The State of Things

Diversity Low Among N.C. Charter Schools

Feb 2, 2016
At one point, only six percent of students at Central Park School for Children in Durham, NC qualified for free and reduced meals. After enacting a weighted lottery that prioritizes low-income families, that number is up to 18 percent. The goal is 40.
Reema Khrais / WUNC

Since the late 1990s, the racial diversity of North Carolina’s 158 charter schools has decreased with more institutions becoming predominantly white or predominantly minority.

In January, a draft of a state report on charter schools showed they were whiter and richer compared to traditional public schools. Advocates for charter schools say they offer an option for low-income families in low-performing schools. Opponents say they are slipping back into segregated systems.

More than two decades ago Father Greg Boyle (middle) founded 'Homeboy Industries,' the largest gang-internvention program in the country. Here he is on Thanksgiving day in 2012 at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.
Homeboy Industries

In 1986, Jesuit priest Father Greg Boyle was appointed to a poor parish in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Forest History Society

The demand for wood at the end of the 19th century decimated America's forests in the North and Midwest with unsustainable logging practices. However, innovative techniques started to bloom as German forester Carl Schenck began to manage the thousands of acres of woodlands around the recently-built Biltmore Estate near Asheville.

Schenck's strategies for foresting and his creation of the first forestry school helped Pisgah National Forest become the first national forest established from private land.

Robert Lawson / North Carolina Central University

Elvira Green's prolific career as an opera singer catapulted her from the choir room at her church in Greensboro to the chambers of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

She was one of the few African-American women to break into a permanent spot at the Met during the 1970s, and her success as a mezzo-soprano has taken her all over the world.

She performed her signature role as Maria in the opera "Porgy and Bess." 

Donald Trump made news by skipping the GOP Fox News debate, instead holding his own event in Des Moines.
Marc Nozell / Flickr Creative Commons

The Iowa caucuses are just a few days away, and presidential candidates are making their final pushes before the primary season begins.

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump did not attend the Fox News debate last night and instead hosted his own event in Des Moines.

How did his absence affect the debate? And campaign finance data from 2015 has started rolling in. Who leads the money race?

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

Image of 'Noah's Wife' galleys
Lindsay Starck

The story of Noah’s ark has a life that extends far beyond the pages of the Bible.

Images of animals walking two by two are ubiquitous in pop culture; the baby gift industry is filled with Noah’s ark-themed toys and decorative items. But one North Carolina author was perplexed by the fact that many of these popular images seemed to indicate that Noah’s story is cheerful and optimistic.

Durham trumpeter Al Strong has released his debut solo album, 'LoveStrong Vol. 1.'
Chris Charles / Creative Silence

Al Strong started playing music when he was seven years old after his dad got him a drum set for Christmas.

He bounced from the drums to piano, and eventually landed on the trumpet. Throughout high school and college, he studied jazz. Now, he teaches the next generation of trumpeters at N.C. Central University in Durham.

Image of bottled water provided by Duke Energy to families affected by the coal ash spill.
Dave DeWitt

Next month will mark two years since 40,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water flowed into Dan River as a result of a Duke Energy spill. The electric utility giant is working to clean up the coal ash at multiple sites across the state.

But legal infighting and regulatory delays have stalled progress at 10 of the 14 sites. Meanwhile some residents are afraid to drink out of their tap.

Researchers continue to search galaxies across the universe looking for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.
gianni / Flickr Creative Commons

Although humans met E.T. on the silver screen in 1982, the search for true extraterrestrial intelligence continues.

Scientists have found no concrete evidence of alien life, though many still believe in the unknown possibilities of outer space. Whether supposed extraterrestrial life looks like the lovable Alf or the stalking, murderous creature from Alien, no one is sure.

DNA Sierra Leoneans, including actor Isaiah Washington, gather in Charleston to honor their enslaved ancestors.
Alondra Nelson

Everyone has that one family member everyone else turns to for family stories and gossip. In social science this person is called the ‘kin-keeper.’ For many years, the work of the kin-keeper relied on sorting through old photo albums and boxes of paperwork sitting in the back corner of the attic.

But now, more and more Americans are turning to advanced technology like DNA testing to trace their genealogy. More than one million Americans have taken a DNA test in an attempt to trace their ancestry.

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