Education

Raleigh School Closing

Oct 10, 2012

A controversial private school in Raleigh is closing its doors. The Upper Room Christian Academy High School opened in 2001.

An article in October’s issue of The Atlantic details a struggling Staten Island high school that turned itself around by implementing an intensive focus on analytic writing in subjects across the board. How did they accomplish that, and what are the implications for the rest of our nation’s struggling writing students?

More than 150 Parent Teacher Association leaders from across the country have gathered at the White House. They're being recognized for their work, and getting the chance to hear from and question federal education officials. Debra Saunders-White, a former vice chancellor at UNC-Wilmington, is with the Department of Education's Office of Post-secondary Education. Speaking at today's event, she stressed the importance of Pell grants.

Two new single-gender academies are set to open in Wake County. The schools are designed to serve students from low-income areas.

Dave DeWitt: More than 800 students applied to be in the first classes at the Wake Leadership Academy for Boys and a similar school for girls. Just 300 will walk through the doors when they open on Monday.

A former professor at UNC-Chapel Hill has resigned from the University of Michigan amid allegations he fabricated research while in Chapel Hill.

Dave DeWitt: Lawrence Sanna is a social psychologist. In 2011, he published several papers that showed people who stood in an elevated position were more altruistic. One of his experiments showed that people who rode to the top of an escalator were more likely to give to the Salvation Army than those who rode the escalator to the bottom.

Duke to Offer Free Online Classes

Jul 18, 2012

Duke University will begin offering free online classes to the public this September.

Asma Khalid: Duke faculty have signed up to teach eight internet classes. They range from neuroscience to astronomy.  So why fork out more than $40,000 a year for tuition if you can access these high-quality Duke professors for free?  Lynne O'Brien is organizing the partnership at Duke. And she says these online classes won't replace the on-campus experience.

Wake County School officials are praising students and staff at 4 of the district’s elementary schools for demonstrating higher proficiency on test scores.

Dave DeWitt: The four “Renaissance Schools” are Barwell, Brentwood, Creech Road, and Wilburn. They’re located in different parts of the county, but all serve a predominately low-income population.

Hal Kwalwasser's examination of successful American school districts continues today with a look at Watauga County in western North Carolina. Kwalwasser documented the dedication of Watauga's teachers and how they work with families to make sure that students thrive in school in his book, “Renewal: Remaking America's Schools for the 21st Century” (R & L Education/2012). He joins host Frank Stasio again for the second part of our conversation on education reform.

Two of North Carolina’s private institutions of higher education are partnering with a non-profit chain of charter schools.

Dave DeWitt: Duke University and Davidson College are entering into an agreement with the KIPP schools. KIPP, short for Knowledge is Power Program, is a network of charter schools operating in 20 states. There are currently 2 KIPP schools in North Carolina, in Charlotte and Gaston. They are open enrollment charter schools, with an emphasis on preparing low-income students for college.

Hal Kwalwasser was an anti-trust lawyer before becoming counsel to the Los Angeles Unified School District. He applied his legal skills to America's educational policy to break down the problems and find the solutions recorded in his new book, “Renewal: Remaking America's Schools for the 21st Century” (R & L Education/2012).

PNC is investing a million dollars in North Carolina to spur the economy and boost preschool education.

Asma Khalid: The Pittsburgh-based bank is collaborating with Wake County Public Schools, Carolina Ballet and the North Carolina Museum of Art to introduce low-income students to the arts.

Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata welcomes the PNC initiative.

Experts and educators are coming together today to discuss an economic transformation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Leoneda Inge:  The down economy has not been kind to higher education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs have suffered even more. Andrea Harris is president of the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development.  She has invited black college leaders and the head of the White House Initiative on HBCUs to debate the financial survival of these institutions.

Education leaders in Guilford County are looking at how private donations would affect public schools.

Jeff Tiberii: A group of parents at one Greensboro Elementary School wants to go beyond the average book or bake sale. They’re hoping to raise $1.5 million for a new building. School board members are considering both sides of an issue that would likely provide some schools with more private money than others. Chairman of the board Alan Duncan:

Poetic Justice P.S.: American Graduate Part 3

Jun 15, 2012

Graduation ceremonies are pretty much done but we have a P.S. for you, A poetic P.S. As part of WUNC's participation in the American Graduate Project, we commissioned slam poets Kane Smego and Will McInnerney to host an after-school writing workshop at Northern High School in Durham. And they did- for ten weeks. They're here to tell the stories of two young people who grabbed onto words and held tight.

