Education

Credit CPB

A handful of student protesters have occupied the administration building at Duke University for nearly a week. The demonstration is a response to an incident in which a white administrator hit a black parking attendant with his car. The attendant, Shelvia Underwood, alleges Duke executive Vice President Tallman Trask then used a racial slur in frustration. Protesters say the alleged incident raises questions about the way the school treats minimum wage employees, and have demanded Trask's resignation and a living wage for Duke employees. The university says it will negotiate.

Pat McCrory
James Willamor / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Pat McCrory proposed a 5 percent average pay increase for North Carolina teachers and a
 a 3.5 percent average bonus.

Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg)
NC General Assembly

 Lawmakers are drafting a bill that would allow charter schools to take over five of the state’s lowest-performing elementary schools. The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) wants lawmakers to approve the takeover legislation in the short session. But Bryan is championing the proposal, despite research showing a similar charter takeover in Tennessee had minimal impact on student performance.

South Carolina Technical College System

North Carolina’s community college system has named a new president.

Dr. James “Jimmie” C. Williamson will be the system’s eighth leader, succeeding Scott Ralls. Ralls left last year to head the Northern Virginia Community College.

Currently, Williamson serves as the president and CEO of the South Carolina Technical College System. In total, he’s served 27 years in higher education, rising through the ranks as a registrar, dean and president at two community colleges.

Deputy Chief Cerelyn Davis with the Atlanta Police Department and Major Michael Smathers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police
Deputy Chief Cerelyn J. Davis, Atlanta Police Department/Maj. Michael J. Smathers, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

After a months-long search, the city of Durham is getting closer to choosing its next police chief. The city manager has announced two finalists: Deputy Chief Cerelyn Davis with the Atlanta Police Department and Major Michael Smathers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

Thomasville sophomore Denise Dominguez takes AP music theory, one of the hardest AP classes.
Jess Clark

Advanced Placement classes, or AP classes, are the gold standard for high school coursework. Students who take them can get college credit, and nice boost to their college applications. But not every student has equal access to AP classes, especially in rural districts. We take a loot at how Thomasville City Schools, a small district in Davidson County, is ramping up its AP program, and trying to expose a wider variety of students to college-level work.

Lead teacher Amy Brewer goes over a Math lesson at Concord Middle School in Cabarrus County.
Reema Khrais / WUNC

Over the last five years, four different principals have cycled through Concord Middle School. The latest principal to step into the role is Carrie Tulbert. She remembers when the superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools called her last year and asked her if she could come.

“The more he told me about Concord Middle School, the more he just kind of inadvertently pulled at my heart strings,” she explains.

A former state principal of the year, Tulbert decided to take on the challenge of helping to turn around the high-poverty, low-performing middle school.

Perils And Promise, Rural Education, Vance Public Schools
Leoneda Inge

Rural areas of North Carolina are not seeing the benefits of the economic recovery that are apparent in places like the Triangle, Triad or Charlotte.

The same is true for rural school districts. Their dropout rates are significantly higher than their urban counterparts, and their surrounding communities have higher rates of unemployment. 

WUNC recently examined one rural district, Vance County Schools, to understand how it is preparing students for higher education and the changing workforce. 

students with laptops in classroom
Enokson / Flickr/Creative Commons

Wake County Public Schools plans to ask permission to run two elementary schools like charter schools.

Riverside High School students called for the release of Wildin Acosta outside Congressman G.K. Butterfield's Durham office.
Jess Clark

UPDATED March 20, 2016 On Sunday morning, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Sarah Salaña issued an order preventing the deportation of Riverside High School student Wildin Acosta before his case has been heard by an immigration judge. Congressman G.K. Butterfield says he worked through Saturday night with Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) to convince Saldaña to use her executive authority. This is apparently an about-face from Salaña's decision on Friday night not to intervene.

Student, Classroom, school, class
Tom Woodward / Flickr Creative Commons

More than 5,600 new students have applied to receive Opportunity Scholarships, or school vouchers, for next school-year. That's up from about 3,400 the same time last year.

