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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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Education Featured Articles

Raleigh-based charter school threatened students with expulsion in apparent violation of state law

Longleaf School of the Arts is less than four years old, but the charter school—housed in an old downtown Raleigh church, complete with stained-glass windows—has an air of antiquity about it.

Midterms are underway, and students pack the halls while Rachel Davis, head of school, ushers buzzing teens to their classrooms. Davis, an eminently cheerful woman, occupies a busy corner office crammed with boxed records.

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Education Featured Articles

New Superintendent of Public Instruction highlights urgent need to transform “outdated” school system

Pledging to “transform” North Carolina public schools, new Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson told members of the State Board of Education Thursday that he believes the state’s system of schooling is “outdated.”

“I will be generous and say that this system was designed for students in the 1950s,” Johnson said. “I will be generous because you could probably trace this system back to the 1920s or even earlier.”

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Education Featured Articles

Public school advocates welcome “champion” in the Executive Mansion, offer advice on the challenges Cooper will face

The N.C. Association of Educators was one of the first major political advocacy groups to side with Roy Cooper.

So when news spread over social media Monday that Gov. Pat McCrory had at last conceded a bitterly contested gubernatorial race to Cooper—three weeks and six days after Election Day—it’s fitting that the 70,000-member political arm of teachers across North Carolina was one of the first to trumpet the news.

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Education Featured Articles

Legislators shift gears, back away from controversial pay plan for school principals, administrators

Weeks after a legislative plan to scrap North Carolina’s school principal pay schedule drew a swift rebuke from educators, top state Republicans are seemingly backing off on the controversial proposal while pushing forward with at least modest raises for the state’s underpaid administrators.

Sen. Jerry Tillman, an influential state Republican representing Moore and Randolph counties, told lawmakers in an administrator pay study group this week that district superintendents across the state were “scared” of a proposal floated by lawmakers last month that would have done away with the salary schedule—which sets a floor for pay based on experience and credentials.

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Education

North Carolina school leaders, advocates work to address immigrants’ fears following caustic campaign season

The day after President-elect Trump’s triumph was a day to remember, says Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, president and CEO of El Centro Hispano, one of North Carolina’s largest Latino advocacy and support organizations.

Immigrant children, undocumented and documented, were afraid to return to school. They feared deportation or bullying by their peers, says Rocha-Goldberg, after a presidential election noted for its particularly caustic tone toward immigrants.

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Education Featured Articles

Virtual charters continue to be plagued by high dropout rates, low student performance

State education leaders may be reporting lackluster grades and soaring dropout rates in two new virtual charter schools in North Carolina, but customers, by and large, seem satisfied. That’s the synopsis of a draft report on North Carolina’s virtual charter pilot, which includes two schools, N.C. Virtual Academy and N.C. Connections Academy, run by for-profit companies K-12 Inc. and Pearson, respectively.

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Education Featured Articles

New rules to lower class sizes force stark choices, threatening the arts, music and P.E

North Carolina public school leaders say a legislative mandate to decrease class sizes in the early grades may have a devastating impact on school systems across the state, forcing districts to spend millions more hiring teachers or cut scores of positions for those teaching “specialty” subjects such as arts, music and physical education.

“All 115 districts in the state, this is a problem,” says Leanne Winner, director of governmental relations for the N.C. School Boards Association, a group that represents local boards of education at the legislature.

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