Education

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More than 150 Parent Teacher Association leaders from across the country have gathered at the White House. They're being recognized for their work, and getting the chance to hear from and question federal education officials. Debra Saunders-White, a former vice chancellor at UNC-Wilmington, is with the Department of Education's Office of Post-secondary Education. Speaking at today's event, she stressed the importance of Pell grants.

Youth Radio Institute: Addie Malone

Aug 10, 2012

This Summer WUNC established its first ever Youth Radio Institute. We hired five young people and two mentors  to produce reports from their communities. We'll be hearing their work over the next several Friday mornings. First up is a report from 19-year-old Addie Malone. She brought us this story from the Rogers Road neighborhood in Chapel Hill. This summer, a couple of older residents started a community center for kids in the historically black neighborhood. But they did it without adhering to local zoning or safety ordinances. So this weekend the facility is closing.

Two new single-gender academies are set to open in Wake County. The schools are designed to serve students from low-income areas.

Dave DeWitt: More than 800 students applied to be in the first classes at the Wake Leadership Academy for Boys and a similar school for girls. Just 300 will walk through the doors when they open on Monday.

Guilford county schools held a two-part symposium this week examining disparities for African-American students.

Jeff Tiberii: The event focused on disproportionate levels of discipline and below average literacy rates. Students who are black were more than three times more likely to be suspended than white students. Beth Folger is Chief academic officer for Guilford County Schools. She says several key factors led to the discrepancies.

North Carolina hit an all-time high graduation rate in 2012. More than 80 percent of high school seniors earned their diplomas.

Dave DeWitt: The 4-year graduation rate went up by more than two full percentage points from 2011. In six years, the graduation rate has gone up by nearly 12 percentage points.

School officials pointed to a wide range of local efforts to propel students to graduation. Hispanic students made the largest gain in the graduation rate.

N.C. Central is getting ready to search for a new permanent replacement for Chancellor Charlie Nelms, who abruptly announced his retirement late last week.

Dave DeWitt: When James Moeser announced he was stepping down as UNC-Chapel Hill's chancellor in 2007, he did so eight full months before he officially left the job. Chancellors at other UNC system schools typically give at least several months' notice, even if they are leaving for other positions.

A lower percentage of North Carolina's young adults are getting college degrees. That's according to census data released earlier this month.

Dave DeWitt: At the end of 2009, 37.9 percent of the state's 25-to-34 year old residents had some sort of college degree. A year later, that number fell by three-tenths of a percentage point. That comes as the national trend is going the other way.

North Carolina Central University chancellor Charlie Nelms is retiring.

Gurnal Scott: Five years to the month after becoming chancellor Nelms will step away. His colleagues describe the decision as shocking.

Kevin Rome: It's almost like a death when you don't expect it.

There's a new Dean of the Duke University Chapel. The Reverend Doctor Luke Powery is the first African-American to hold the position.

Dave DeWitt: Powery comes from the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was an assistant professor. He replaces Samuel Wells, who left Duke Chapel to return to England.

Powery was one of several who gave guest sermons at Duke Chapel in recent months. The one he delivered in June was called "Why Are You Afraid?"

A former professor at UNC-Chapel Hill has resigned from the University of Michigan amid allegations he fabricated research while in Chapel Hill.

Dave DeWitt: Lawrence Sanna is a social psychologist. In 2011, he published several papers that showed people who stood in an elevated position were more altruistic. One of his experiments showed that people who rode to the top of an escalator were more likely to give to the Salvation Army than those who rode the escalator to the bottom.

Duke to Offer Free Online Classes

Jul 18, 2012

Duke University will begin offering free online classes to the public this September.

Asma Khalid: Duke faculty have signed up to teach eight internet classes. They range from neuroscience to astronomy.  So why fork out more than $40,000 a year for tuition if you can access these high-quality Duke professors for free?  Lynne O'Brien is organizing the partnership at Duke. And she says these online classes won't replace the on-campus experience.

Wake County School officials are praising students and staff at 4 of the district’s elementary schools for demonstrating higher proficiency on test scores.

Dave DeWitt: The four “Renaissance Schools” are Barwell, Brentwood, Creech Road, and Wilburn. They’re located in different parts of the county, but all serve a predominately low-income population.

UNC Receives Digital Humanities Grant

Jul 6, 2012

The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill has received a nearly 1.4-million-dollar grant to expand digital humanities research.

Asma Khalid: If you're like me, you might be wondering what exactly is digital humanities research.

Well, once upon a time, academics researched without computers, they physically had to go to an archive. These days, there's a hyper-abundance of information online.

Robert Allen: Huge quantities of data, more data than any one scholar can possibly go through in a lifetime

Two of North Carolina’s private institutions of higher education are partnering with a non-profit chain of charter schools.