An image of Shaun Harper from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania

Note: this is a rebroadcast from August 27, 2015

Across the South, black students have a higher rate of being suspended or expelled than white students, according to a new study from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. The study singled out 13 southern states for comprising 55 percent of the nation's black student suspensions.

Hassina Kiboua works with refugees in Ireland. She observed an art class at the Newcomers School.
Jess Clark

Visitors from seven European countries were in Greensboro Monday to learn how the Doris Henderson Newcomers School educates newly arrived immigrant students.

This DPI map shows the highest and lowest 3-year dropout rates by district.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

A Department of Public Instruction (DPI) report shows after seven years of progress in reducing high school dropouts, last school-year the state's dropout rate ticked up to about 2.4 percent. That's a slight rise from about 2.3 percent for the previous year.

As part of the 2013-14 state budget, the State Board of Education is required to study virtual charter schools and propose draft rules.
Ian Usher via Flickr

North Carolina’s first virtual charter schools are challenging a report that more than a quarter of their students have withdrawn.

Margaret Spellings on The State of Things
Charlie Shelton for WUNC

 

Four months after her controversial selection, Margaret Spellings takes the helm of the UNC system today. The former U.S. Secretary of Education faces a broad range of competing priorities.

The Board of Governors hired Spellings on the heels of the forced resignation of her predecessor Tom Ross. As the new leader of the system, she will address issues ranging from budget matters to concerns about academic freedom. 

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

On a cold morning in late January, Riverside high school senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta started his car to warm it up for the drive to school. He went inside his family’s Durham apartment to grab his book bag, and when he came back out, two Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, or ICE officers, were waiting for him.

Image of Shaw University President Tashni Dubroy
Terrence Jones / Shaw University

As a teenager in Jamaica, Tashni Dubroy struggled to understand chemistry. But after a breakthrough moment in her high school chemistry class, she fell in love with the science.

She moved to the United States to attend community college, and then to Raleigh to attend Shaw University.

Perils And Promise, Vance County Schools, Carolina College Advising Corps
Carolina College Advising Corps

Trying to find the best path to success can be tough for students who don’t have enough support at home or at school.  This has been found to be true in many rural school districts, across the state, including Vance County.

To help address the problem, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill established the first college advising corps in the state, to reach those hard-to-reach students.  We take a closer look at the advising corps in our series, Perils & Promise: Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students.

Teacher, school, hallway
Jess Clark / WUNC

State lawmakers are looking into ways to train better school principals and keep them in schools that need them.

Image of the warning areas from the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service

School districts across the state are closing early today in anticipation of thunderstorms, strong winds and possible tornadoes.

Wake, Durham, Johnston, Cumberland and Sampson County schools are among dozens of districts letting out about three hours early this afternoon. District officials say the dismissal is an unusual precaution. But they want to make sure students are safe at home and not on the bus when the severe weather is expected to hit.

Rob Wall / Flickr Creative Commons

A new program in the Wake County public schools aims to keep some students out of the criminal justice system.

The program is designed for students between the ages of 16-18 who commit a nonviolent misdemeanor such as petty theft or drug possession.

Perils and Promise, Vance County Schools, Dropout Rates
Leoneda Inge

The path from cradle to college and career has been especially hard for young Black men.  Nationally, Black males have a lower high school graduation rate than White males and Hispanic males.

Image of college lecture hall
Luke Jones / Flickr Creative Commons

Wake Technical Community College is the only community college in the state with a program to help foster kids transition to college.

The program, Fostering Bright Futures, guides the students through graduation at Wake Tech and assists in transfers to bachelor’s degree programs.

A middle school in Minnesota averted a school shooting by using a well-prepared lockdown.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

Many American adults remember fire and tornado drills from their school days.  But students coming up today are also being prepared to jump into action when a gunman shows up at school.  

In this week's episode of Criminal, members of a school community in Hastings, Minnesota remember a close call a few years back. Criminal is a podcast recorded at WUNC and hosted by Phoebe Judge

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