American Graduate

teacher at blackboard
Wikimedia commons

Governor Pat McCrory released his $21 billion budget on Wednesday, setting aside $262.9 million for teacher raises and state employees. 

The governor and lawmakers have made it clear that teacher pay will be a major priority for this year’s short session, which is a time meant for lawmakers to adjust the budget approved last year. 

Teachers held their own “day of action” on Wednesday, the first day of the session. They outlined their demands and concerns in a morning press conference held by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Gavel, Court
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

 The North Carolina Supreme Court has overturned a lower court’s order to halt the state’s voucher program.

That means the program can go on – at least for now. It’s a program that gives low-income families scholarships of up to $4,200 to help send their children to private schools.

Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood issued an injunction earlier this year to stop the program, siding with critics who say it’s unconstitutional because the private school scholarships are funded with taxpayer dollars.

Students in a Guilford County school classroom on computers.
Guilford County Schools

 Attorneys for some low-income school districts say the state is failing on its commitment to provide all students with a sound, basic education.

The lawyers are asking for a hearing in August and a written plan from the state as to how it intends to meet the basic education mandate outlined in the decades-old landmark lawsuit, known as the Leandro case.

Students on a lawn at N.C. State University
Scott Akerman via Flickr

Many studies show that students in rural counties are less likely to go to college, especially four-year or private institutions. Faced with that reality, some university leaders are reconsidering how to attract students from rural communities.

At North Carolina State University, leaders are expanding their current programs that serve and prepare high school students. Earlier this year, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences received a $3 million endowment from a Raleigh couple to help rural students win admission to the university.

State lawmakers voted on Monday to postpone a bill that would allow North Carolina students to attend any public school in the state, noting that more study is needed.

Seamus smiling
mom Billie Lanigan

There's an 8-year-old boy in Fayetteville who gets worried, anxious and even angry when it comes time for testing. A middle schooler in Vass combats headaches and sleeplessness the night before a test. A 10-year-old boy in Mebane worries that he won't move on to the next grade. These are some of the stories that we heard from WUNC listeners when we posed a simple challenge online: "Kids and Testing: Tell us Your Story."

Seamus' Story

A picture of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics team.
Dennis Brack / U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science

A team from Durham's North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics joined 23 other schools over the weekend to compete in the 2014 National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C.  During the competition, students compete in a fast-paced Jeopardy-like forum. They must quickly solve technical problems and answer questions related to science and mathematics.

Team members include Michael An, Anne Feng, Kavi Jain, Sammy Luo, and Daniel Ren.  Their coach is Leslie Brinson.

Fourth-grade teacher Rosalyn Bailey explains a math assignment about fractions that involves higher-level thinking under the new Common Core standards.
Reema Khrais

State lawmakers say they’re hoping to throw away the Common Core standards and replace them with North Carolina’s own education standards.

In a legislative study committee on Thursday, lawmakers proposed a bill that would create a review commission to rewrite the academics standards by December 2015. 

The Common Core standards, initially adopted by 45 states, set high, rigorous goals for what students across the country should be able to do. Supporters of the national standards say they raise the bar in terms of what students should know – that they’re more rigorous.

Students at McDougle Elementary.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

A Superior Court judge on Wednesday halted a mandate that  requires North Carolina school districts to reward their top teachers with multi-year contracts in exchange for giving up tenure.

Guilford County and Durham Public School leaders filed a lawsuit against the new mandate earlier this year, calling it unconstitutional.  The judge issued a  preliminary injunction, which means the two school systems do not have to follow the mandate while the case is being decided.

What is teaching to you? Can you say it in 6 words?

We breathe each day to grow.
by Ms Moffett in Room1 at Benchmark school

I’m an educator, not content deliverer.
by Sarah Cacicio

Standardized tests do not define us
by 4th Grade Writing at Little Cypress Intermediate

Married couple Tracy and Britt Morton, both teachers at Apex High School, explain why they are leaving their current teaching positions. They spoke at a Wake County Schools news conference Thursday.
Reema Khrais

 An alarming number of Wake County teachers have resigned midway through this school year,  according to school officials. More than 600 teachers have left their jobs since July 2013, an increase of 41 percent from last year. Many critics say the current legislative policies and flat pay scale are discouraging teachers from staying the classroom. Listen to the full report below: 

    

Jerry Tillman
Dave DeWitt

Maybe it’s the name. A “Task Force” conjures up an image of a group of people rushing in, grabbing a problem around the neck, and wrestling a solution out of it.

