Liz Schlemmer

Education Policy Reporter

Liz Schlemmer is WUNC's Education Policy Reporter, a fellowship position supported by the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. She has an M.A. from the UNC Chapel Hill School of Media & Journalism and a B.A. in history and anthropology from Indiana University.

She has previously served as a temporary Morning Edition producer and intern at WUNC and as a news intern at St. Louis Public Radio. Liz is originally from Indiana, where she grew up with a large extended family of educators.
 

A vote here sign in Chapel Hill
Amy Townsend / WUNC

The General Assembly passed a bill today that would change early voting times. Democrats say the bill that has been touted by Republicans as a measure to expand early voting, could actually make it harder for some to vote.

Teacher in classroom with students.
woodleywonderworks / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/auPuAq

An omnibus education bill titled "Various Changes to Education Laws" emerged from a legislative committee Wednesday. Senators added a number of provisions to an existing bill that was originally only about cursive writing, multiplication tables and advanced math classes.

A picture of a man using an e-cigarette.
www.vaping360.com / Vaping3650/Flickr

More high school students in the state say they are using e-cigarettes, or plan to start in the next year.

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

A new proposal to expand access to advanced math classes in public schools is moving quickly through the General Assembly.

Chandler White works on spelling words. White, 8, receives the Opportunity Scholarship voucher to attend a private school.
Lynn Hey / For WUNC

A research team that studied the test results of students in the state’s largest voucher program say a far more rigorous evaluation of the program and its outcomes for students is needed.   

Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

For many students with disabilities, going to the movie theater can be a scary experience. The blaring sounds and contrast of bright lights in a pitch-black room can be overstimulating for children with sensory-related disabilities like autism. So many theaters now offer occasional, "sensory-friendly" film screenings to make movie-going easier for all kids.

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Following months of planning after the school shooting massacre in Parkland, Florida, Republican leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly announced $35 million will be earmarked for new school safety measures.

In this May 12, 2017, photo, registered nurse Samantha Marz checks a student at Rundle elementary school in Las Vegas.
John Locher / AP

North Carolina could get new standards for staffing school nurses, if a new proposal goes forward.

Eight-year-old Chandler White, who struggles with dyslexia, attends The Piedmont School, a non-profit specializing in teaching students with learning disabilities.
Lynn Hey / For WUNC

Eight-year-old Chandler White is a bright-eyed, happy third grader, alternating Tae Kwon Do and spelling homework in his dining room with his mom.

He says he "really, really likes" his new school, The Piedmont School, a private school in High Point.

But, he used to hate going to school. It's the kind of thing a lot of kids say from time to time, but Chandler was really struggling, said his mom, Kara White.

Kitchen worker Nancy Martinez serves breakfast at an elementary cafeteria in Chandler, Arizona during a teacher strike there. North Carolina teachers are walking in AZ teachers' footsteps with protests this Wednesday.
Matt York / AP

A total of 38 school districts will be closed for classes Wednesday while thousands of teachers march to the Capitol to call for better school funding. Some schools will hold an optional workday, with limited operations. That means many hourly employees, like cafeteria workers or bus drivers, could miss out on a day of work.

From left to right, Eddie, Natalie and Maria Fernanda Cortes, seated outside Mount Pisgah Academy, a private Seventh-Day Adventist academy near Asheville, where the two sisters will attend school in Fall 2018.
Courtesy of Heidy Cortes Gomez

It was Saturday morning, and that meant the Cortes family was at church. They are faithful Seventh-day Adventists. Eleven-year-old Eddie played the piano to start the service.

His father, Eddie Sr. sat in the first church pew, next to Mafer, 15, and Natalie, 13, who leaned on their mom, Heidy.

Third grade teachers, Brittney Dennis, left, and Sabrina Peacock.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Thousands of North Carolina teachers will attend a rally at the Capitol Wednesday. They will call on legislators to restore funding and initiatives for teachers and students that were eliminated in the past decade.  Brittney Dennis and Sabrina Peacock are two third-grade teachers at different stages of their careers.  The two sat down to talk about the many cuts they have seen through the years, and why they plan to march. 

Teachers walk in together as they arrive for work at San Marcos Elementary School Friday, May 4, 2018, in Chandler, Ariz., after a statewide teachers strike ended. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York / AP

This Wednesday more than 10,000 teachers are expected in Raleigh on the General Assembly's opening day to demand better pay and working conditions.