Dave DeWitt: Duke University and Davidson College are entering into an agreement with the KIPP schools. KIPP, short for Knowledge is Power Program, is a network of charter schools operating in 20 states. There are currently 2 KIPP schools in North Carolina, in Charlotte and Gaston. They are open enrollment charter schools, with an emphasis on preparing low-income students for college.

Experts and educators are coming together today to discuss an economic transformation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Leoneda Inge:  The down economy has not been kind to higher education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs have suffered even more. Andrea Harris is president of the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development.  She has invited black college leaders and the head of the White House Initiative on HBCUs to debate the financial survival of these institutions.

Education leaders in Guilford County are looking at how private donations would affect public schools.

Jeff Tiberii: A group of parents at one Greensboro Elementary School wants to go beyond the average book or bake sale. They’re hoping to raise $1.5 million for a new building. School board members are considering both sides of an issue that would likely provide some schools with more private money than others. Chairman of the board Alan Duncan:

Peter Hans
Nelson Mullins Law Firm

The UNC system has a new chair for its Board of Governors.

Dave DeWitt: Peter Hans is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and a former advisor to 3 U.S. Senators, most recently Republican Richard Burr. Now, he’s the chair of the UNC system’s Board of Governors, with oversight over all 17 member campuses. Hans represents a political shift on the Board. The job has typically been held by Democrats. UNC System President Tom Ross says politics won’t be a factor moving forward.

Poetic Justice P.S.: American Graduate Part 3

Jun 15, 2012

Graduation ceremonies are pretty much done but we have a P.S. for you, A poetic P.S. As part of WUNC's participation in the American Graduate Project, we commissioned slam poets Kane Smego and Will McInnerney to host an after-school writing workshop at Northern High School in Durham. And they did- for ten weeks. They're here to tell the stories of two young people who grabbed onto words and held tight.

The Chapel Hill - Carrboro school district will get its first magnet school school in 2013. But not all parents are happy about it.

Dave DeWitt: The Chapel Hill - Carrboro School Board voted 5 to 1 to turn Frank Porter Graham Elementary into a magnet school. It will offer a Spanish-English Dual Language program.

Some parents at Frank Porter Graham had opposed the change. Parents at other schools that will lose their dual language programs also fought the decision.

WUNC is a part of the American Graduate Project. It's a public media initiative looking at the drop out crisis across the country. As a part of this project we commissioned slam poets Kane Smego and Will McInnerney to teach a writing workshop at Northern High School in Durham. Over the last 10 weeks, Kane and Will taught a group of students how to use poetry to tell their own stories. Today is graduation day at Northern and three of the students from our workshop will be receiving their diplomas.

Eleven colleges and universities, big and small, public and private, are teaming up today to form the Eastern North Carolina Consortium for Higher Education.

Asma Khalid: There's a saying that "collaboration is king."

And Jim Gray believes it. He uses that phrase a lot when talking about this new plan.

Gray is the president of North Carolina Wesleyan College. He's also leading the consortium.

Tens of thousands of high school seniors will graduate this week across North Carolina. In a few months, many will start college. Not only will that be the next step in their educational lives, but also the end of a college search process that, for some, took years. It’s a process that has gotten more and more complicated, both for students and for the people who read the college applications. The rapid expansion in the number of high schools in the state is having unintended consequences in college admissions.

The State Legislature has reversed course on how many low-income four-year olds are eligible for pre-kindergarten programs.

Dave DeWitt: As part of its effort to cut costs and streamline pre-k programs in the state, the Legislature last year appeared to cap the number of low-income kids at 20 percent. Proponents of Pre-K programs brought the case before Judge Howard Manning, who ruled that the law was unconstitutional. He ordered the state to admit all eligible at-risk four-year olds.

Walking Classroom
Walking Classroom

A Chapel Hill non-profit has been recognized nationally for developing a program that targets childhood obesity while helping students learn.  The program is called “The Walking Classroom.”

Leoneda Inge:  The Walking Classroom Institute is about one year old and was started by former 5th grade teacher Laura Fenn.

Laura Fenn:  What I did is one day, when I was home after school, I went out for a walk and I was listening to a podcast while I was walking and I thought to myself, my students can do this.

American Graduate: Poetic Justice Part 1

Jun 1, 2012
Poetic Justice visit WUNC.
WUNC

WUNC is part of the American Graduate Project. It’s a public media initiative looking at education and the drop out crisis in North Carolina. It’s a big issue, by some measurements, an estimated 1-in-4 high school students will drop out before graduation day. As a part of this project WUNC commissioned slam poets Kane Smego and Will McInnerney to host an after-school writing workshop at Northern High School in Durham. Today we begin a series of poetic reflections on their classroom experience.

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