Education

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George W. Bush signs the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001.
Wikipedia Creative Commons

Congress might be close to an overhaul of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and the North Carolina State Board of Education is preparing for the reboot.

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

The Alamance-Burlington school system has asked the State Board of Education about giving one of its low-performing elementary schools the same freedoms given to charter schools.

Jay Price / WUNC

Updated at 9:40 a.m.

A lockdown has been lifted at UNC-Chapel Hill and at Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools after unconfirmed reports of an armed person at the Carolina ROTC building.  Someone spotted a man carrying a long case that could contain a rifle or shotgun.

Fayetteville math teacher Kenneth Williams creates a life-sized right triangle in his classroom.
Jess Clark

Since the Common Core was implemented three years ago, high school math has been taught in a new way. Instead of taking algebra, geometry and statistics in separate semesters, students now learn parts of those subjects in every math class. But the shift to an "integrated standard" has caused challenges for teachers, students and parents.

History teacher Karla Albertson goes over civil rights cases with her students at Louisburg High School in Franklin County.
Reema Khrais

Over the last couple of decades, many of North Carolina’s public schools have become increasingly segregated. But in Franklin County, it’s a different story.

The district stands out as having some of the most racially balanced schools in the state—a bright spot in a system working to overcome several challenges.

school bus
Reema Khrais

Franklin County Public Schools are one of a handful of districts in the state bound by court desegregation orders. The federal orders are what helps keeps the schools among the most racially balanced in the state at a time when many districts are re-segregating.

The Durham County Board of Education passed a resolution demanding the legislature repeal the A-F grading system.
Jess Clark

UPDATED Dec. 4, 2015

Friday was the deadline for schools and districts labeled low-performing to submit their improvement plans. State law has designated 581 schools as low-performing based on student test scores. But some districts are speaking out against the A-F school grading system and lawmakers’ moves to toughen it.

NCCU. College Graduates, End Zone
NCCU

North Carolina Central University is recruiting thousands of former students for a new degree program in Behavioral and Social Sciences.

The new program will be offered to students online and face-to-face.  Dean Debra Parker says it’s part of the “End Zone” program, encouraging former students to return to school and graduate with a degree that has eluded them for years.  "End "Zone" symbolizes the NCCU spring graduation ceremony that takes place on the school's football field.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

A K-12 charter school in Rutherford County is under fire from the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union after the school suspended all student club activities earlier this month.

Shelly / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Attorney General Roy Cooper has rejected a call by Governor Pat McCrory to side with a Virginia school district against a discrimination lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. It would allow a transgender high school student to use the men's bathroom.

Clarence Page
Keppler Speakers

Protests erupted on college campuses around the country this month as students called for racial and social reforms. At the University of Missouri-Columbia last week, the system president and university chancellor resigned after mounting tensions over race relations on campus.

Classroom
WUNC File Photo

A K-12 charter school in Rutherford County has suspended all club activities after parents voiced concern over the presence of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender club.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

A coalition of community members has filed a federal complaint accusing the Harnett County school board of perpetuating racial inequalities within its school system.

A picture of a sale sign in front of a home.
myguysmoving.com / Flickr, Creative Commons

The switch to a year-round calendar for 22 schools in Wake County may have hurt some home prices, according to a new study out of Elon University and RTI International. It looked at how home prices changed after Wake made a controversial decision in 2007 to convert 22 schools to a year-round calendar.

Starting a new job is always tough — no matter the profession. But the first year for a new teacher can be brutal.

Research shows that roughly one teacher in 10 will quit by the end of that first year, and the toughest time — for many — is right now. In fact, this season is so famously hard on teachers that it even has a name ...

Here's a recent excerpt from the blog Love, Teach:

Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr Creative Commons

Researchers and advocates refer to the school-to-prison pipeline as a combination of laws and policies that push students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system.

But educators point to the underlying issues of race, class and gender as other contributors to the process.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Javonte Carver, a student at Durham Technical Community College, about his experience in Durham Public Schools and the broad issues that connect to the school-to-prison pipeline. 

Litigation, legal, gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Thirty-four North Carolina school districts are suing the state for more than $46 million they say should have gone to fund public schools.

