Archives by: Greg Childress

Greg Childress

About the author

Greg Childress, Education Reporter,
joined Policy Watch in December 2018 after nearly 30 years at The Herald-Sun of Durham, where he spent his last five years covering the Durham Public Schools, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Orange County Schools. Greg also covered city and county governments in Durham and Orange counties, higher education and spent 10 years as an associate editorial page editor.
greg@ncpolicywatch.com
919-861-2066

Greg Childress's articles and posts

Education Top Story

NC’s already dire childhood hunger problem has gotten a lot worse

State and local officials have been forced to improvise in an effort to feed hundreds of thousands of hungry kids Even before the pandemic forced schools to close in mid-March, food insecurity was a big problem in North Carolina. The state ranks 10th in the U.S. in the percentage of people — 15.1% — who at some point in the year don't know where their next meal is coming from...

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

NC students likely to have trouble finding health, mental health services when schools return

Experts say NC's existing shortages of nurses, counselors, psychologists and social workers will be aggravated by pandemic trauma Some students — especially those who are homeless or in difficult living situations — who have been unable to go to school because of the...

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

Newly elected education leaders pledge to resist privatization, say pandemic could change future of public schools

Tamika Walker Kelly began to hear talk about the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) being taken over by "radicals" almost immediately after winning election to become president of the state’s largest teacher advocacy group.  It’s a description with which the Cumberland County elementary school music teacher takes issue.

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Education Top Story

PW special report – “It’s been more than long enough”: The unfulfilled promise of the Leandro ruling in Halifax County

A generation later, an original plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit hopes state leaders will finally do their constitutional duty One evening in 1994, the Pender family — Schnika, then 15, and her parents, Clarence and Isabelle, sat down to dinner, when they usually talked about school and discussed events of the day. But this conversation was unlike any other.  The conversation took place over dinner, which was when the Penders usually talked about school and discussed events of the day. 

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

Positive virus tests spurs Durham Public Schools to cancel popular meals program

A week ago, Durham Public Schools (DPS) bus driver Gail Clay was what’s known these days as an "essential employee." That meant the work Clay did was important enough that she was expected to show up while DPS employees with less essential jobs or jobs they could perform remotely were told to stay home to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  Clay’s “essential” duties included delivering food to needy students ordered to stay home since March 13 after Durham became one of the first districts in the state to announce it would close schools to help battle the contagious and deadly virus.

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

As COVID-19 disrupts many school traditions, the Class of 2020 focuses on the future

Dizni DeBerry, a Hillside High School senior in Durham, vividly remembers the week before schools closed. In mid-March, DeBerry, 18, and other students in Hillside’s vaunted drama department, after weeks of rehearsals, were preparing to perform Matilda: The Musical, a play based on the hit movie and beloved children’s book.  But students had heard rumors that Durham Public Schools could possibly close in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

The ‘new normal’: With schools closed, Durham educators focus on feeding students, families

The weather was unkind Monday, the first day Durham Public Schools offered lunches to thousands of students forced to stay home due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Temperatures dipped into the mid-40s after a mild weekend, and a cold rain was heaviest between 10:30 a.m., and noon, when meals and educational materials are offered to families across the district.

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News Top Story

Displaced Durham Housing Authority residents struggle to adjust to new normal under COVID-19 threat 

Valencia McQueen had her hands full Tuesday at Millennium Hotel in Durham. Tevin, a busy three-year-old who folks a generation ago would have described as "all boy," was giving McQueen all that she could handle.  “They don’t have a playground, so he plays in the room, or we go into the hallway or come down to the lobby,” said McQueen, who spent the better part of an interview with Policy Watch chasing Tevin up and down the long, carpeted hallway just inside the hotel’s entrance.

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Education Top Story

It’s going to take being ‘about that life’ to reduce school suspensions

NC education leaders call for better data, improved training and awareness to promote racial equity in schools Educators must be “about that life” to reduce school suspensions for children of color, State Board of Education (SBE) member James Ford recently told his colleagues. That means, among other things, beefing up the state’s "consolidated data report" to include specific incidents that result in suspensions for Black, Hispanic, Native American and mixed-race children at disproportionate rates when compared to their white counterparts, Ford said. 

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Education Top Story

Superintendent Mark Johnson picks a new fight with the State Board of Education

Tensions rise over new contract controversy A day after finishing a distant third in a bid to become the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, state schools Superintendent Mark Johnson took a jab at State Board of Education (SBE) colleagues over a contract he contends was improperly administered. SBE members have been critical of Johnson’s handling of contracts, most recently his controversial “emergency purchase” of services from Istation to continue K-3 reading assessments.

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