Dave DeWitt

Managing Editor for News

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Managing Editor for News. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.

He has filed storites for NPR’s news magazines as well as Marketplace and Only A Game. He formerly worked in college athletics, college admissions, and with the Tar Heel Sports Network. In 2001, he wrote the non-fiction book "True Blue".

 

Ways to Connect

The North Carolina Association of Educators will hold its annual convention in Raleigh today. The teachers' group is also expected to march through the city streets.

North Carolina's teachers are facing thousands of potential layoffs across the state and a nationwide trend portraying them as entrenched and ineffective.

Wake County high schools have been placed on “accredited warned” status by the agency that accredits them.

The AdvancED report (pdf) states that the school board has"created a climate of uncertainty, suspicion, and mistrust throughout the community."

Duke Energy

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers says his company will continue to pursue building new nuclear plants in the Carolinas. Rogers spoke yesterday during a hearing of the North Carolina Utilities commission. Rogers was discussing the development of the Lee Nuclear Station in South Carolina. Duke is asking to spend $285 million to continue to develop the plant. Some of the money will likely come from a rate increase on North Carolina customers.

Paying For The Future

Mar 15, 2011
School bus
Dave Dewitt

Today is child advocacy day at the State Legislature. Hundreds of people who support early childhood development programs like Smart Start and More at Four are expected to descend on Raleigh. They will argue that the programs provide much-needed support to low-income families.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker gave his annual State of the City address today. Speaking at a Rotary Club meeting, Meeker summarized some of the city’s recent successes, including hosting the NHL All-Star game. He also laid out goals to continue expanding efforts at sustainability and transportation. Meeker says with unemployment rates dropping and sales stabilizing, it’s time to look ahead.

 

Tony Tata has been the Superintendent of Wake County Schools for 37 days. In that time, he has visited nearly 40 schools and met with countless groups. The past week was particularly busy for Tata. He met with some of the people who have been the most highly critical of the School Board majority that hired him - including NAACP President William Barber. Tata’s latest event took place at Martin Street Baptist Church, in front of an audience predisposed to dislike him.

Duke University announced today the largest gift in the school’s history. The Duke Endowment of Charlotte gave the University $80 million dollars.

The money will go to renovating West Union and the Page Auditorium on West Campus. West was the student union before the Bryan Center opened in 1982. The renovated building will be used for student social space and dining.

Page Auditorium will also undergo an extensive renovation as will Baldwin Auditorium on East Campus. Both spaces will be modernized and updated to hold concerts and speeches.

The joint House-Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee is hosting a public comment session today in the State Legislature. They want to hear what people have to say on proposed budget cuts to education.

North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan (D) is taking the lead in calling for changes to No Child Left Behind. The education legislation is due for reauthorization this year.

Hagan joined other senate democrats at a school in Washington DC in calling for reforming No Child Left Behind.

Raymond Cook has been sentenced to 36 to 53 months for the death of Elena Shapiro. The former plastic surgeon was convicted today of felony death by vehicle.

The jury came back this morning with a unanimous decision on the lesser charge of felony death by vehicle. The prosecutor had been seeking a second-degree murder conviction in the 2009 accident in Raleigh. Cook was driving 75 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone and was also drunk at the time of the crash.

Wake County Schools staff will get together this week to begin discussing a way forward on the controversial issue of student assignment. Superintendent Tony Tata is convening a special task force that will develop a new plan.

The members of the task force have their work cut out for them – find a plan a divided school board and community can get behind.

Much of their work will be focused on dissecting the plan offered by the Wake Education Partnership and the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

A North Carolina Appeals Court today heard a case against the Wake County School system. Plaintiffs say the Wake School Board broke laws regarding open public meetings.

The Wake School Board meeting on March 23rd was contentious and crowded. So crowded, in fact, that several news outlets offered to pay for the meeting to be moved to the Performing Arts Center downtown.

Thales Academy
Dave Dewitt

Two bills making their way through the State Legislature have the potential to dramatically change public education in North Carolina. The first is a public charter school bill that is likely to pass. It will raise the cap on the number of charter schools in the state and make other changes that would make it easier to open and operate a charter school.

