American Graduate

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.

About 60 people had the opportunity to share their thoughts on Common Core to lawmakers during Thursday's legislative meeting.
Reema Khrais

 

Dozens of parents, teachers and education leaders expressed their strong opposition and support of Common Core Thursday to a group of lawmakers considering whether to repeal or revamp the new educational standards.

The state adopted the standards in 2010, but they were implemented in public schools last school year. The standards lay out what students need to know and be able to do from kindergarten through high school.

Brenda Scott

WUNC has been running a series called My Teacher. As a part of the series, students around the state are interviewing their teachers.

Brenda Scott is long out of school, but she's been listening to our stories on the radio and wrote to say:

Karin Vlietstra via Flickr

At least 28 school districts across the state have voiced opposition to a new law that repeals teacher tenure and replaces it with a plan that rewards the top teachers, according the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Cumberland County Schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools are among the latest to reject the law, which is meant to phase out tenure for all teachers by 2018.

teacher at blackboard
Wikimedia commons

    

This week, Cumberland County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg school systems passed measures opposing a new law that eliminates teacher tenure and replaces it with a system that rewards the top 25 percent of teachers. The law addresses the complex and challenging issues of teaching evaluation and teacher pay.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Eric Guckian, senior education advisor to Governor McCrory, and Larry Nilles, an eighth grade social studies teacher and president of Wake North Carolina Association of Educators.

'I Met You And Everything Changed'

Mar 7, 2014

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 exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

Northern High School sophomore Christina Dixon entered Erica Walker-Joynes' exceptional children's class last year because she was deemed to be at risk for dropping out when she got to high school.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory says his staff will consider making changes to a new law that offers raises to top teachers who give up tenure rights.

Under the law, teacher tenure will be phased out by 2018 and replaced with a plan that requires local school districts to pick the top 25-percent of teachers who will be offered four-year contracts and bonuses.

“I think it’s an example of passing a policy without clearly understanding the execution,” McCrory said.

U.S. Embassy The Hague via Flickr

  North Carolina outperforms most states when it comes to teaching civil rights education to K-12 classrooms, according to a new study by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project.

The center assigned A-through-F grades to each state based on their education standards and resources available to teachers. North Carolina scored a “B,” a drastic improvement from the “F” it received in a similar report from 2011.

Twenty states received “F’s,” while 14 received “D’s.” The study notes that twelve states require no teaching of the civil rights movement at all.

'You're The Reason I Started Doing Performance Poetry'

Mar 6, 2014
Carrboro High School teacher Mackenzie Malkemes and junior Ryley McGinnis
Timothy Leow

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 exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

Ryley McGinnis was shy and hadn't thought much about performance poetry when she entered Mackensie Malkemes' English class at Carrboro High School, but  a year later, Ryley is writing and reading her poetry out loud whenever she has the chance.

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 exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

Middle school teacher Steven Simmons says he was a little overwhelmed in 2005 when he started his career at Estes Hills Elementary School in Chapel Hill. But third graders like Aditi Goyal kept him going in those early days.

'You've Become More Of A Role Model For Students'

Mar 4, 2014
Northern High School principal Matthew Hunt and senior Caleb Crawley
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 exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

Caleb Crawley is a senior at Northern High School in Durham, where Matthew Hunt is serving his first year as principal.  Mr. Hunt has walked the halls of Northern High for several years as an administrator, but he played basketball in the Netherlands long before he made his way to a classroom.

'High School Is Not Easy. It's Not'

Mar 3, 2014
Chapel Hill High School English instructor Michael Irwin and senior Madison Gunning
Madison Gunning

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 exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

Gordon Lew via Flickr

Middle school students are more likely to face discipline problems when surrounded by large numbers of students who are repeating grades, according to a new study from researchers at Duke University.

The findings explain that suspensions and behavioral problems, including substance abuse, fighting and classroom disruption, escalate among students across the school community as the number of older or retained students increase.

Teachers protest
Dave DeWitt

A task force created by the legislature last year met earlier this week to discuss incentives for good teaching. Some Republican leaders favor a merit pay system that would reward a limited number of teachers based on their individual performances. But many educators believe this would discourage collaboration within their schools. 

Deana and Mark Kahlenberg
Still shot from video / Emerging Issues Forum

Deana and Mark Kahlenberg teach at the same school: Alderman Road Elementary in Cumberland County. They met there. They both enjoyed teaching for many years - Deana for seven and Mark for eight. And now they are both leaving the school, and leaving the profession. They are in grad school to become speech and language pathologists.

Why did they choose to leave?

Mark: Mostly pay reasons

Teachers protesting
Dave DeWitt

State lawmakers and education leaders are considering paying North Carolina teachers based on their individual performance, despite  concerns from stakeholders who argue it could harmfully affect students and teacher morale.

Republican Senator Jerry Tillman, an education budget writer, is helping lead a newly-formed legislative task force that will develop recommendations for alternative pay plans. Members, whom include legislators and education leaders across the state, must factor in teacher evaluation measures and student performance outcomes.  

Judge Robert Hobgood granted opponents’ plea to freeze a law  that uses public funds to send low-income students to private schools.
Reema Khrais

A North Carolina judge is blocking a new law that uses taxpayer dollars to send low-income students to private or religious schools. 

Responding to opponents’ request to stop the voucher program, the judge ruled Friday that the yearly grants of up to $4200 violate the state constitution.

“The court finds that to maintain the status quo, that the state school fund must be used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a system of public schools, of course, in concert with the North Carolina Constitution,” said Judge Robert Hobgood.

A common sight in almost every school -- students taking a test
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.  

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.

Urban Ministries of Durham's food pantry, which serves community members in need, tends to face extra demand after storms or bad weather.
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.

Pierce Freelon (left) and Apple Juice Kid with students from the community
Beat Making Lab

In an after-school project called "Re-Mixing the News" a group of middle and high school students from Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC, take WUNC news reports and add inspiration: beats, sound effects, and music. They create a fresh, new take on traditional journalism in the Beat Making Lab.

Gov. Pat McCrory
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. 

Teacher salaries are losing ground fast in North Carolina.

Jennifer Spivey has been a teacher for three years at South Columbus High School, on the north side of the border between the Carolinas. She's been recognized as an outstanding teacher; she has a master's degree, and last summer she won a prestigious Kenan fellowship to improve education. But she still lives in her parents' basement.

Classroom
WUNC File Photo

2/24/14:

Fascinating article published over the weekend by the Washington Post entitled "You Think You Know What Teachers Do. Right? Wrong." The author, Sarah Blaine, spent two years teaching English Language Arts at a rural public high school. She left to be a lawyer.

Here's an excerpt from the middle of the post:

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