Education

Classroom
WUNC File Photo

House representatives in the state's General Assembly presented a bipartisan proposal on Thursday to create a scholarship program to help create highly-effective teachers.

The program, which received its first approval by a House Education Committee, would provide scholarship loans for individuals to attend “highly-effective” education schools. According to the bill, recipients would receive up to $8,500 per year.

“We need to attract and retain high-quality teachers and put them in the places where they’re needed the most,” said Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union).

Students participate in the 2014 NC Science Festival.
NC Science Festival

What do hip-hop and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have in common?

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

Lawmakers in the state House have until the end of the day to file any bills they have not yet submitted. 

Hundreds of proposals are already up for debate this session. One plan would require university professors to teach four courses per semester to keep their salaries. 

Katherine Stewart's book investigates a Bible study club with chapters in thousands of U.S. schools.
PublicAffairs

In 2009, journalist Katherine Stewart heard that something called The Good News Club was coming to her daughter’s public elementary school in Santa Barbara, California.

At first she thought its mission seemed benign, but once she began to look into the organization and how it operated, she felt compelled to dig in further.

In addition to taking on education initiatives, PAGE encourages girls to produce photography and digital stories.
Madison County Photo Exhibition / carolinapage.org

Rural communities in western North Carolina are in the midst of an economic shift.

The rise and fall of the family farm means places like Madison County are looking for new ways to support themselves. The answer could be in the tech industry. But technology businesses rely on a steady stream of well-educated workers. 

A panel discussion tonight at Duke University, "Rethinking Appalachia," examines ways to develop a high-tech workforce in rural Appalachia.

Vivian Connell

When Vivian Connell was in college, she was already a teachers' advocate. She was on CNN in the network's early years to talk about a teacher's wrongful termination at the University of Georgia. But she wanted more people to hear her voice.

When Vivian became a teacher, she amplified it through her students. They advocated for land conservancies and against genocide in Africa. But she still wanted to be louder.

Duke professor William "Sandy" Darity studies the economics of social inequality.
@SandyDarity / Twitter

The term “social inequality” points to disparities in economics. 

But in reality, social inequality means inequities in many spheres: health, law, education and culture. Dissecting Inequality: Disparity and Difference in the 21st Century, a conference at Duke this week, explores the reasons for social inequality and the scientific approaches to addressing it.

Governor Pat McCrory unveiled his budget plan yesterday.

Education tops the governor's priority list but critics say it doesn't go far enough. Meanwhile, in Washington, Senate democrats are calling for a vote on North Carolina native Loretta Lynch's confirmation as attorney general. Both North Carolina senators have pledged to vote against her confirmation. 

Governor Pat McCrory released his budgetary agenda today.
Wikimedia Commons

    

Governor Pat McCrory set forth his budgetary agenda today.

The proposed budget included emphasis on increased educational spending. The most recent projections show a $270 million shortfall, but state budget director Lee Roberts says the deficit is small relative to the overall budget.

The legislature will consider the governor's proposal in the next few weeks.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with Roberts about the budget priorities. 

Gavel, Court
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

The U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments Wednesday on a lawsuit challenging Wake County’s school board election maps.

The Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice is challenging the 2013 redistricting on behalf of a handful of Wake County residents and two local organizations. They argue that the new districts drawn by the Republican-led General Assembly disfavor urban voters.

Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan
NC General Assembly/US Senate

    

As the midterm elections get closer, education is a prominent topic in North Carolina’s congressional races. 

Sitting on the steps with a child soon after I arrived in Durham to work as a community organizer for Operation Breakthrough.
http://howardfuller.org/photos

Dr. Howard Fuller has dedicated much of his life’s work to eradicating poverty. His work began in 1965, when he went to Durham to work as a community organizer and helped young African-American students and youth find a voice for themselves in organizations aimed toward ending poverty. 

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory praised the Legislature for raising teacher pay in its last budget. He also expressed some disappointment that several of his signature efforts in education were not included.

McCrory spoke to the Education Conference of the North Carolina Chamber.

