Reema Khrais

Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.

A North Carolina native, Reema began her radio career with Carolina Connection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an anchor and reporter. She later interned at The Story, and traveled to Cairo, Egypt to produce stories from the 2011 revolution. Her work has also appeared on CNN, The Takeaway and On The Media.

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Education
7:23 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Did Speaker Tillis Really Cut $500 Million From Education?

Credit Senate Majority PAC/YouTube

Education is a central theme in the race between Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis. Both U.S. Senate candidates have highlighted the issue as they try to gain an advantage in what has been a tight contest. 

Hagan has argued that Tillis is not prioritizing public schools and education. She claims that he cut about $500 million in education spending.

“His priorities even speak louder than his words,” Hagan said during her first debate with Tillis. “...The fact that he gave tax cuts to the millionaires. He cut education by $500 million.”

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Education
7:46 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Little More Than Half Of NC Students Proficient In Test Results

Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

 More public school students passed their standardized exams last year than in the previous year, in part because of changes to the grading scale that made it easier for students to be considered proficient.

The overall passing rate, across all subjects, was about 56 percent. Results are based on end-of-grade tests in reading, science and math, and end-of-course tests in three high school subjects.

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Education
6:06 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Global School In Rural Edgecombe Is 'Recipe For Success’

Kindergarten teacher Daly Romero Espinal teaches her students basic Spanish commands on the first day of school at Martin Millennium Academy.
Credit Reema Khrais

In rural Edgecombe County, North Carolina, community members are welcoming a new school they say will help transform their district, and its academic reputation.

It’s a unique K-8 school with international teachers and a curriculum focused on global education. Some students will also have the opportunity to take all of their instruction in Spanish.

The new school is trying to create global communities for its students.

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Education
6:13 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Advocates Ask NC Supreme Court To Release School Voucher Funds

Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

Supporters of private school vouchers are trying to put the state’s program back on course. Attorneys are asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to overturn a recent ruling that halts the program.

A superior court judge ruled last week that using taxpayer dollars to help send children to private schools is unconstitutional.

But critics say the program gives low-income families school choice and that freezing the funds has put hundreds of families in limbo.

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Education
5:20 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Judge Rules Private School Voucher Program Unconstitutional

Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

 A Wake County Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered a stop to the use of taxpayer money to pay tuition at private or religious schools.

Judge Robert Hobgood ruled that the private school voucher program, also known as Opportunity Scholarships, is unconstitutional on several accounts. Advocates say they plan to appeal the decision.

Hobgood said the program pays for students to attend schools that are not obliged to meet state curriculum requirements, violating the state constitution's guarantee for students to have an opportunity to a sound, basic education.

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Politics & Government
8:40 am
Thu August 21, 2014

General Assembly Adjourns With Medicaid and Teacher Assistant Plans Unfinished

Credit Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / www.flickr.com/photos/statelibrarync/8634329145/

  After a prolonged legislative session marked by delayed talks and Republican infighting, the General Assembly has finished its work and adjourned for the year.

The short session dragged on as lawmakers struggled to compromise over key issues, including teacher pay and coal ash. Legislators managed to strike a last-minute deal on Wednesday that would work to remove coal ash from 33 ponds across the state.

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Education
6:52 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Judge To Rule On Legality Of Private School Voucher Program

Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

 After hearing lengthy arguments on Tuesday, Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood says he will make a ruling on the legality of the state's private school voucher program Thursday morning.

The program, also known as Opportunity Scholarships, uses taxpayer dollars to help low-income families send their children to private schools. The annual grants go up to $4,200 per student.

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Politics & Government
7:52 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Incentives Bill Spurs Debate Among Legislators

Credit Matthew Lenard

State lawmakers are at odds over intertwined bills that many argue are postponing the adjournment of the legislative session.

One of those measures -- House Bill 1224 -- is loaded with job-creation incentives aimed at luring businesses to the state. It would also cap local sales taxes. 

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Education
8:33 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Explaining NC's Teacher Pay Raises

Credit cybrarian77 / Creative Commons/Flickr

Governor Pat McCrory has signed a $21 billion dollar state budget that includes pay increases for teachers. He and other Republican leaders have been trying to send a loud and clear message that teachers will be getting a historic pay raise, the first major one in years.

They’ve been touting it as an average seven percent increase. But there’s been a lot of confusion over how that’ll actually pan out and whether all teachers will see a pay bump.

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Politics & Government
10:36 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Gov. McCrory Signs $21B State Budget Deal

Credit Reema Khrais

Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law the state’s $21.1 billion budget bill that was approved by the legislature last week.

The signing comes five weeks after the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1st, a deadline lawmakers did not meet because of stalled negotiations and debate largely over teacher pay and Medicaid funding. 

McCrory signed the 260-page budget deal on Thursday at the executive mansion, proudly noting that the spending plan includes raises for teachers and state employees, while not increasing taxes or making reductions in Medicaid eligibility.

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