American Graduate

Beat Making Lab: Behind-The-Scenes Blog

Jul 7, 2014
Two of the teen participants in the chapel Hill Beat Making Lab
Beat Making Lab

Beat Making Lab is a project where where music artists (producers and emcees)  travel around the world teaching young people to make hip hop and electronic beats. It's run by Pierce Freelon and Stephen Levitin aka The Apple Juice Kid.

Jennah Jones is also known as DJ Twice
Beat Making Lab

Chapel Hill, NC teenager Jennah Jones is also known as DJ Twice. She's part of a project in which teens listen to NPR news stories and and create alternate versions, with original hip hop soundtracks.

Glenwood Elementary students
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a bill that could replace parts – if not all – of the Common Core academic standards in North Carolina.

The two chambers drafted separate bills earlier this session that would create commissions to review the English and Math standards. The House bill recommended flat out replacing the standards, while the Senate legislation left open the possibility that parts of Common Core could continue.

Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan
NC General Assembly/US Senate

House Speaker Thom Tillis is the target of a new ad that criticizes the state legislature’s cuts to education.

The Senate Majority PAC spent $800,000 on the ad in support of U.S. Senator Kay Hagan in her bid for re-election against her Republican rival.  

PACE ACADEMY
Reema Khrais

State officials have agreed to grant a three-year renewal to PACE Academy’s charter, months after the State Board of Education voted to terminate the Carrboro school’s charter.

WUNC reported on the status of the school earlier this year  in January and February

Teen Reporters: 8 Essential Summer Jams

Jun 26, 2014
earbuds and a heart
Olivia Alcock / Flickr/Creative Commons

WUNC is working with several teen reporters this summer. The young people are learning Journalism 101 from seasoned NPR and WUNC reporters.

On their first day on the job, we asked each reporter to recommend a song. The idea is to pull together a fun 2014 summer playlist for you.

Here are the recommendations.

Jamayah Parrish: "Pumped up Kicks" by Foster the People:

Governor Pat McCrory gathered with school leaders and legislators on Wednesday to show their support for a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay.
Reema Khrais

State House Republicans are teaming up with Governor Pat McCrory to help speed up slow budget talks. Legislators are supposed to make adjustments to the two-year state budget by July 1, but progress has been sluggish.

Representatives say they want to at least pass a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay. It would give teachers an average five-percent raise without relying on funds from the lottery. 

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt

Senate and House leaders are expected to begin meeting in conference committees this week to make adjustments to the two-year budget plan. 

They have until June 30th to resolve differences and send their spending plan to Governor Pat McCrory.

Medicaid funding and teacher pay raises are expected to be the key sticking points in negotiations. But many Republicans, like Representative Craig Horn (R-Union), say they’re optimistic about the process.

(l-r) Emmanuel Johnson, Thar Thwai, Chelsea Korynta, Jamayah Parrish, Morgan Manson, Lilli Morales
Carol Jackson

Where do you find those stories? That is one of the most-asked question of a radio reporter. Six young people will find out the answer this summer in WUNC's 3rd annual Summer Youth Radio Institute. The Institute kicked off Monday June 23 with an ambitious goal: teach the teens to find stories in their communities and give them the tools to tell those stories on the radio.

More than 50 young people applied to be a part of the experience. The rookie reporters hired for the six positions come from Orange, Durham and Chatham counties.

Teachers and supporters carried heavy cardboard boxes of petition signatures calling lawmakers to raise the teacher pay to the national average.
Reema Khrais

 A group of teachers and supporters dropped off a 61,000-signature petition to lawmakers on Thursday, demanding pay raises that do not result in destructive cuts to public education.

They carried the 14 heavy and large cardboard boxes to the offices of Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis, who are currently leading the efforts to raise teacher pay. 

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