American Graduate

Hassina Kiboua works with refugees in Ireland. She observed an art class at the Newcomers School.
Jess Clark

Visitors from seven European countries were in Greensboro Monday to learn how the Doris Henderson Newcomers School educates newly arrived immigrant students.

This DPI map shows the highest and lowest 3-year dropout rates by district.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

A Department of Public Instruction (DPI) report shows after seven years of progress in reducing high school dropouts, last school-year the state's dropout rate ticked up to about 2.4 percent. That's a slight rise from about 2.3 percent for the previous year.

As part of the 2013-14 state budget, the State Board of Education is required to study virtual charter schools and propose draft rules.
Ian Usher via Flickr

North Carolina’s first virtual charter schools are challenging a report that more than a quarter of their students have withdrawn.

Teacher, school, hallway
Jess Clark / WUNC

State lawmakers are looking into ways to train better school principals and keep them in schools that need them.

UNC-Chapel Hill senior Jailen Wallis (center) loves the idea of teaching, but the pay and the working conditions loomed too large as drawbacks to the profession.
Courtesy of Jailen Wallis

 UNC-Chapel Hill senior Jailen Wallis has always been tempted to become a high school English teacher.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr

About one out of ten black students in Wake County’s Public Schools were suspended last school year, according to an annual report presented to Wake County School Board members on Tuesday.

Black students accounted for 63 percent of Wake’s total suspensions, while making up about of fourth of the overall population. Black students also made up 59 percent of Wake’s individual suspensions.

The North Carolina Supreme Court will likely have an opinion on teacher tenure within six months.
Jess Clark

The North Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in the state's fight to get rid of teacher tenure.

The State Board of Education wants to get rid of Standard VI, a piece of teacher evaluations some say is too punitive.

Standard VI requires teachers to meet expected student growth on state standardized tests. If they don’t, principals have to take action against them. That action can range from placement on an improvement plan to dismissal.

Image of June Atkinson, who has been the North Carolina state superintendent since 2005.
North Carolina Democratic Party

Senate Leader Phil Berger is criticizing the Department of Public Instruction for a budget it proposed in January. Documents show the department wanted to use about $2 million meant for a literacy program to fund positions the department axed to meet state-mandated budget cuts.

Wanda McLemore teaches a transitional fourth grade class at Falkener Elementary. The first half of her class is whole-group instruction.
Jess Clark

Forty percent of the state’s third-graders tested below grade level in reading last school year. Those are levels of achievement many parents and legislators say are unacceptable.

The state has been trying to boost reading scores for the last two years with a law called Read to Achieve. But is it getting schools what they need to improve scores?

David Schott / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow charter school organizations and charter management companies to take over the state's lowest performing schools.

Reema Khrais

In Durham’s Central Park School for Children, classrooms look and feel different than they did just a few years ago. Frankly, the charter school is not as upper-middle class or white as it used to be.

“There’s a greater diversity of viewpoints, there’s a greater diversity of perspectives,” Director John Heffernan explains.

Teacher pay increases may be a possibility in the upcoming legislative session, according to Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke), who chairs the House committee on education spending.

children reading
U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

Guilford County Schools says it needs more resources and teacher training to boost reading scores.

DeShannon Korrea and Dwayne Taylor head home, lottery tickets in-hand, from the BP on Lakewood in Durham.
Jess Clark

At Saturday night's Powerball drawing, one very lucky ticketholder could win more than $900 million—the largest lottery jackpot in the nation's history. Ticket sales from Powerball and other lottery games offered in North Carolina are billed as a benefit for the state’s schools. Sales in 2015 were almost $2 billion, and about a quarter of that went to fund public education in the state. But what does that really mean for school funding?

teacher in a blur with classroom
Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

The State Board of Education has approved a policy that allows struggling charter schools to stay open if they are less than five years old.

As part of the 2013-14 state budget, the State Board of Education is required to study virtual charter schools and propose draft rules.
Ian Usher via Flickr

  UPDATED Jan. 11, 2016

Twenty percent of students who enrolled in the state's first virtual charter schools left before the end of the semester, according to a report from the state department of public instruction.

State Board of Education member Olivia Oxendine says she wants to find out why so many students are pulling out.

Lt. Governor Dan Forest has asked the State Board of Education to delay the approval of an annual report on charter schools because he says he thinks the report is too negative.

The state board planned to approve the report this week in order to send it to the General Assembly before a January deadline.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr

The State Board of Education meets Wednesday and Thursday this week, and charter schools occupy much of the agenda.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, data from a few years ago show that about a fourth of NC teachers work a part-time job.
Flickr user Mike Mozart

In the popular teenage movie Mean Girls, there’s a scene where a few high school students spot someone unexpected at the mall.

“Oh my god, that’s Mrs. Norbury,” one student exclaims.  

“I love seeing teachers outside of school, it’s like seeing a dog walk on its hinds legs,” a second student adds.   

It’s their math teacher, played by Tina Fey. But she’s not shopping.

“No, actually I’m just here because I bar-tend a couple of nights a week,” she says.

Taking On A Retail Job

Sen. Jerry Tillman addresses the Academic Standards Review Commission before their vote on final recommendations.
Jess Clark

The state commission charged with reviewing the Common Core voted yesterday on its final recommended changes to the state’s academic standards. But the final suggestions may be not be satisfactory to Common Core opponents in the legislature who want a total rewrite.

The North Carolina Association of Educators is endorsed Democratic candidate Roy Cooper for governor in early December.
Jess Clark

UPDATED Dec. 15, 2015

The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) is the state's largest teachers' group, but Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Madison) is concerned it's not large enough to be eligible for the state to collect dues for the group out of its members' pay checks.

10-year-old Tiylar Friday
Reema Khrais / WUNC

Tiylar Friday is a long-time reader.

"Ever since I was, I think, five," he says.

Today, he's 10. And he's got a lot of books.

"Sometimes I wouldn't like to read a book, but after I get in the middle of it, I just want to keep going cause I’m curious about what would happen next."

When Tiylar was in the third grade at his school in Greensboro, he and his peers were tested for gifted classes.

The North Carolina Association of Educators is endorsed Democratic candidate Roy Cooper for governor in early December.
Jess Clark

 UPDATED Dec. 10, 2015

The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) is endorsing Attorney General Roy Cooper for governor.

Wake County Superintendent Jim Merrill said the report shows investing in Wake schools has economic benefits for the county.
Jess Clark

Investment in Wake County schools is increasing property values, job growth and spending according to a study out of N.C. State. Wake schools and a local nonprofit called Wake Ed Partnership commissioned N.C. State researcher Mike Walden to conduct the study.