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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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COVID-19 Education Top Story

Controversy follows receipt of Paycheck Protection Program funds by public charter schools

At least 50 North Carolina charter schools took money from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), created to help small businesses and nonprofits stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because some charter schools also received COVID-19 relief money through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, critics have accused them of inappropriate “double-dipping.”

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: What’s immune to the economic pain of COVID-19? The NC lottery.

The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked the finances of millions of Americans: Record unemployment, the widespread closure of major companies and small businesses, and for those who have been hospitalized with the virus, medical bills. But of all the ways the virus has upended our lives, the state lottery has remained unscathed.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: UNC System exploring worst-case scenario budget cuts of up to 50%

The UNC System is preparing for possible budget cuts of up to 50% at its 17 campuses, according to an email obtained by Policy Watch this week. The email, from UNC Board of Governors Chairman Randy Ramsey to the system’s chancellors, cites the potential impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that campuses may again close after reopening next month.

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Education Top Story

Experts worry about pandemic’s impact on kids, regardless of how schools reopen

Cases of anxiety and depression are spiking among young teens feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Charlene Wong, an associate professor of pediatrics at Duke School of Medicine.  Pediatricians across the nation and throughout the world report rising cases of adolescents suffering from anxiety and depression due to pandemic–related stress and uncertainty, said Wong, who specializes in adolescent and young adult care.

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

As COVID cases rise, Cooper outlines plans for reopening NC’s schools safely

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper directed school districts Tuesday to reopen schools with a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning for the state’s 1.5 million public school students.  The approach chosen by Cooper is Plan B from among three that districts were asked to prepare for when developing reopening plans. 

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Education Top Story

Sole school in controversial Innovative School District renewed for another year

NC State evaluators warn, however, of basic problems in the program's structure Buoyed by a favorable independent evaluation and positive feedback from teachers and parents, the leadership at Southside-Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County likely won’t change despite reported tension between the school principal and the superintendent of the Innovative School District.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Parents struggle with question of return to UNC campuses

Last semester, as the COVID-19 pandemic closed all UNC System campuses, Samantha Pilot welcomed her son home early from his freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill. At the time, she felt like the university was on her side. It was expensive and complicated to close the campuses and shift to online-only education for the balance of the spring semester. The fact that the UNC System did it anyway made her feel proud to be part of a Carolina family.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at COVID and the return to the state’s college campuses

As COVID-19 cases continue to reach new record highs in North Carolina, students at UNC system schools are about a month away from returning to their dorms and classrooms to resume on-campus instruction.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: Prof. Mike Adams’ wild ride finally comes to an end

Firebrand conservative academic opts for early retirement in light of latest controversies and provocations Combative, confrontational and litigious, UNC-Wilmington professor Mike Adams has long aggressively courted controversy, seeming to revel in contradictions.

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

As NC reopens, child care facilities struggle to bounce back from pandemic closures

While the North Carolina General Assembly tries again and again to reopen gyms and bars, there is another type of business that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and is struggling to rebound: child care centers. Thirty-three percent of all child care facilities remain closed, according to a presentation NC Early Education Coalition policy director Michele Rivest gave to the House Health Committee on June 24.

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