The Chapel Hill - Carrboro school district will get its first magnet school school in 2013. But not all parents are happy about it.

Dave DeWitt: The Chapel Hill - Carrboro School Board voted 5 to 1 to turn Frank Porter Graham Elementary into a magnet school. It will offer a Spanish-English Dual Language program.

Some parents at Frank Porter Graham had opposed the change. Parents at other schools that will lose their dual language programs also fought the decision.

WUNC is a part of the American Graduate Project. It's a public media initiative looking at the drop out crisis across the country. As a part of this project we commissioned slam poets Kane Smego and Will McInnerney to teach a writing workshop at Northern High School in Durham. Over the last 10 weeks, Kane and Will taught a group of students how to use poetry to tell their own stories. Today is graduation day at Northern and three of the students from our workshop will be receiving their diplomas.

Eleven colleges and universities, big and small, public and private, are teaming up today to form the Eastern North Carolina Consortium for Higher Education.

Asma Khalid: There's a saying that "collaboration is king."

And Jim Gray believes it. He uses that phrase a lot when talking about this new plan.

Gray is the president of North Carolina Wesleyan College. He's also leading the consortium.

Tens of thousands of high school seniors will graduate this week across North Carolina. In a few months, many will start college. Not only will that be the next step in their educational lives, but also the end of a college search process that, for some, took years. It’s a process that has gotten more and more complicated, both for students and for the people who read the college applications. The rapid expansion in the number of high schools in the state is having unintended consequences in college admissions.

The State Legislature has reversed course on how many low-income four-year olds are eligible for pre-kindergarten programs.

Dave DeWitt: As part of its effort to cut costs and streamline pre-k programs in the state, the Legislature last year appeared to cap the number of low-income kids at 20 percent. Proponents of Pre-K programs brought the case before Judge Howard Manning, who ruled that the law was unconstitutional. He ordered the state to admit all eligible at-risk four-year olds.

Walking Classroom
Walking Classroom

A Chapel Hill non-profit has been recognized nationally for developing a program that targets childhood obesity while helping students learn.  The program is called “The Walking Classroom.”

Leoneda Inge:  The Walking Classroom Institute is about one year old and was started by former 5th grade teacher Laura Fenn.

Laura Fenn:  What I did is one day, when I was home after school, I went out for a walk and I was listening to a podcast while I was walking and I thought to myself, my students can do this.

NC Gets NCLB Waiver

May 30, 2012

North Carolina is one of eight states that have been granted a waiver from some of the most significant requirements of the education law "No Child Left Behind."

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger introduced an education reform package to lawmakers today. Capitol Bureau Chief Jessica Jones reports if passed, it would cost 440 million dollars over five years.

Jessica Jones: Berger explained the legislation earlier today in a committee meeting. It has attracted controversy because it would end teacher tenure, to the chagrin of some educators. Berger says bad teachers should be weeded out. The measure would also require evaluations of all entering kindergarten students.

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower-court ruling that dealt with student assignment in Pitt County Schools. The 4th Circuit said the school district that serves the Greenville area did not adequately consider race when drawing attendance boundaries.

Dave DeWitt: Pitt County is one of a handful of school districts in North Carolina that is still under a federal desegregation order from the 1970s. As such, any major changes it makes to student assignment must consider race.

Students in Wake County Schools who seek technical skills that could lead to jobs may soon have a new school to consider. The Wake School Board has approved the creation of a new career technical high school.

Dave DeWitt: The Career Technical High School would be a partnership with Wake Technical Community College. It would offer classes and certificates in areas like automobile repair, biopharmaceuticals and cosmetology.

UNC Hospital School
UNC Hospital School

Among the vast, winding hallways inside the UNC Hospital complex, there’s a school. It's small, by public school standards, but it serves a vital purpose.

As Dave DeWitt reports, it offers young patients the chance to remain students, and retain a sense of normalcy during a difficult time in their lives.

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