News

An image of the cover of "Harness the Sun: America's Quest for a Solar-Powered Future"
Beacon Press / Beacon Press

The use of solar energy is increasing in America, but the renewable energy source is not cost-free. Solar energy provides a cleaner alternative to other energy sources like coal, but still poses a threat to natural habitats and for homeowners who cannot afford initial costs.

Carla Buckley's latest novel is 'The Good Goodbye,' a story that explores how much parents want to know about the secret lives their children lead.
Brian Killian

Chapel Hill novelist Carla Buckley grew up in a family of secrets. When it was time to start her own family, she decided she would always be upfront and honest with her children.

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?

North Carolina is considering changes to state health insurance plans that would eliminate the 80/20 plans.
TaxRebate.org.uk / Flickr Creative Commons

The Board of Trustees that manages the state health insurance plans for government employees is considering major changes to the state health plan.

The board is considering proposed elimination of the 80/20 plan. The measure is in response to a legislative order to reduce costs for the more than 690,000 employees and retirees who receive health benefits through the state. 

Asheville 'Bans The Box'

Feb 3, 2016
Asheville is removing questions from city job applications that ask about criminal convictions. The city hopes to remove this hindrance for job seekers who have a criminal history.
Kathryn Decker / Flickr Creative Commons

Asheville passed a policy last week that will remove any question about criminal convictions from city job applications.

Proponents want to “ban the box” that job seekers check for convictions because they claim it puts previous criminals at a disadvantage. Though this doesn’t preclude private companies from including questions about criminal histories, the city hopes to lead by example.

As technology advances, certain jobs will be lost to machines and automation in the future. Some fast food restaurants are already using more self-serve kiosks instead of cashiers.
Beau Giles / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina is home to a growing number of startup companies that are trying to stay ahead of today's constant need for innovation.

The upside of that innovation is business opportunity. Cities and states across this region are redirecting investments to try and claim the title of Silicon Valley of the South. 

Composer Joelle Wallach is this year's artist in residence at Meredith College. She has been composing for more than three decades and also gives pre-concert lecutres at the New York Philharmonic.
Joelle Wallach

Joelle Wallach is the kind of composer who knows what her work will sound like long before her composition actually makes it onto the page.

She does not use composition technology or software, but instead relies on her ear and her instinct. She has been composing for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo voices and choruses for more than three decades and is an artist in residence at Meredith College in Raleigh this weekend.

RDU
www.rdu.com

Public and private funds are now all accounted for to guarantee the new RDU to Paris flight takes off on time.

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.

Pages