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Education Top Story

General Assembly must still provide $293 million in teacher money to settle class-size debate

On April 27th, the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, House Bill 13, bringing a temporary reprieve to North Carolina’s great class-size debate. The bill delayed the unfunded class-size requirements by one year, preserving elementary school students’ access to “enhancement courses” such as art, music, technology, and physical education for the 2017-18 school year.

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Education Top Story

National group cautions GOP-backed charter school bills will exacerbate problems, increase segregation

A nonpartisan, national organization setting benchmarks for charter policy is expressing concerns with a pair of GOP-backed charter reform proposals advancing in the N.C. General Assembly, at least one of which the organization describes as the first of its kind in the nation.

The criticism comes after lawmakers in the state House approved controversial House bills 779 and 800 last week before the legislature’s crossover deadline.

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Education Top Story

Local school districts prepare for “enormous disruptions” as Senate refuses to ease class size requirements

North Carolina’s largest public school system may be warning of “enormous disruptions” without speedy action from state lawmakers on a looming class size funding crisis, but key education leaders in Raleigh tell Policy Watch there’s little sign Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly will act soon.

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Education Top Story

Competing bills would alter method for funding charter schools

For the better part of a decade, charter and traditional school advocates have bickered over charters’ share of North Carolina dollars.

But two bills drafted by influential state Senate leaders in recent days want to settle the issue this session. One, Senate Bill 562, has the blessing of public school advocates; the other, not so much.

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Education

School officials preparing to fire thousands of specialty teachers in order to meet K-3 classroom mandate

For Linda Welborn, the impending crisis over North Carolina classroom size cannot be overstated.

Welborn, a Republican member of the Guilford County Board of Education, says her district—the third largest in the state—will need to find an additional $16.6 million and 242 new teaching positions to meet the state’s legislative mandate to cut class sizes for kindergarten through third grade beginning next school year.

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Education Top Story

New data highlight troubling racial disparities in Wake County school discipline

Nearly 70 percent of law enforcement referrals made in Wake County schools over the last two years involved African American students.

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Education

Serious questions arise for state’s largest voucher school

Embezzlement trial, incomplete financial statements cloud future of school that has received $1.2M in state funds

North Carolina’s largest recipient of private school vouchers has filed a financial review that lacked basic information consistent with “generally accepted accounting principles,” according to the agency overseeing the taxpayer-funded program.

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Education Featured Articles

Q & A with the new head of NC’s controversial Achievement School District

Eric Hall says he has education in his blood.

The soon-to-be superintendent of North Carolina’s controversial achievement school district says both of his parents were educators. His wife, meanwhile, is a public school social worker.

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Education

School choice supporters tout questionable data on charters

Charter schools in North Carolina are becomingly increasingly white and affluent. Those are two of the overriding conclusions derived from recent analysis of the state’s charter population by a variety of stakeholders.

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Education Top Story

Democrats pair support of vouchers with calls for accountability

N.C. Rep. Rodney Moore knows he broke rank.

But the four-term legislator and state House Democratic Whip, who joined seven other African American Democrats last month in publicly backing private school vouchers—long a bastion of the political right—says he’s “disheartened” by persistent data on racial achievement gaps and the so-called school to prison pipeline. That’s a term describing K-12 discipline practices that disproportionately funnel at-risk students, particularly students of color, into the criminal justice system.

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Education

School choice advocates push to rebrand vouchers, virtual charters for legislators

Public school supporters call the tactics misleading

North Carolina public education backers are fired up this week over a new round of advocacy at the N.C. General Assembly that seems geared toward rebranding for-profit virtual charters and private school recipients of taxpayer-backed vouchers as public schools.

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Education Featured Articles

Unofficial DPI spokesman raises questions of accountability, transparency

When Jonathan Felts speaks for North Carolina’s superintendent of public instruction, he insists it’s a labor of love.

Felts, a former George W. Bush White House staffer, professional GOP consultant and senior advisor to former Gov. Pat McCrory, says he’s taking no pay for his work in the office of new Superintendent Mark Johnson.

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Education Featured Articles

NC DPI’s second-in-command offers pivotal advice, warning about partisan politics as she prepares to retire

It’ll be a matter of weeks, March 1 to be exact, before N.C. Department of Public Instruction Deputy Superintendent Rebecca Garland is expected to leave here for the last time.

Her Raleigh office in DPI headquarters, festooned with N.C. State sports apparel, still seems mostly in place. And Garland, an integral leader in various roles for this state agency for more than two decades, is amicable and reserved when she talks about her pending retirement.

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Education Featured Articles

New state superintendent may find it hard to keep pledge on school testing

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson may have signaled his intent to reduce the testing load for North Carolina public school students, but education officials, past and present, say the new superintendent is going to need some ...
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Education Featured Articles Trump Administration

Educators weigh-in on how Trump’s pro-charter, pro-voucher Education Secretary could influence North Carolina’s schools

There’s a moment, partway through school choice champion Betsy DeVos’ oft-strange confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate, in which President Trump’s nominee for the top education post in the country suggests a federal civil rights law protecting students with disabilities is a matter best left to the states.

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Education Featured Articles

Wake County urged to remove school police officers following violent ordeal with teen

Ramiyah Robinson bristles at the idea that this—the shocking video of a violent altercation between a school resource officer and a teenage girl at Wake County’s Rolesville High School—is an “isolated incident.”

“It’s not something new,” says Robinson, a senior at Southeast Raleigh High. “It happens all the time. Just because this time was documented, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.”

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