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Education

Education Top Story

GOP senator’s email promises “relief” to class size crisis in March

A fix for North Carolina’s class size crisis in March? A GOP senator from Wake County tells his constituents that he believes state lawmakers will proffer “relief” when they return in March, according to an email obtained by Policy Watch.

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Higher Ed Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at for-profit colleges

449,235 - Total undergrad enrollment in North Carolina

19,767 - Total for-profit undergrad enrollment in North Carolina

56.4% - NC Completion rate (in 6 years) at public 4-year colleges

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Education Top Story

Head of Innovative School District says he may choose neither of applicants seeking to run Robeson County school

The head of North Carolina’s controversial charter takeover program says there’s no guarantee he’ll tap either of the two groups seeking a state contract to overhaul a struggling Robeson County elementary. “If we don’t have the right match, I’m not just going to recommend anyone,” said Eric Hall, superintendent of the state’s Innovative School District.

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Defending Democracy Higher Ed Top Story

Trove of emails provides a window into conflicts at UNC

UNC Board of Governors Chairman Louis Bissette began the new year by penning a column urging his own board to avoid internal conflicts, refrain from political partisanship and avoid micromanaging UNC leaders and administration.

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Education Top Story

Chairman of House Education Committee: Solution to class size crisis is in the works

A plan to resolve North Carolina’s class size crisis is in the works and should be wrapped up in the coming weeks, an influential state legislator tells Policy Watch. “The gap is closing,” says Rep. Craig Horn, a Union County Republican who co-chairs the House K-12 budget committee. “There are folks that are working on a reasonable solution with the session coming as quickly as it is next week.”

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Education Top Story

The year in education: Five stories that shaped public ed in 2017

#1 - Class-size chaos North Carolina public schools—long roiled by sharp funding cuts, a blossoming school choice movement and an often touchy relationship with GOP lawmakers—faced a new kind of challenge in 2017. How do you speed smaller classes in the vital early grades without sacrificing later grades, local school budgets and arts teachers? The year’s wonkiest story may have been its most important, and 2018 figures to offer more tumult when it comes to North Carolina’s class size crisis.

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Education Top Story

Temporary or a new trend? Applications from struggling schools for charter flexibility status slow to a trickle

Since a North Carolina law cleared the option for charter-like flexibilities in some low-performing schools beginning last March, members of the state’s top school board have approved more than 100 applications. Applications have come in by the dozens for the so-called “Restart” program, with struggling schools seeking the same kinds of freedoms charters receive when it comes to their calendar, staffing, curriculum and hours.

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Education Top Story

Special report: How poorly-crafted education policies are failing North Carolina’s children

Veteran North Carolina education policy expert Kris Nordstrom has authored a new and vitally important report about the path that state elected officials have taken during recent years in crafting state education policy.

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Education Top Story

Delayed action by state Superintendent creates big hurdles for legislature’s mandated audit

When Joni Robbins, a section chief in the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, closes bidding next week for an upcoming audit of the state’s top K-12 agency, state leaders will have a little more than four months to find a vendor and begin work on a weighty review of the department’s operations.

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Education Top Story

Mark Johnson accused of misleading the public regarding literacy program spending

North Carolina’s former public school superintendent June Atkinson says the state’s new K-12 leader “misled” the public when he blasted the Department of Public Instruction last month over $15 million in unspent Read to Achieve dollars.

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Education Top Story

Two decades later, Governor’s appointees look to breathe life into NC’s landmark school funding ruling

“By every objective measure, we are underfunded and we are failing.”

That’s how Larry Armstrong, longtime attorney for the Halifax County Board of Education, summed up the task before Gov. Roy Cooper’s Commission on Access to Sound, Basic Education Thursday—more than two decades after the pivotal Leandro Supreme Court decision rebuked the state for school funding inequalities in some of North Carolina’s poorest counties like Halifax.

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Education Top Story

Robeson County officials vacillating on planned charter school takeover

Weeks after the top school board member in Robeson County predicted the southeastern North Carolina district would close the state’s only choice for a controversial charter takeover program, local leaders may be gearing up to accept the Innovative School District after all.

Multiple Robeson officials tell Policy Watch that state law...

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Education Top Story

Legislators consider abolishing teacher salary schedule as they study NC school funding labyrinth

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding maze, but lawmakers’ hints that they may abolish the state’s teacher salary schedule or other state-set funding allocations is already spurring criticism from local district advocates.

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Education Top Story

Here to stay? Despite poor scores, critics, for-profit virtual charter school seeks blessing from state officials

The head of a controversial virtual charter school wants North Carolina lawmakers to funnel more cash into the program and clear operations beyond the 2019 sunset of its four-year pilot program, despite lagging test scores and a host of concerns about similar programs nationwide. “There are hundreds and thousands of kids and teachers that will benefit from our model,” Nathan Currie, superintendent at N.C. Connections Academy, told a committee of influential state lawmakers Tuesday, one day after making a similar pitch to a state charter school oversight panel.

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Education Top Story

Legislators begin “heavy lift” of examining funding structure of North Carolina schools

Craig Horn knows many education advocates want the school finance task force he co-chairs to weigh whether North Carolina spends enough on its public schools.

But the Union County Republican, an influential K-12 budget writer, wasted little time in reaffirming Wednesday that he considers the state’s spending levels to be...

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Education Top Story

Missing elephant in the room? State lawmakers to examine education finance without considering overall funding sufficiency

When state lawmakers meet next week to begin the weighty task of reforming North Carolina’s knotty method of financing public schools, the sufficiency of the state’s K-12 funding will not be on the table. Rep. Craig Horn, an influential Union County Republican who co-chairs a pivotal joint legislative task force on education finance reform, told Policy Watch Tuesday that he considers adequacy to be an altogether “separate issue.”

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