Rod Brind'Amour
CarolinaHurricanes.com

Rod Brind'Amour will be honored tonight before the Carolina Hurricanes take on the Philadelphia Flyers. He will have his jersey retired.

Rod Brind'Amour was known as one of the hardest working and toughest players in a sport that places a high value on both. He attributes his drive to his father, a pipefitter in Campbell River, Canada.

The State Legislature is making good on its promise to change laws that govern charter schools. But some public school advocates say the current bill is too far-reaching.

Tata Takes Over

Jan 31, 2011

Wake County’s new school superintendent takes office officially today. Tony Tata takes the reins of a school system facing major challenges.

Tata’s background is already well-known to those who pay attention to the Wake Schools. He’s a retired brigadier general with less than two years experience in education, hired by a deeply divided school board. He made positive impressions even on his detractors during a series of formal and informal events earlier this month. And even with a looming budget crisis, Tata will likely be judged on the issue of student assignment.

Jeff Skinner
CarolinaHurricanes.com

The NHL All-Star Game will be played in Raleigh this weekend. The event includes the NHL Wide Open festival in downtown tomorrow, a Rookie Skills Challenge, and the game itself on Sunday.

Dave DeWitt

The NHL All-Star Game will be played in Raleigh this weekend. The game will bring the world’s best hockey players to the Triangle. Thousands of fans are expected to attend the festivities in and around the Downtown Raleigh Convention Center, starting tomorrow. They’ll get a chance to get their picture taken with the Stanley Cup and hone their slap shots on fake ice. Millions more will watch the game and other associated events on TV.

Reynolds Price
Duke University

Reynolds Price has died. The prolific author and professor of English at Duke University passed away yesterday. He was 77 years old.

Reynolds Price had a motto. The man who wrote dozens of books, poems, essays, and plays and taught for six decades at his alma mater lived his life by words offered to him by a teacher at Oxford University more than 50 years ago.

The city of Raleigh is one step closer to banning smoking in public parks.

The City Council voted 6-to-2 to move towards a ban on smoking in city parks. The ban would apply to city parks like Pullen near NC State’s campus, but not to Moore and Nash Squares downtown, which are state parks.

Mayor Charles Meeker proposed the ban, saying it is a health and litter issue. The two council members who voted against it say it will be too difficult to enforce.

Raleigh will spend about $25,000 to put no smoking signs up at all city parks.

Criticism of the Wake County School Board's decision to do away with the diversity policy is growing.

The latest wave of criticism came after a page one story appeared in the Washington Post last week, linking the Board Majority to the Tea Party. That prompted the U.S. Secretary of Education to weigh in in a letter to the editor.

Raleigh City Council members will hear an update tonight on the preparations for the NHL All-Star game. The game will be played at the RBC Center at the end of this month, but there will also be concerts and a fan-fair event in downtown Raleigh.

Today marks the first day new pollution rules go into effect for Falls Lake. The State Division of Water Quality found Falls Lake to be impaired in 2008.

Falls Lake is the source of drinking water for half a million Wake County residents, but most of the watershed lies in Durham and Granville Counties. That has put local officials at odds for the last 18 months as they hammered out the new rules.

The disagreement between the Wake County School Board and the agency that accredits its high schools will continue. The School Board voted last night not to drop the accrediting agency.

The Board deliberated for two hours before deciding to send another letter to AdvancED. The letter will ask the accrediting agency to limit the scope of its investigation.

The vote was the latest in a months-long fight. It began when the North Carolina NAACP sent a letter of complaint to AdvancED, claiming the Wake School Board was not living up to its policies.

The spat between the Wake County School Board and the agency that accredits its high schools may soon come to an end. The result may be that the high school lose their accreditation.

Accreditation is a voluntary process. School districts like it because it gives them an idea of what may be working and what isn't. 

But when AdvancED told the Wake School Board it was launching an investigation in the fall, the republican majority on the School Board balked. They felt AdvancED was overstepping its authority.

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