The funds in question are penalties the state collects from drivers for taking unsafe vehicles on the road. Since the passage of the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2011, the state has been funneling $50 penalties for "improper equipment" to county jails to pay to house people convicted of minor crimes.

Perils And Promise, Vance County Schools, Fire Academy
Leoneda Inge

Rural communities across North Carolina have been working hard to re-build their economies and prepare a future workforce.

In Vance County, the public school district has two career academies in place to provide professional development for students and help them focus early on a career.  Plus, academies have been proven to help with student attendance and dropout rates.

school bus
wikimedia commons

State School Board Chairman Bill Cobey and State Superintendent June Atkinson are exploring using a new authority that allows the board to merge adjacent county school districts.

Republican Phil Berger of Eden is president pro tempore of the state Senate.
http://www.ncleg.net/

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger made blunt remarks about public school reform at a recent gathering held by Best NC, a business-backed education advocacy group.

He suggested “scrapping schools of education” and likened investing in teacher assistants to investing in manual typewriters.

“The stakes are too high to be risk and conflict adverse when it comes to education policy,” he argued.

On November 12th, WUNC’s The State of Things and Leadership Triangle join forces to present an issues forum on the school-to-prison pipeline, one in a series of forums organized to educate the public on important issues facing our region. 

Students used a ratings chart to help select their candidates.
Carolyn Kreuger / Kids Voting Durham

Durham voters will elect their mayor and city councilors Tuesday, but thousands of Durham kids and teenagers will be holding their own election.

Last week at Hillside High School in Durham, civics teacher Nicholas Gruber-Grace set aside a few minutes of third period for his students to review the candidates in Durham’s municipal election.

A group of students, parents and community organizers held a press conference Wednesday to urge Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to provide a more supportive environment for people of color.
Reema Khrais

A coalition of students, parents and community organizers is calling on Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools to close the achievement gap between minority and white students.

In a recent report, the group, The Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools, urges school leaders to increase access to gifted education programs, provide a race-conscious curriculum and to require training on implicit bias.

School officials say they’re listening to community members and have been developing a long-range plan that holds teachers more accountable. 

The map above shows changes in eighth grade reading scores from 2013 to 2015. North Carolina was one of 13 states that lost ground.
National Assessment of Educational Progress

Eighth grade math and reading scores fell in North Carolina, but fourth grade reading scores increased according an assessment known as the Nation's Report Card.

ASRC members listen to public comment by anti-Common Core activists and parents. The commission was formed at the behest of lawmakers who oppose Common Core.
Jess Clark

Wake Ed Partnership, a business-supported education foundation, is urging parents to tell the commission reviewing the state’s K-through-12 academic standards that they want to keep Common Core. 

John Fennebresque
Dave DeWitt

John Fennebresque has resigned his seat on the UNC Board of Governors, effectively immediately. An attorney from Charlotte, Fennebresque had served as Board Chair since 2014.

Last year, he oversaw a controversial review of UNC academic centers that some called politically motivated. It eventually led to the closing of the UNC-Chapel Hill Law School’s Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, among others.

Margaret Spellings
Dave DeWitt

Margaret Spellings has spent her professional life in the eye of the political storm. She served President George W. Bush as Education Secretary and political advisor. And now that she’s the choice of the UNC Board of Governors to be the new UNC system president, it’s not going to get any less windy.

First, let’s start with those who believe they have hired a quote “game-changer.”

UNC Board of Governors
Dave DeWitt

The UNC Board of Governors is deeply divided over how to elect a new leader.

Some board members have called for the resignation of chair John Fennebresque after he called an emergency closed-door meeting to interview a candidate.

Emails reveal several board members accused Fennebresque of botching the hiring process which started after President Tom Ross was forced to resign earlier this year. 

The division represents a split within the Republican members of the board.

Jennifer Schrand was one of several anti-Common Core activists who spoke at the meeting.
Jess Clark

A state commission reviewing the Common Core standards heard from a few parents and activists yesterday. Opponents were especially vocal.

Jennifer Schrand was one of several speakers aligned with anti-Common Core groups. She told the academic standards review commission her fourth-grade daughter struggles with the new math standards, which stress more theoretical understanding.

UNC Board of Governors
Dave DeWitt

The UNC Board of Governors is meeting behind closed doors Friday in Cary amid strong disagreements over the search for a new system president.

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