North Carolina Teacher Project

North Carolina Teacher Project
Credit Keith Weston / WUNC

Seamus smiling
mom Billie Lanigan

There's an 8-year-old boy in Fayetteville who gets worried, anxious and even angry when it comes time for testing. A middle schooler in Vass combats headaches and sleeplessness the night before a test. A 10-year-old boy in Mebane worries that he won't move on to the next grade. These are some of the stories that we heard from WUNC listeners when we posed a simple challenge online: "Kids and Testing: Tell us Your Story."

Seamus' Story

Students at McDougle Elementary.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

A Superior Court judge on Wednesday halted a mandate that  requires North Carolina school districts to reward their top teachers with multi-year contracts in exchange for giving up tenure.

Guilford County and Durham Public School leaders filed a lawsuit against the new mandate earlier this year, calling it unconstitutional.  The judge issued a  preliminary injunction, which means the two school systems do not have to follow the mandate while the case is being decided.

What is teaching to you? Can you say it in 6 words?

We breathe each day to grow.
by Ms Moffett in Room1 at Benchmark school

I’m an educator, not content deliverer.
by Sarah Cacicio

Standardized tests do not define us
by 4th Grade Writing at Little Cypress Intermediate

Jerry Tillman
Dave DeWitt

Maybe it’s the name. A “Task Force” conjures up an image of a group of people rushing in, grabbing a problem around the neck, and wrestling a solution out of it.

Any notion that that might happen with the Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force was doused with cold water by co-chair Rob Bryan when he presented the group’s final report.

Teacher of the Year sign
Dave DeWitt

This is an issue with way more than just two sides. To illustrate how convoluted and complicated paying teachers has become, consider this fairly simple argument from Terry Stoops, the Director of Education Studies at the conservative John Locke Foundation:

“Frankly it’s unfair to our highest-performing teachers,” Stoops says. “There’s no reason why the Teacher of the Year in North Carolina should make as much as any other teacher.”

Now here’s an actual, real life North Carolina Teacher of the Year, who, in a free market, would get paid more:

Jerry Tillman
Dave DeWitt

Next month, a million or so North Carolina public-school students between third and twelfth grade will start taking tests. Lots of them. Reading and math tests for the younger kids; biology, Algebra, and English for the older kids.

Their scores will be tabulated and run through some servers at SAS Institute, a private company in Cary. There, software called EVAAS will compare the test score the student earned to one a statistical model predicted the student should get.

NC Teacher Evaluation
Dave DeWitt

Remember fifth grade? Well, whatever comes to your mind is not anything close to what it’s like now, at least in Nick Taylor’s fifth grade class at Lake Myra Elementary School in eastern Wake County.

Tucker barks out instructions to his students, directing them to grab laptops and Ipads and get with their small groups to begin comparing and contrasting two different versions of The Three Little Pigs.

Quickly and efficiently, the students mobilize.

Riverside High School senior Cameron McNeill and math teacher/school paper adviser Steven Unruhe
Deirdre Logan

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.

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 East Chapel Hill High School, where we asked Hannah Schanzer and Leah Meshnick to interview a teacher who stands out to them.

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.

Carrboro High School sophomore Carolyn Macleod credits her third grade teacher Hannah Stang with her passion for writing. They have written letters to each other ever since Carolyn left Ms. Stang’s classroom at age 9.

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