The Governor’s initial budget included smaller teacher raises than what was eventually passed. But the concept of paying teachers more at the beginning of their careers was one the Governor and Legislature shared, as was simplifying the teacher pay schedule.

photo of the North Carolina Senate
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / Flickr

After spending a month dragging their feet on the state budget, lawmakers are now in a 48-hour race to wrap it up and go home. The $21.1 billion budget before them is a hefty 260-page document filled with hundreds of edits, figures and calculations.  But for many Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow), one item stands out.

“The priority of this session was education and, in particular, teacher pay,” Brown said.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

  Budget writers in the General Assembly are moving forward with their negotiations, but it's still not clear when they might finish putting together a spending plan adjustment for the fiscal year that has already begun.

In an open conference committee Tuesday afternoon, legislators didn't reach an agreement on the size of teacher raises, though Senate budget writers have agreed to allow teachers to receive raises without forgoing career status protections. 

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

 After weeks of almost no budget talks, state lawmakers finally agreed to break their deadlock.  At a public conference committee meeting on Wednesday, they openly negotiated their adjustments to the two-year budget plan and seemingly resolved differences over Medicaid funding.

Segregation Again

Jun 26, 2014
Photo of African American students getting on a school bus in Grimesland, North Carolina in the 1950s
ECU Digital Collections/Flickr

    

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Brown V. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that ushered in the era of school desegregation.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

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.

For the past several months, WUNC has been working on a new multimedia project on the state of teaching. A sort of "End-Of-The-School Year" report on education in the state. That report, "Outspoken: The State of Teaching in North Carolina" is out today. 

In it, teachers tell stories that show the complexity of their jobs. Like Chris Reagan, who has had to prepare middle schoolers for both standardized tests... and how to go on a date:

Sim Bowden has worked this corner in Chapel Hill since 1999.
Carol Jackson

Every weekday, Sim Bowden manages the pedestrians at the intersection outside of Estes Hills Elementary in Chapel Hill. He's there for an hour and fifteen minutes each morning and afternoon, shepherding kids and adults safely across the busy street. Watching him is mesmerizing. His hand is usually in the air -- he waves to everyone, cars, trucks, school buses. And everyone seems to know Sim.

"Hello, cutie," shouts a mom in a silver SUV.

Today is the last day of school in Chapel Hill, and it also marks the end of Sim's fifteenth year working this corner.

Classroom
WUNC File Photo

A Senate Education Committee has approved a bill that makes certain that charter schools are subject to the same public records and open meetings laws as traditional public schools.

The bill comes at a time when charter schools are thriving in North Carolina - 26 new schools are set to open in the fall.

Charter schools are run by private nonprofit boards, but get public money from the state. For that reason, lawmakers say charter schools should be bound by the same state public record laws as traditional schools.

Students at McDougle Elementary.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

  The House passed a bill on Wednesday that moves the state closer to getting rid of the Common Core standards.

The bill would form a commission to rewrite the standards over the next year, according to legislators, though they could not offer a clear timetable of when they would be implemented in classrooms. They say students would still learn under Common Core until new standards are in place. 

Photo: The old North Carolina State Capitol building.
Bill Dickinson via Flickr

The North Carolina legislature is set this week to begin the third step in preparing adjustments for the state's annual budget. Members of the House of Representatives are expected to prepare their proposal in subcommittees, members of the full Appropriations Committee may then go over it next week, and the full chamber may vote on it also next week, Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) told WRAL-TV.

School bus
Dave DeWitt

 State lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce funds for school buses over the next five years. 

The House bill would limit the number of spare buses and their replacement parts, while revising the state inspection process for school bus maintenance.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie, Forsyth), says the legislation would make school bus operations more efficient, while saving about $19 million in recurring funds over the years.

North Carolina Legislative building
NC General Assembly

  Moral Monday protests resume as the General Assembly's short session continues. Protestors visit individual lawmakers today to lobby for Medicaid expansion, unemployment insurance and education reform. Last week, the North Carolina Senate approved a fracking bill and tentatively approved a regulatory overhaul. Both pieces of legislation may face challenges in the House. 

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