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Education Top Story

Pandemic, budget crisis combine to leave eastern NC school district reeling

Schools in Wayne County were already struggling before COVID-19 When Wayne County Public Schools reopened in August for a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning, Fran Smith, an officer in the local branch of the NAACP, began to receive daily calls from teachers worried about their safety.

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Education Top Story

Student homelessness: An epidemic in NC that predates COVID-19

Amber Williams has seen better days. But the mother of four girls isn’t complaining. Her young family has a roof over its head at the Urban Ministries homeless shelter in Durham. There’s food to eat. Her middle school-age daughter has a reliable internet connection to access online classes at Lucas Middle School, which is holding virtual instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

In voting to change chancellor search policy, UNC Board of Governors could expand System president’s power

Trustees at Historically Black Colleges and Universities oppose the change over concerns that conservative white leadership is often at odds with HBCUs' mission UNC System President Peter Hans could further consolidate his power if the Board of Governors votes Thursday on a major and fundamental change to how chancellors are chosen for UNC system schools.

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Education Top Story

Plagiarism, copyright infringement and “low rigor”: State Auditor gives lawmakers an earful about failings of NC Virtual Public School

A complaint lodged by John Scanlon and his family was the catalyst for a damning state audit that found courses offered by NCVirtual Public School lacked quality and rigor, and that educators hired to create content for an honor’s history course engaged in plagiarism and copyright infringement. The state Department of Public Instruction is the administrator for the school. State Auditor Beth Wood cited the family’s role in the investigation while presenting the findings to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on Tuesday.

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Education Top Story

Judge in Leandro court case approves $427 million ‘action plan’ to improve state’s schools

State lawmakers have to find the money, but Republicans could dig in their heels The judge overseeing North Carolina’s landmark Leandro school funding case signed a consent order Tuesday calling for $427 million in additional education spending to help the state meet its constitutional obligation to provide all children with the opportunity to obtain a sound basic education.

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Education Top Story

Monday numbers: a closer look at charter school performance in NC

The Charter Schools Performance Framework Report gives insight into the academic, financial and operational performances of the state’s charter schools Each year, the Office of Charter Schools combs though thousands of documents to create a report for the State Board of Education showing whether schools are meeting performance goals.

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

New polling data: COVID-19 taking a big toll on physical and emotional well-being of Latinos

Respondents in NC skeptical of Trump's leadership, in-person school reopening One in 10 Latino households have someone in the home who has contracted the coronavirus. More than half of the nation’s Latino families face job loss and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighty-five percent of Latino parents are worried about children contracting coronavirus if and when schools reopen for in-person instruction while 77% are concerned about their children falling behind academically if they don’t return to school.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As the largest UNC System schools move online, who is next and who decides?

While the largest schools within the UNC System have moved to online learning after widespread COVID-19 outbreaks, at smaller institutions, disagreements over reopening plans are fraying relations to the breaking point. Students, faculty and administrators are debating whether to go online now — and avoid the same fate as their larger counterparts — or try to make it through the semester unless the number of infections makes it impossible.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at rising COVID cases on NC college campuses

Over the weekend East Carolina University and UNC-Charlotte became the latest UNC System schools to move their undergraduate courses online in the face of COVID-19. UNC-Charlotte says it intends to resume in-person classes Oct. 1. It is the first UNC System school to move classes online before they have actually begun.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As COVID clusters mount, university dashboards provide incomplete and outdated information

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is being rocked by a series of COVID-19 infection clusters  just one week after the start of classes. Four such clusters — defined by the state Department of Health and Human Services as five or more infections in a related area — have been identified in student housing since Friday.

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Education Top Story

Advisory board advances plan to expand struggling virtual charter schools during the pandemic

The state’s two virtual charter schools should be shining examples of remote learning. But instead of basking in the glow of high demand, the schools are facing tough questions about their students’ academic performances.  For the fourth consecutive year, NC Cyber Academy  and NC Virtual Academy both have performance ratings of "D," said David Stegall, deputy state superintendent of innovation at a Charter School Advisory Board meeting this week. “It does concern me that they are not high-performing charter schools,” he said.

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Education Top Story

NC may turn to low-performing virtual charters in response to demand for online education

Last year, after four consecutive years of poor academic performance, state lawmakers rewarded North Carolina’s virtual charter school pilot program with an extension that allows its two schools to operate through the 2022-23 school year.  The pilot program created in 2015 was supposed to end after the 2018-19 school year. But lawmakers apparently saw something promising in N.C. Cyber Academy (NCCA) and N.C. Virtual Academy (NCVA) not reflected in their academic performances.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC-Chapel Hill leaders come under fire at emergency faculty meeting

Chancellor's failure to share health department reopening recommendations called a "breach of trust" The Orange County Health Director has urged the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to move to online education for the fall semester and keep on-campus housing to an absolute minimum as the COVID-19 pandemic in the county worsens. The campus will be doing neither of those things, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said Wednesday.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC’s ‘worst-case scenario’ plans could be just the beginning

Enrollment drops. Employee furloughs and layoffs. Faculty cuts. Shuttered athletic programs. UNC System schools could see all of these things, according to a new report on campus plans to deal with the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. And experts say this could be just the beginning.

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Education Top Story

Monday numbers: the shocking number of students and teachers who can’t get online

Millions of children will begin the new school year learning from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The pivot to remote learning for U.S. schools has exposed a troubling digital divide between children from low-income families, mostly Black and Latinx students, and their peers from wealthier zip codes. > ...

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

Reopening public schools: A look inside one district’s decision-making process

On July 16, the Onslow County Board of Education weighed one of the biggest decisions it had ever faced. Should it bring nearly 27,000 students back to 39 school buildings for in-person instruction in the middle of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that’s killed more than 1,800 people in North Carolina? ...

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