Credit CPB

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Carolina’s first virtual charter schools are challenging a report that more than a quarter of their students have withdrawn.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

UNC-Chapel Hill senior Jailen Wallis (center) loves the idea of teaching, but the pay and the working conditions loomed too large as drawbacks to the profession.
Courtesy of Jailen Wallis

 UNC-Chapel Hill senior Jailen Wallis has always been tempted to become a high school English teacher.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr

About one out of ten black students in Wake County’s Public Schools were suspended last school year, according to an annual report presented to Wake County School Board members on Tuesday.

Black students accounted for 63 percent of Wake’s total suspensions, while making up about of fourth of the overall population. Black students also made up 59 percent of Wake’s individual suspensions.

The North Carolina Supreme Court will likely have an opinion on teacher tenure within six months.
Jess Clark

The North Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in the state's fight to get rid of teacher tenure.

Durham students wearing the gele in celebration of Black History Month.
Jamaica Gilmer / The Beautiful Project

On the first day of Black History Month, Durham School of Creative Studies (SCS) students Natalia Artigas, Assata Goff and Naima Harrell showed up to school with their heads wrapped in geles, a colorful fabric many black women wind around their hair as a sign of cultural pride.

The State Board of Education wants to get rid of Standard VI, a piece of teacher evaluations some say is too punitive.

Standard VI requires teachers to meet expected student growth on state standardized tests. If they don’t, principals have to take action against them. That action can range from placement on an improvement plan to dismissal.

Image of June Atkinson, who has been the North Carolina state superintendent since 2005.
North Carolina Democratic Party

Senate Leader Phil Berger is criticizing the Department of Public Instruction for a budget it proposed in January. Documents show the department wanted to use about $2 million meant for a literacy program to fund positions the department axed to meet state-mandated budget cuts.

Wanda McLemore teaches a transitional fourth grade class at Falkener Elementary. The first half of her class is whole-group instruction.
Jess Clark

Forty percent of the state’s third-graders tested below grade level in reading last school year. Those are levels of achievement many parents and legislators say are unacceptable.

The state has been trying to boost reading scores for the last two years with a law called Read to Achieve. But is it getting schools what they need to improve scores?

Northern High School principal Matthew Hunt and senior Caleb Crawley
Will Michaels / WUNC

The finalists for the 2016 North Carolina Principal of the Year include eight administrators across the state. Matthew Hunt, principal of Northern High School in Durham, is on the list. Hunt is the finalist from the north central region. He was also named the 2016 Principal of the Year by Durham Public Schools.

Diversity Low Among N.C. Charter Schools

Feb 2, 2016
At one point, only six percent of students at Central Park School for Children in Durham, NC qualified for free and reduced meals. After enacting a weighted lottery that prioritizes low-income families, that number is up to 18 percent. The goal is 40.
Reema Khrais / WUNC

Since the late 1990s, the racial diversity of North Carolina’s 158 charter schools has decreased with more institutions becoming predominantly white or predominantly minority.

In January, a draft of a state report on charter schools showed they were whiter and richer compared to traditional public schools. Advocates for charter schools say they offer an option for low-income families in low-performing schools. Opponents say they are slipping back into segregated systems.

Perils and Promise, Rural Education, Advanced Placement
Leoneda Inge

Some teachers and schools administrators say one of the biggest obstacles to success for public school students in rural communities is poverty.  And research shows if you are poor, you have a good chance of being overlooked for gifted, honors or advanced classes.

In our series, Perils & Promise: Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students, we spoke with students in an Advanced Placement class in Vance County about their path to success.