Education

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.  

Michael Ulku-Steiner and Lee Hark announced school closing via Youtube
screenshot from Youtube video

The administrators at Durham Academy posted their school closing announcement yesterday via video. We added it to our weather newsfeed/blog, but think it's so good, it deserves its own post.

Gov. Pat McCrory stands at a podium and speaks to the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday.
Dave DeWitt

After ongoing controversy about educator pay, Governor Pat McCrory announced a plan to increase salaries for new teachers yesterday. Under this plan, the base pay for the state’s beginning teachers will increase to $35,000 over the next two years, bringing North Carolina starting teacher pay in line with that of border states like Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina.

Diya Abdo headshot
http://www.guilford.edu/about/faculty-staff/profile/index.aspx?linkid=370&moduleid=17

 

Growing up as a Palestinian in Jordan, Diya Abdo straddled multiple cultures. Her love of American literature brought her to the United States. 

The State of Things discusses the importance of early childhood literacy.
Adwriter via flickr.

Most people know it's a good idea to read to their children. 

But a program called Reach Out and Read highlights just how early parents should start the practice. Reach Out and Read gets doctors to write reading prescriptions for families in the hopes of helping them jump start their children's chances for literacy.

Reema Khrais

When founders Jane Miller and Rhonda Franklin got the news that their charter school may not be around next year, they were overcome with the same feeling.

“Just utter shock,” says Franklin:

We were shocked because we know what has happened within these walls in the last 10 years. We know the growth of our students.

The state’s Charter School Advisory Board unanimously recommended to the State Board of Education that it reject PACE Academy's application for a renewal of its 10-year charter.

Teacher in classroom surrounded by students
www.audio-luci-store.it via Flickr

If there's one thing likely to come out of the legislative session this year, it's to figure out a way to improve teacher pay.

A new 18-member panel that will help advise North Carolina lawmakers on the topic made its final appointees this week. The group includes representatives, senators, a principal, community members and teachers.

According to the bill, the committee was created last year by the House and Senate for two reasons:

Katherine Pardue's instructions to her class
Carol Jackson

Katherine Pardue teaches 6th grade at Guy B. Phillips Middle School in Chapel Hill. She's one of many teachers across the state who are beginning to use new strategies in the classroom as a part of the newly adopted Common Core curriculum.

First-place winners of Duke University's 'Rethink Education: The Innovation Challenge' Winter Forum pose for a picture. The team proposed an online database that can be shared between schools in North Carolina and India to improve STEM education.
Reema Khrais / WUNC

A high tech pen-pal system shuttling messages,  knowledge and know-how between schools in Durham and those in India. A program that would have students repair bicycles as a part of their studies. How about older students teaching younger students through video tutorials? Or paying high achieving students to tutor?

These were some of the bright ideas cooked up by Duke undergrads for the “Rethink Education: The Innovation Challenge” winter forum at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business

  In the wake of the most recent General Assembly session, some teachers across the state are expressing concern about policies that affect the classroom, like voucher programs and budgetary restraints.

Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC Reporter Dave Dewitt; Wilmington Star-News education reporter Pressley Baird; and Carolina Public Press reporter Jon Elliston.

President Barack Obama views student projects created on laptops during a tour of Mooresville Middle School in Mooresville, N.C., June 6, 2013.
Pete Souza / Official White House Photo

Two specials will air Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday during the "The State of Things" time slots. "The State of Things" returns Monday.

Students in a Guilford County classroom.
Guilford County Schools

Three North Carolina school districts have made it to the final round in a federal Race to the Top grant competition. Cabarrus, Burke and Winston-Salem/Forsyth are among 31 school districts nationwide that could win millions of dollars to go toward innovating and improving their schools.

Wake County School Bus
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Sweeping reforms in education laws this year angered many teachers.

Hundreds protested the lack of a pay increase, the elimination of tenure and the end of the master’s degree supplement. For the more than 95,000 teachers across the state, the day-to-day challenges in the classroom continue.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Dave DeWitt, WUNC’s Raleigh Bureau Chief and Education reporter, about his latest series on the profession.

North Carolina Teacher Project
Keith Weston / WUNC

 

The pressure on North Carolina’s 95,000 classroom teachers is mounting. Inside the classroom, teachers wrestle with an increase in child poverty, implementing the new Common Core curriculum, and diminishing resources. Outside the classroom, teacher salaries are stagnant, tenure is gone, and teacher assistants have been laid off.

Teachers demonstrate Monday morning outside Riverside High School in Durham
Dave DeWitt

    

This week, North Carolina teachers protested funding shortages in the education system by staging walk-ins across the state.

Many were upset by budget cuts that affect instruction for the state’s more than 1.5 million students. Host Frank Stasio talks to North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson about the plight facing the state’s K-12 education system.

A sign promoting illiteracy awareness in the Triangle
Bootstraps PAC

A North Carolina political action committee is wrapping up one of its pushes for childhood literacy that includes indecipherable campaign signs. 

The Bootstraps PAC has been distributing signs that say "Yrnt sqzp apxl!" with a bar code for a smartphone scanner that forwards to a website about illiteracy. 

The group's founder Mary Carey says the campaign is meant to make people aware of the literacy rate in the Triangle.

Teachers demonstrate Monday morning outside Riverside High School in Durham
Dave DeWitt

Teachers are gathering outside of schools across the state Monday in protest.

The “teacher walk-in” is being staged before and after the school day by those who feel disrespected by changes to education policies in the most recent legislative session. 

Those policies include the elimination of tenure, discontinuing salary increases for teachers who earn master’s degrees, and no money in the budget for textbooks.

Center for Teaching Quality

Teachers who excel in instruction are often encouraged to pursue administration. But what if teachers could take on leadership roles and influence policy without giving up their job in the classroom?

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