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
8:36 am
Fri February 21, 2014

N.C. Leaders, Educators Evaluate Common Core Rollout

North Carolina legislators are still struggling with Common Core standards in schools.
Credit Photo by biologycorner. - http://spotlight.macfound.org/blog/entry/future-of-testing-and-data-driven-learning/#sthash.ANdJLjay.dpuf / MacArthur Foundation

North Carolina lawmakers continue to scrutinize the implementation of Common Core Standards, as they collect suggestions from leaders and educators to improve, amend or even replace them.

The state adopted the standards in 2010, though they were first implemented last school year. They are supposed to set a clear, consistent blueprint for what students across should learn from kindergarten through high school.

Implemented in 45 states, Common Core creates goals and rigorous tests that are intended to look the same across the country.  

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Education
6:54 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Groups Say NC Schools Deny Enrollment To Immigrant Kids

Credit David Benbennick via wikimedia commons

North Carolina civil rights groups are urging the U.S. Justice Department to launch a federal investigation into two North Carolina school districts that allegedly discriminated against immigrant youth.

The complaint says that Buncombe and Union county schools unlawfully complicated and denied enrollment  to two 17-year-olds, which coalition attorneys say represents a much larger problem in the state.

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Education
11:42 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Snow Days Impact Low-Income Families Even After Storm Is Over

Urban Ministries of Durham's food pantry, which serves community members in need, tends to face extra demand after storms such as last week's.
Credit Reema Khrais / WUNC

Thousands of North Carolina students are back in school after last week’s winter storm. But for many, the effects of the snow aren’t quite over. For low-income families, three to four days off of school can disrupt a tight budget, especially when their children rely on free or reduced lunches. 

Joyce Beavers, 32, takes care of four children who are all under the age of twelve. When she’s not at home, she works as a nurse’s aid making $7.25 an hour. She says she brings in less than $15-thousand dollars a year, and her husband is unemployed.

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Education
7:43 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Gov. McCrory Hopes To Give Schools Flexibility With Make Up Days

Governor Pat McCrory says he'll work with education leaders to help give schools more flexibility in making up for time lost due to the winter storm.
Credit NC Governor's Office

In light of the winter storm, Governor Pat McCrory says he will work with education leaders to review laws on make up days for public schools.

This week's snow storm led to closings that lasted up to three days for many schools across the state, forcing school officials to make tough decisions on how to make up for the lost time. Many schools still need to make up time from last month's snow. 

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Education
5:00 am
Fri February 7, 2014

NC Board Of Ed Calls Two Schools ‘Not High-Quality,’ Doesn’t Renew Their Charters

The State Board of Education voted to not renew PACE Academy's charter for another year after finding issues of noncompliance and accountability. Leaders of the school, however, intend to appeal the decision.
Credit Reema Khrais

Citing poor performance and compliance problems, the State Board of Education voted to not renew the charters of two schools in Carrboro and Morehead City.

The state’s Charter School Advisory Board recommended to the Board of Education in December to terminate the charters held by PACE Academy and Coastal Academy for Technology and Science.

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Education
10:36 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Under Pressure, NC Schools Request Different Third-Grade Reading Tests

School districts say current assessments under the Read to Achieve mandate are excessive and take away from teaching time.
Credit Judy Baxter via Flickr

Calling the current testing mandate excessive, school districts are asking the State Board of Education if they can implement their own tests to fulfill the state’s new reading law for third-grade students.

Under the Read to Achieve law, passed last year, third-grade students are required to attend summer reading camps if they are not reading at grade level by the end of the year.

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Education
6:00 am
Wed February 5, 2014

How NC Funding Of Schools Differs From Most States

North Carolina's public schools receive 58% of their funding from the state government.
Credit Dave DeWitt

North Carolina ranks eighth in the nation in the percentage of state funding schools receive, according to officials.

The state’s public schools receive 58% of their revenues from the state government, compared to nation’s average of 44%. The remaining profits come from local and federal sources, though most states receive about 50-50 from state and local levels.

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Education
10:19 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Private School Vouchers Become Available, Despite Lawsuits

Parent DeNille Amendola hopes to send her 11-year-old son to a private school next year with help from the state's new voucher program.
Credit Reema Khrais

A new program that will help low-income families afford to send their children to private schools has started accepting applications, despite harsh criticisms and legal challenges that have plagued it.

Critics of the voucher program insist it will tear money away from public schools, while supporters have hailed it as a way to give low-income families school choice.

Parent DeNille Amendola doesn’t involve herself in the sticky details of the dispute.  All she cares about is how it could finally provide a “better education” for her children.  

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Education
5:00 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Some Schools Still Closed From Winter Storm, Officials Plan Make Up Days

Several state school districts canceled classes because of snow and ice accumulation.
Credit ecksunderscore via Flickr Creative Commons

With many schools across eastern and central North Carolina still closed this morning, school officials say they are working to ensure students make up the appropriate number of days.

Each school year, most districts build in additional days in case of closings due to inclement weather.

Jeff Nash, a spokesman for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system, says his district designated eight days that could be used to make up time.

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Education
7:54 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Report: 65 Percent Of NC Kids Enter Fourth Grade Below Reading Grade Level

A new report shows that 65% of North Carolina students entering the fourth grade are not proficient readers
Credit Reema Khrais

Sixty-five percent of students in North Carolina are not reading at grade level by the time they reach fourth grade, according to the latest KIDS COUNT data snapshot.

The data report shows large disparities between lower and higher-income households. Lower-income students tend to struggle more, as 78 percent are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade, compared to the 48 percent of students from higher-income families. 

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