using Instagram. This one made us laugh.

That same teacher also submitted this:

>>Browse all 701+ submissions here.

NC Teacher Project
Dave DeWitt

During lunchtime, school counselor Kim Hall takes a break from her desk and roams the hallways of Providence Grove High School.

On her five-minute walk, she encourages a senior to apply to UNC, consoles a student dealing with a scratchy throat and reminds a young teenager to see a teacher.

“We try to make sure that we’re accessible to students during their free times,” Hall says.

Hall has been a school counselor for 29 years. She says she tries to make more time for students as her clerical duties have grown over the years.

This photo was taken at the first meeting of the review commission.
Reema Khrais

Advocates and opponents of the Common Core curriculum have debated its merits since its adoption in North Carolina in 2012. 

This photo was taken at the first meeting of the review commission.
Reema Khrais

A state commission reviewing the Common Core academic standards for public school students met for the first time on Monday.

The politically-appointed commission has until December 2015 to look over the English and Math standards, and possibly make recommendations to the NC State Board of Education.   

The review comes after months of complaints from parents and teachers. Many of them say the math and English standards are developmentally inappropriate for younger children, while others have equated Common Core to a federal takeover of education.

Classroom
WUNC File Photo

Wake County officials are drafting new plans to reassign some students next school year.

School reassignment has been one of the most contentious topics in the Wake County school system. Officials didn't make any assignment changes last year for the current school year because only one new school opened up.

But 17 new schools are slated to open in the next few years to keep pace with the fast-growing county.

“Twenty-two babies are born every day in Wake County hospitals,” said school board member Christine Kushner. “That’s a kindergarten class born every day.”

Senate Majority PAC
Senate Majority PAC/YouTube

Education is a central theme in the race between Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis. Both U.S. Senate candidates have highlighted the issue as they try to gain an advantage in what has been a tight contest. 

Hagan has argued that Tillis is not prioritizing public schools and education. She claims that he cut about $500 million in education spending.

“His priorities even speak louder than his words,” Hagan said during her first debate with Tillis. “...The fact that he gave tax cuts to the millionaires. He cut education by $500 million.”

Hana Pichova is a UNC professor and author that escaped communism 35 years ago and she's been making the most of her opportunities ever since.
gazette.unc.edu

Hana Pichova grew up under a totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia during the 1970s. 

For Pichova, opportunities for learning and discovery were rare under the control of the communist government.

At 18, she and her parents fled to Switzerland. Pichova decided she wanted to  immigrate to America. Unbeknownst to her parents, she went to the German border to seek political asylum. When they learned of her move, they decided to follow her, despite their reservations. 

East Chapel Hill High School students
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

 More public school students passed their standardized exams last year than in the previous year, in part because of changes to the grading scale that made it easier for students to be considered proficient.

The overall passing rate, across all subjects, was about 56 percent. Results are based on end-of-grade tests in reading, science and math, and end-of-course tests in three high school subjects.

school nurse
NC Parents Advocating For School Health

Teri Saurer is a parent, and like any parent she got a little anxious a few years ago when her daughter, Hannah, was about to head off to kindergarten.

“Hannah had a prior history of epilepsy and she now has life-threatening food allergies,” Saurer explains. “I was very concerned sending her to school. So I looked into the nurse situation and I was very surprised to find out that there was not a nurse in her school every day.”

The school is located along state highway 150 in Guilford County.
Jeff Tiberii

One of the nation's oldest military schools is located just a few miles northwest of Greensboro. Oak Ridge Military Academy recently began its 163rd academic year. However, for a time it looked as though the school was going to close. In the face of growing competition, low enrollment and unstable leadership, the academy changed course.  And for now Oak Ridge marches on.

This week North Carolina Public Radio is looking at school communities. This is the fourth installment of a five-part series.
 

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