Veteran educators say those demands are about restoring education funding to what it was before the recession hit and a wave of Republican-led policies and tax cuts dismantled their benefits.

Teachers have adopted the tagline: "It's Personal."

Students at Yadkin Valley Community School, a Montessori School in Elkin, crowd around school choice advocate Darrell Allison in celebration of National School Choice Week.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Darrell Allison is on the road again, taking a final long trip to visit private schools across North Carolina. He's used to traveling - to small towns, suburbs, down east and to the mountains to talk to parents and legislators across the state.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

When legislators return to Raleigh next week for the start of the spring session, they will have a slew of ideas to consider to improve student safety in North Carolina schools. The House Select Committee on School Safety on Thursday approved a handful of recommendations to the General Assembly, and also drafted a number of possible bills.

Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

The State Board of Education has approved a contract to turn over operation of Southside-Ashpole Elementary to the charter school operator Achievement for All Children.

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

There could be more and better-trained, school-based police officers in North Carolina -- if the recommendations of a legislative committee are put into action.

The entrance to the Wake County Public Schools administration office.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Wake County Schools might consider changing its dress code to one that is likely to result in fewer violations. School Board member Lindsay Mahaffey says she's heard a lot of feedback that the current dress code is biased.

Cedar Fork Elementary in Wake County would have to add three more kindergarten classrooms under the class-size change scheduled to go into effect in the fall.
Jess Clark / WUNC

A legislative committee that may overhaul the way schools are funded is looking to rewrite the formula so it’s based primarily on a school district’s students.

High school and college students eager to respond to questions about gun safety issues from lawmakers.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

The Institute of Politics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill held a "reverse" town hall on gun violence Sunday to give influential lawmakers the opportunity to ask young people what they thought about the issue.

East Chapel Hill High students Sahmoi Stout and Sydney McLean lead fellow students in a march for gun control as part of the National School Walkout, holding the banner that says "Enough."
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

About 200 students from several Chapel Hill area schools marched together up a hill, and nearly five miles across their town behind an orange banner that said "Enough."

Mary Carelock sits on the porch of her home on East Bessemer Avenue with her daughter. She was enjoying the rain on her porch Sunday evening when the tornado struck. Her house was destroyed.
Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

Updated 10:13 a.m. | April 17, 2018

Mary Carelock was enjoying a rainy Sunday evening on her front porch on East Bessemer Avenue. Then in a matter of minutes, everything changed.

Elizabeth Ferguson Hollifield, a teacher from Princeton W.Va., holds a sign as she walks to a teacher rally Monday, March 5, 2018.
Tyler Evert / AP

Teachers in Arizona are protesting for higher pay, while Kentucky educators rallied at their state capitol this Friday. The same day, Oklahoma teachers ended a 9-day walkout, rivaling the length of time West Virginia teachers left their classrooms last month. Distressed teachers seeking higher pay and better funding for education have created a movement in red states, leaving some to wonder, will North Carolina teachers join in next?

Lynn Makor is a school psychology consultant for the NC Department of Public  Instruction and the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. She addressed the House Select Committee on School Safety's Student Health Subcommittee.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

School psychologists want legislators to know that there aren't enough of them to go around.

A subcommittee of the House Select School Safety Committee met Monday to consider improvements to school mental health services. One of the resounding recommendations from school pyschologists and counselors: they need more support.

Cold case file
JULIENNE ALEXANDER / CRIMINAL

When the Dallas Police Department fails to find the person responsible for the death of a college sophomore, her best friend steps in to solve the case.  

Greensboro city skyline
Mark Goebel / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/4UYDyX

The city of Greensboro could do more to ensure businesses owned by women and minorities get contracts with the city, according to a report presented to the city council this week.

UNC System President Margaret Spellings in her office
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings updated the joint legislative education oversight committee Tuesday on a new commission to develop statewide education goals.

Courtesy of NC Coastal Land Trust

The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust has plans to help form a state nature preserve on a site that may be the final destination of the historic lost colony at Roanoke Island.

File photo of Southside-Ashpole Elementary in Robeson County.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

The State Board of Education will vote this week on an operator for the first school in the state's Innovative School District, and the recommended contender's board of directors includes a former legislator who sponsored the bill to create the new district.

School bus
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

Educators and education policy leaders are weighing many options when it comes to improving school safety in an age of mass school shootings and other threats of violence. Add to that list strengthening penalties for anyone who threatens a school and its students.

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