Any notion that that might happen with the Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force was doused with cold water by co-chair Rob Bryan when he presented the group’s final report.

Photo: The state Department of Public Instruction revealed a dramatic drops in student performance on standardized tests.
sandersonhs.org

Many children face anxiety about tests. Sometimes, as the End of Grade or End of Class tests loom, that anxiety grows. 

We want to hear from NC parents.

  • What are you seeing at home?
  • Is your child expressing anxiety about the tests?
  • What conversations have you had, or what have you seen?
  • Do you have an interesting plan to help your child through this time?

Tell us your story! (Your response does not mean that we will make your story public.)

EpiPen Auto Injector
Greg Friese via Flickr

 North Carolina lawmakers are reconsidering a bill that could help children with life-threatening food or insect allergies. The act would require each school in North Carolina to store emergency epinephrine  injectors on hand – medicine that many parents and doctors say could help save a child’s life. You can listen to the full report below.

Wake County schools currently serve more than 2,000 preschool children.
Sarah Gilbert via Flickr

Wake County school officials say they hope to expand pre-kindergarten services by adding more than 200 slots for next school year. 

Superintendent Jim Merrill is asking the Board of Commissioners for $39 million in local funding, with about $1.5 million directed toward hiring more teachers, assistant teachers and special education experts. 

East Chapel Hill High School students
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

 The new Common Core standards have been met with growing criticism from many state leaders, teachers and parents. The standards were initially adopted by 45 states and introduced to North Carolina classrooms in 2012. They’re meant to replace a hodgepodge of state standards with one set of clear, consistent goals for what students should learn in Math and English at every grade level.

Riverside High School senior Cameron McNeill and math teacher/school paper adviser Steven Unruhe
Deirdre Logan

WUNC is in the midst of a yearlong examination of what it's like to be an educator, called the North Carolina Teacher Project. This week, we're returning to the My Teacher series, exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

Will Michaels / WUNC

WUNC is in the midst of a yearlong examination of what it's like to be an educator, called the North Carolina Teacher Project. This week, we're returning to the My Teacher series, exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

WUNC's My Teacher series continues at East Chapel Hill High School, where we asked Hannah Schanzer and Leah Meshnick to interview a teacher who stands out to them.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Crime, violence, dropout rates and out-of-school suspensions declined across North Carolina public schools last school year, according to a report released by state education officials.

The report shows 10,630 reported acts of school crime and violence last school year, a 4.8 percent decrease from the 11,161 acts in 2011-12. The most common reported acts involve illegal possession of drugs or alcohol, weapons or assault.

WUNC is in the midst of a yearlong examination of what it's like to be an educator, called the North Carolina Teacher Project. This week, we're returning to the My Teacher series, exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

Carrboro High School sophomore Carolyn Macleod credits her third grade teacher Hannah Stang with her passion for writing. They have written letters to each other ever since Carolyn left Ms. Stang’s classroom at age 9.

  The North Carolina Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force met yesterday. They will make recommendations for the legislature to consider in the upcoming short session. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC's education reporter Dave Dewitt about the latest.

Classroom
Wikimedia Commons

African-American, Latino and American-Indian children in North Carolina face greater obstacles to success than their peers, according to a new policy report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The report is based on indicators that measure a child’s success from birth to adulthood, such as birth weight, academic performance, teen pregnancy and family income level. 

Will Michaels / WUNC

WUNC is in the midst of a yearlong examination of what it's like to be an educator, called the North Carolina Teacher Project. This week, we're returning to the My Teacher series, exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers

WUNC's My Teacher series continues at Northern High School in Durham, where Katie Tran is a senior and member of the track team.

Will Michaels / WUNC

    

WUNC is in the midst of a yearlong examination of what it's like to be an educator, called the North Carolina Teacher Project. This week, we're returning to the My Teacher series, exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

WUNC's My Teacher series continues at Carrboro High School, where senior Chris Joseph spoke with his assistant football coach and social studies teacher Christoph Stutts.

This is from a math classroom in Chapel Hill
Carol Jackson

Governor Pat McCrory says he plans to reward more than 400 teachers with bonuses in exchange for sharing their techniques. 

The plan is called the Governor's Teacher Network. Teachers apply and those who are selected will serve for one year as content experts and facilitators.

Those 450 teachers will get a bonus of $10,000 dollars each for sharing their best work with their colleagues. The money comes from a federal Race to The Top grant that is meant to improve teaching and learning in North Carolina.

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