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multiple choice test
Alberto G. / Flickr Creative Commons

School is back in session for the new year but assessment of last year's grades is ongoing. The report card for statewide performance in the 2014-2015 school year is out.

The Department of Public Instruction released their findings yesterday: graduation rates are up but fewer schools are hitting their targets.

  Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with WUNC education reporter Reema Khrais about the test results.

Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Almost thirty percent of public schools in North Carolina have received D and F grades, according to data the state released today.

Most of those D and F schools have high percentages of students who come from poverty. Last year’s scores showed a very similar trend. Democratic leader Larry Hall said he’s not surprised, and that the state needs to invest more in public education.

Fingers on a keyboard, computer,
Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in North Carolina, public school students can take all of their classes online by logging on to their computers at home.

This summer, the state opened two virtual charter schools, N.C. Connections Academy and N.C. Virtual Academy. Both schools have met their enrollment caps of 1,500 students, and families are on wait lists, according to the principals.

Shaun Harper
University of Pennsylvania

A new report reveals that across the South, school districts are disproportionately suspending and expelling black students.

The study out of the University of Pennsylvania shows that while black students represented about a quarter of students in the thirteen southern states in the 2011-2012 school year, they made up nearly half of the students suspended.

teacher in a blur with classroom
Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

Parents and local groups have filed a lawsuit against the Halifax County Board of Commissioners, arguing that it fails to offer every student with the opportunity of a sound, basic education, as required by the state constitution.

Plaintiffs, which include three parents/guardians, the local NAACP chapter and the Coalition for Education and Economic Security, contend the board should merge the county's three school districts into one system. 

Newly hired teachers and staff listen during an orientation meeting for Wake County Public Schools.
Jess Clark

Hundreds of thousands of North Carolina public school students return to the classroom Monday. But many districts are still scrambling to find teachers for them.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school district is among many districts seeing an increase in the number of open teaching positions. District spokeswoman Alex Hoskins says many of its 68 vacancies will be filled by substitute teachers.

Jean Christian Barry, Graduate, College, Black Male
Leoneda Inge

Thousands of college freshmen have been settling in to their dorm rooms and classrooms across the state this week.  The drop-off can be especially emotional for parents sending their first child off into the world. 

I have been planning and dreaming of this day since my sons's birth.  But as all parents find out, plans don’t always come out as you expect.

It seems like Jean Christian Barry has been washing clothes, towels and sheets for weeks. Every time I turn around, he’s folding or packing something.

An image of a UNC student
Tia Holmes

This week, Tia Holmes began her first days at college. She is an incoming first-year this fall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is already planning to major in computer science.

But her passion does not stem solely from computers. Since she was in middle school, Holmes has been working to promote inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities across the country.

Holmes was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy as a child. The disability affects her speech and movement, but not her drive to spread her message.

Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina education leaders are proposing dramatic changes to the state's public education system.

A group tasked with retooling the Common Core standards met yesterday to present their preliminary recommendations


Glenwood Elementary students
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

 A state commission reviewing the Common Core standards is proposing major changes to the Math and English goals.

The 11-member group presented draft recommendations on Monday that call for a restructuring of high school math, a stronger emphasis on writing and, overall, clearer goals that are more “developmentally appropriate.” 

The 'Old Well' UNC-Chapel HIll
Caroline Culler / Wikipedia

College students are heading back to campus over the next week, which usually means lugging futons up stairwells, battling the chaos in dorm parking lots and enjoying many ice cream socials.

Here is some information and tips for students and parents as they come to campus. This list will be updated as more information on various schools’ events becomes available.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A quick look at the incoming class:

Main Building of the former Black Mountain College, on the grounds of Camp Rockmont, a summer camp for boys.
Howard Morland

In the 1940's and 1950's, several professors at Black Mountain College in Western North Carolina attracted the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigations for their progressive political beliefs.

  Increasing anti-communist paranoia fueled a federal investigation, along with suspicion about whether or not the school was inappropriately using funds from the G.I. Bill to pay for tuition.

An image of the bell tower at NCSU
Haruhide000 / Wikipedia Creative Commons

The UNC Board of Governors gave North Carolina State University the green light to begin planning a $15 million dorm that will house some of the school's basketball players.

The N.C. State Wolfpack Club, the school's booster organization, will foot the bill for the 62-bed facility. More than half of the dorm's residents will be non-athletes in accordance with NCAA rules. 

Samantha Lanevi

Samantha Lanevi, 19, is a recent graduate of Durham Academy. She is currently a student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Fayetteville State University, Nursing Program, FSU
Fayetteville State University

North Carolina has more nursing schools and programs than most states its size.  So when Fayetteville State University suspended its Bachelor’s Degree nursing program in 2009, it was a big deal for the state and the school.

Today, the nursing program is open and admitting students.  In fact, the first class of graduates have all passed their national board exam.

There's a radio ad playing on Fayetteville's commercial stations.

Image of the Russell School, the last Rosenwald School in Durham County.
Phyllis Mack Horton

In the early 20th century, Sears Roebuck CEO Julius Rosenwald teamed up with educator and civil rights icon Booker T. Washington to bring formal education to African-Americans in the rural South.

An image of the 2015 Youth Radio group
Charlie Shelton / WUNC

A group of teenage reporters is adding the final touches to their stories this week as a part of WUNC's Youth Reporting Institute. The interviews are transcribed, the scripts have been written and each piece of the story is getting its last polish. As they finish up their summers jobs at WUNC, the youth reporters took some time to reflect and preview what listeners should anticipate hearing on the air in the coming weeks.

Gavel, Court
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

A Wake County superior court judge is reviewing whether the State Board of Education is doing its part to provide every public school student with the opportunity of a sound, basic education.

A picture of an empty classroom.
f_a_r_e_w_e_l_l / Flickr

In Raleigh, Senate lawmakers are proposing a controversial tradeoff.

They want to cut funding for teacher assistants to hire more teachers and reduce classroom sizes in the early grades. Republicans argue that smaller classes will lead to better student outcomes, even if it’s at the cost of fewer teacher assistants.

Alberto G. via Flickr

The Wake County Board of Education- home to the state's largest school district- wants to cut back on the number of benchmark tests it requires students to take.

The district has been offering three CASE21 benchmark tests per year in subjects including math, language arts and science. These assessments have come in addition to the statewide End-of-Grade and End-of-Course tests.

An image of a person typing on a computer
Public Domain

In an effort to bridge the digital divide, the Obama administration has selected Durham, as well as 26 other cities and a tribal nation, to help connect more public housing residents to high-speed internet.

Photo: The state Department of Public Instruction revealed a dramatic drops in student performance on standardized tests.

State education leaders are slowly rolling out their ideas on how to reduce high-stakes testing in public schools.

The State Board of Education voted on Wednesday to conduct a study in the coming school year to examine whether their proposals are doable.

An image of the UNC School of Law
Caroline Culler / Wikipedia Creative Commons

The UNC Law Foundation is offering a new venture for people interested in researching causes and solutions for economic hardship in North Carolina.

Rick White, UNC-Chapel Hill's Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs, said the new North Carolina Poverty Research Fund will be overseen by an independent board.

Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Local school officials are struggling to make budget decisions without knowing how much money they will receive from the state.

House and Senate lawmakers passed a temporary spending plan earlier this month to keep the state running until August 14.

For school officials, that's a tight deadline.

Reema Khrais / WUNC

In North Carolina classrooms today, students are dealing with far fewer textbooks. Over the last seven years, state money for books has dropped drastically. Those changes come as more classrooms become more digital friendly – a transition that won’t be cheap, or easy.