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Monday numbers: A closer look at charter schools in North Carolina

The charter school movement began in earnest in North Carolina in 1997 when 34 schools opened across the state. There are now 200 charter schools in operation.  The 1996 Charter School Act that established the system of tuition free, public schools that are not bound by many of the rules as traditional public schools was sponsored by Sen. Wib Gulley, a Democrat from Durham and Rep. Steve Wood, a Guilford County Republican.

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Education Top Story

Charter school waitlist data is inflated; exact number of students is unknown

A report touting 76,000 names on charter school waiting lists across North Carolina could give the wrong impression about demand for charters. It’s true that interest and enrollment have grown in charters, which are public schools but free of many of the rules and regulations traditional public schools must follow.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Bill would allow state lawmakers to exert even more control over UNC Board of Governors

Two new bills, if they become law, would change the face of the UNC Board of Governors. One would bar members of the  General Assembly and lobbyists from serving on the board. The other measure would directly appoint state lawmakers themselves to the board as non-voting members.

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Education News Top Story

PW special report – The battle for Alamance part 3: A school system in which racial divisions and inequities persist

Nearly 40 years ago, Yolanda Strickland felt the sting of racism for the first time. She was 10, a fourth-grader at Haw Elementary School in Alamance County. Her “best friend” rescinded an invitation to a sleepover after the friend’s parents learned that Strickland was Black.

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

Decision to reopen schools forces resignation of popular Durham teacher who’d been teaching from overseas

Supporters' pleas for school district to allow Jordan High chorus teacher to continue virtual instruction prove unsuccessful     Late last year, Corrine Huber gambled big when she decided to accompany her husband to Denmark for his work.  At the time, it seemed like a safe bet for the Durham Public Schools’ chorus teacher. The Board of Education had implemented remote learning for the rest of the school year.

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Education Top Story

Legislation to make autism services more accessible on the fast track at the General Assembly

Bipartisan Senate and House bills would follow lead of other states in licensing behavior analysts It’s difficult to imagine that a child being diagnosed with autism could bring relief to parents, but that’s what happened to Kyle Robinson and his wife, Bonnie.

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Higher Ed Top Story

Democrat Joel Ford, straddling the political fence between right and left, elected to conservative UNC Board of Governors

Former State Sen. Joel Ford was elected to the UNC Board of Governors Wednesday, becoming the conservative-dominated board’s only Democrat. The N.C. Senate chose Ford to replace Darrell Allison, who stepped down from the board to become the new chancellor of Fayetteville State University.

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Education Top Story

Competing sides remain divided over details of school reopening

State Board of Ed weighs in as vetoed Senate bill remains in limbo As state Democrats and Republicans both push to reopen schools for in-person instruction, they appear as divided as ever over the common goal. The parties are in a fight over Senate Bill 37, which would require all districts to provide an in-person learning option. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the bill on Feb. 26.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

UNC proposal would add funds for campus police, cut budgets for student groups

Student leaders at UNC System schools are opposing potential fee changes they say could cut funds for student groups and student government while expanding budgets for campus police. At the end of January, student leaders at UNC-Chapel Hill sent a letter to the Board of Governors and UNC System President Peter Hans to express concern over ongoing discussions of the Student Activity Fee.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW special report: How did Darrell Allison cut in line to become the new chancellor at Fayetteville State? It’s a secret.

Allison's political connections and loyalty might have helped him get the job. Darrell Allison did not make the final cut in the search process for Fayetteville State University’s next chancellor, according to sources directly involved in the process. Instead, the former UNC Board of Governors member was added at the last-minute to the list of finalists submitted to the UNC System.

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

School buildings: Essential learning centers or pandemic Petri dishes? Many Black parents feel conflicted.

Legislation would require public schools to reopen, worrying Black parents about sending their kids back during a pandemic. They also fear their kids will fall behind academically without in-person instruction. Geraldine Alshamy is well-versed in the science that says schools aren’t big spreaders of the coronavirus, if districts follow state and federal health guidance. 

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Student leaders: Systemic racism remains a pervasive problem across the UNC system

Report, statistics document a significant diversity problem, but questions persist as to whether there is a genuine commitment to address it A report on racial equity in the UNC System exposes the depth of the diversity problem in leadership at most of the state’s universities. For many Black students, faculty and staff the problem is not news. But it is, they say, at the heart of many of the system’s problems.

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Education Top Story

Nation’s public schools must not forget ‘lost group’ from Class of 2020

Expert panel weighs in on the pandemic's devastating impact on students, how we should respond, and the practical challenges involved in reopening schools  The large number of high school graduates who did not enroll in college last fall worries Tom Kane, a professor of education and economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the return to in-person instruction

The North Carolina Association of Educators says teachers shouldn’t return to classrooms until they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.  The NCAE released that statement last week as both Republican and Democratic state lawmakers urged school districts to reopen for in-person instruction, to prevent further learning loss and to address students’  social and emotional needs.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

New ‘Silent Sam’ revelations contradict past public assurances offered by UNC Chancellor Guskiewicz

In December 2019, Kevin Guskiewicz, then the new UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor, appeared before a concerned and angry Faculty Council. The UNC System had just announced its Board of Governors had settled a lawsuit with the NC Sons of Confederate Veterans. The settlement would not only give the group the controversial Silent Sam Confederate monument but also $2.5 million in trust to care for it. 

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Protesters say university is exercising a double standard on free speech by absolving employee with alleged white supremacy links

Melanie Flowers had a lot to do this week, and a protest was yet another item on her list. The student body president at N.C. State University was beginning classes, juggling her studies and student government commitments in an ongoing pandemic that makes everything harder. “There’s ... a lot going on...”

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