Dave DeWitt

Reporter @DaveDeWitt

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Environment Reporter. He came to WUNC in 2003 and spent four years on the staff of The State of Things.

He regularly files 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".

Pages

Education
1:15 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Moral Monday, Phil Berger, And The Surprise 'Teacher Couch Summit'

Senate Leader Phil Berger meets with Moral Monday protesters.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Bryan Proffitt fully expected to go to jail Monday night. He spent most of the day at Hillside High School, where he teaches history, proctoring exams. A few hours after the final school bell, he was in an upstairs auditorium at the state Legislature, rallying supporters.

“We’re generally a pleasant and rule-following bunch,” he said. “But when you attack our students, when you threaten our schools and our communities and their families and you bully us and our co-workers, than you’d better prepare for what happens next.”

Read more
Education
4:11 am
Thu May 29, 2014

A Teacher Who Could Write: Maya Angelou At Wake Forest University

Maya Angelou at Wake Forest in 2007.
Credit Wake Forest University

Maya Angelou lived in a rambling yellow house just down the road from Wake Forest’s campus. A few hours after she passed away inside, people drove by slowly. Some pointed out the window. Everyone was keeping a respectable distance.

Angelou was renowned for many things, including hosting large parties in the house. Most Aprils, Angelou even held a class here.

Read more
Education
4:56 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Turning Troops Into Teachers

North Carolina's Troops To Teachers program is one of the nation's largest.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Stephen Harrington is proud of his school, and rightfully so. Holly Grove Middle School is a gleaming facility, with well-manicured sports fields; clean, bright hallways, and even tidy lockers.

Harrington is an Assistant Principal here, and assistant principals - as anyone in education will tell you - are the unheralded heroes of any school. They have a wide variety of tasks, from recruiting teachers to running an efficient car line to helping kids who are having discipline problems.

Read more
Education
4:55 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Test Stress And The Third-Grade Teacher

The "man" in the back of Dr. Elrod's third-grade class serves as a motivational tool for the students when they take tests.
Credit Dave DeWitt

In the back corner of Stephen Elrod’s third-grade classroom, a man is lurking who wants to take the children’s money. He’s not a real man, and it’s not real money. It’s a large cartoon drawing of a maniacal character clutching fistfuls of dollars. A plastic bin is attached to the wall below the picture, filled with play money.

“Every time we take a test like Case 21 or EOG we either give him money or we keep our money,” explains Joanne, one of the students. “And, if we don’t make our goal, we have to give him some money, and if we do make our goal, we get to keep our money.”

Read more
Education
8:40 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Teacher Email To Legislators Draws Harsh Reply

Credit Dave DeWitt

Last week, Sarah Wiles, a science teacher in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg Schools with a master's degree and six years' experience, sent an email to every member of the North Carolina General Assembly with the subject line: “I am embarrassed to confess: I am a teacher.” That email is below.

Monday morning, Sen. David Curtis, a Republican from Denver, NC, replied (actually “reply all” as it went to every member of the General Assembly.) And it’s a message that is sure to get some attention from public-school advocates.

Here’s what he had to say:

Read more
Politics & Government
12:00 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

NSA 'Sets New Course' With NC State Lab

The Poulton Innovation Center at NC State is home to the NSA's new Laboratory for Analytic Science.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Inside, the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences looks every bit like the tech company it once was. There’s lots of natural light, open spaces for employees to comfortably congregate, and some funky, retro cubicles.

But instead of young techies trying to discover the next big thing, the third floor of the Poulton Innovation Center on NC State’s Centennial Campus is a startup – for the NSA.

Read more
Education
4:08 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Teachers Lash Out At Compensation Task Force Report

State Sen. Jerry Tillman presides over the Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Maybe it’s the name. A “Task Force” conjures up an image of a group of people rushing in, grabbing a problem around the neck, and wrestling a solution out of it.

Any notion that that might happen with the Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force was doused with cold water by co-chair Rob Bryan when he presented the group’s final report.

Read more
Raleigh Marathon
12:24 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Two Die At Raleigh Rock And Roll Marathon Event

Race organizers say two people have died at the inaugural Raleigh Rock and Roll Marathon. Neither the names nor the causes of the deaths have been released. Both runners were participating in the half-marathon portion of the event.

In a statement, Dr. P.Z. Pearce, the medical director for the Marathon, said: "We are greatly saddened by these tragic losses and our prayers go out to the each of the runner's family and friends. We have spoken with each of the families and they have asked everyone to kindly respect their privacy during this most difficult of times."

Read more
Education
4:00 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Competitive Teaching? NC Wrestles With Paying Best Teachers More

Under the current teacher salary schedule, teachers are paid solely on years of experience.
Credit Dave DeWitt

This is an issue with way more than just two sides. To illustrate how convoluted and complicated paying teachers has become, consider this fairly simple argument from Terry Stoops, the Director of Education Studies at the conservative John Locke Foundation:

“Frankly it’s unfair to our highest-performing teachers,” Stoops says. “There’s no reason why the Teacher of the Year in North Carolina should make as much as any other teacher.”

Now here’s an actual, real life North Carolina Teacher of the Year, who, in a free market, would get paid more:

Read more
Education
3:56 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Ranking Teachers: NC Bets Big On A Complicated Stats Model

State Senator Jerry Tillman addresses the Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Next month, a million or so North Carolina public-school students between third and twelfth grade will start taking tests. Lots of them. Reading and math tests for the younger kids; biology, Algebra, and English for the older kids.

Their scores will be tabulated and run through some servers at SAS Institute, a private company in Cary. There, software called EVAAS will compare the test score the student earned to one a statistical model predicted the student should get.

Read more

Pages