American Graduate

George W. Bush signs the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001.
Wikipedia Creative Commons

Congress might be close to an overhaul of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and the North Carolina State Board of Education is preparing for the reboot.

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

Since the Common Core was implemented three years ago, high school math has been taught in a new way. Instead of taking algebra, geometry and statistics in separate semesters, students now learn parts of those subjects in every math class. But the shift to an "integrated standard" has caused challenges for teachers, students and parents.

History teacher Karla Albertson goes over civil rights cases with her students at Louisburg High School in Franklin County.
Reema Khrais

Over the last couple of decades, many of North Carolina’s public schools have become increasingly segregated. But in Franklin County, it’s a different story.

The district stands out as having some of the most racially balanced schools in the state—a bright spot in a system working to overcome several challenges.

school bus
Reema Khrais

Franklin County Public Schools are one of a handful of districts in the state bound by court desegregation orders. The federal orders are what helps keeps the schools among the most racially balanced in the state at a time when many districts are re-segregating.

The Durham County Board of Education passed a resolution demanding the legislature repeal the A-F grading system.
Jess Clark

UPDATED Dec. 4, 2015

Friday was the deadline for schools and districts labeled low-performing to submit their improvement plans. State law has designated 581 schools as low-performing based on student test scores. But some districts are speaking out against the A-F school grading system and lawmakers’ moves to toughen it.

A group of student protesters interrupted a UNC town hall meeting about race and inclusion to present their demands.
Reema Khrais

A town hall about race and inclusion on UNC’s campus Thursday drew loud protests and candid reflections from students. The discussion comes on the heels of several campus protests across the country related to racial issues.


classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

A coalition of community members has filed a federal complaint accusing the Harnett County school board of perpetuating racial inequalities within its school system.

Litigation, legal, gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Thirty-four North Carolina school districts are suing the state for more than $46 million they say should have gone to fund public schools.

The funds in question are penalties the state collects from drivers for taking unsafe vehicles on the road. Since the passage of the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2011, the state has been funneling $50 penalties for "improper equipment" to county jails to pay to house people convicted of minor crimes.

school bus
wikimedia commons

State School Board Chairman Bill Cobey and State Superintendent June Atkinson are exploring using a new authority that allows the board to merge adjacent county school districts.

Republican Phil Berger of Eden is president pro tempore of the state Senate.
http://www.ncleg.net/

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger made blunt remarks about public school reform at a recent gathering held by Best NC, a business-backed education advocacy group.

He suggested “scrapping schools of education” and likened investing in teacher assistants to investing in manual typewriters.

“The stakes are too high to be risk and conflict adverse when it comes to education policy,” he argued.

Students used a ratings chart to help select their candidates.
Carolyn Kreuger / Kids Voting Durham

Durham voters will elect their mayor and city councilors Tuesday, but thousands of Durham kids and teenagers will be holding their own election.

Last week at Hillside High School in Durham, civics teacher Nicholas Gruber-Grace set aside a few minutes of third period for his students to review the candidates in Durham’s municipal election.

A group of students, parents and community organizers held a press conference Wednesday to urge Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to provide a more supportive environment for people of color.
Reema Khrais

A coalition of students, parents and community organizers is calling on Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools to close the achievement gap between minority and white students.

In a recent report, the group, The Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools, urges school leaders to increase access to gifted education programs, provide a race-conscious curriculum and to require training on implicit bias.

School officials say they’re listening to community members and have been developing a long-range plan that holds teachers more accountable. 

The map above shows changes in eighth grade reading scores from 2013 to 2015. North Carolina was one of 13 states that lost ground.
National Assessment of Educational Progress

Eighth grade math and reading scores fell in North Carolina, but fourth grade reading scores increased according an assessment known as the Nation's Report Card.

ASRC members listen to public comment by anti-Common Core activists and parents. The commission was formed at the behest of lawmakers who oppose Common Core.
Jess Clark

Wake Ed Partnership, a business-supported education foundation, is urging parents to tell the commission reviewing the state’s K-through-12 academic standards that they want to keep Common Core. 

Jennifer Schrand was one of several anti-Common Core activists who spoke at the meeting.
Jess Clark

A state commission reviewing the Common Core standards heard from a few parents and activists yesterday. Opponents were especially vocal.

Jennifer Schrand was one of several speakers aligned with anti-Common Core groups. She told the academic standards review commission her fourth-grade daughter struggles with the new math standards, which stress more theoretical understanding.

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