Education

Bettie Lehem Closs
Scripps National Spelling Bee

I lost on the word "laundromat." It bothers me to this day. I was competing in the Epsom Central School (NH) annual spelling bee. It was intense. I remember leaning back, my head propped on the edge of the headrest between words, silently mouthing prayers aimed at the ceiling. For some reason, I hadn't practiced from the list of provided words, but I read a lot, so I thought I had a good chance.

It was getting towards the end of the bee, and the teacher read out my word. "Laundromat." She said it twice, her diction precise.

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.

Photo of Classroom
Creative Commons

    

The Common Core standards, a set of benchmarks for K-12 math and English courses, continue to make headlines. 

map, states, veteran education assistants
Student Veterans of America / StudentVeterans.org

North Carolina is one of only eight states in the country where none of the state's schools offer in-state tuition or residency exemptions for veterans. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the number of veterans living in the state is expected to balloon by as much as 60,000.

This presents an opportunity for the state to change course and join the rest of the country in training service members who have called North Carolina home while in the military, though are technically residents of the states from which they enlisted.

U.S. Navy Ens. Frank Percy, right, a physician’s assistant, works alongside a medical student.
Seaman S. C. Irwin, United States Navy

It is a great time to become a physician in the U.S. There is a growing need for doctors of all kinds, so if you invest in medical school, chances are, you will find a job. By the end of this decade, it’s projected that the country will be short 90,000 physicians.

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.)

  

When Michele Tracy Berger was a young girl, her mother gave her a gift: a walk-in closet. Looking back, she thinks of this space as her first portal to creativity. Creativity served as a survival tool for her during a difficult childhood involving abuse and poverty. Today, she's a creativity coach and professor of women's studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

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.

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