Education

Education

COVID-19 Education Top Story

As COVID-19 disrupts many school traditions, the Class of 2020 focuses on the future

Dizni DeBerry, a Hillside High School senior in Durham, vividly remembers the week before schools closed. In mid-March, DeBerry, 18, and other students in Hillside’s vaunted drama department, after weeks of rehearsals, were preparing to perform Matilda: The Musical, a play based on the hit movie and beloved children’s book.  But students had heard rumors that Durham Public Schools could possibly close in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

College students, professors adjust to COVID-19 life

A disciplined collegiate rower, Lindsay York is used to a structured, yet social life. Last fall, the High Point native moved 1,100 miles away to attend Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she settled in well. “I have a rowing scholarship and that kept me busy from when I first got there,” York said. “I’m used to waking up at five in the morning, getting a workout done, going to classes, then getting another workout. I had a very tight schedule. But I also developed my own little Des Moines family, my friends and my team atmosphere.”

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

The ‘new normal’: With schools closed, Durham educators focus on feeding students, families

The weather was unkind Monday, the first day Durham Public Schools offered lunches to thousands of students forced to stay home due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Temperatures dipped into the mid-40s after a mild weekend, and a cold rain was heaviest between 10:30 a.m., and noon, when meals and educational materials are offered to families across the district.

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Education Top Story

It’s going to take being ‘about that life’ to reduce school suspensions

NC education leaders call for better data, improved training and awareness to promote racial equity in schools Educators must be “about that life” to reduce school suspensions for children of color, State Board of Education (SBE) member James Ford recently told his colleagues. That means, among other things, beefing up the state’s "consolidated data report" to include specific incidents that result in suspensions for Black, Hispanic, Native American and mixed-race children at disproportionate rates when compared to their white counterparts, Ford said. 

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Education Top Story

Superintendent Mark Johnson picks a new fight with the State Board of Education

Tensions rise over new contract controversy A day after finishing a distant third in a bid to become the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, state schools Superintendent Mark Johnson took a jab at State Board of Education (SBE) colleagues over a contract he contends was improperly administered. SBE members have been critical of Johnson’s handling of contracts, most recently his controversial “emergency purchase” of services from Istation to continue K-3 reading assessments.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC campuses struggling to make do as state budget impasse nears ninth month

As temperatures fell last week, a few inches of snowfall led to school closures and hot chocolate in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. A few hours west, in Cullowhee, the atmosphere was a bit more anxious. Students, staff and faculty at Western Carolina University were trying not to think about the outdated and failing steam plant that provides heat and hot water on campus. It’s one bad winter – perhaps one bad cold snap – from the kind of complete failure that would shut down the campus.

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Education Top Story

Guilford County Schools initiative to help eligible 17-and 18-year-olds vote riles GOP critics

Superintendent lauds program designed to help students become "lifelong voters" School field trips designed to teach eligible students in the Guilford County Schools (GCS) about the electoral process by busing them to polling sites to vote has Greensboro embroiled in a philosophical debate about the role of schools in the political process.

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Education Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at disparities in school funding

It's no secret that certain school districts are better funded than others in North Carolina. But new figures released by the Public School Forum of North Carolina highlight troubling disparities in the educational investment made for students across our state’s 100 counties. The new Local School Finance Study notes an ever-widening gap between wealthier counties and those with lower levels of wealth, deepening educational inequities across districts .

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

ECU trustees: Speaker Tim Moore seeking chancellor’s post

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) is seeking the open chancellor’s position at East Carolina University, two members of the ECU Board of Trustees confirmed to Policy Watch this week. “He is interested, he is pursuing it and there’s a lot of conversation about it,” one of the board members said in an interview with Policy Watch.

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Education Top Story

School advocacy group: N.C. must meet Leandro requirement of “sound, basic education”

A public schools advocacy group is calling on North Carolina leaders to take “immediate and intentional action” to meet the state’s constitutional obligation to provide children with a "sound, basic education."  That was the clear message delivered Tuesday by the nonpartisan Public School Forum of North Carolina, which released its annual list of education priorities to inform state lawmakers and educators as they consider K-12 policy decisions this year. 

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Education Top Story

Struggling NC charter school on ‘life support’; state officials could soon pull the plug

A troubled North Carolina charter school is essentially on “life support’ and its leaders should pull the plug, or face the prospect of state officials doing so, if it can’t remedy acute academic, financial and management ills, the Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB) advised this week.  That assessment was directed at leaders of Essie Mae Foxx Charter School in the Rowan County town of East Spencer. The school has struggled on all fronts since it opened in August 2018. 

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

NC judge scraps UNC’s controversial “Silent Sam” settlement

An Orange County Superior Court Judge effectively scrapped the UNC System’s legal settlement with the NC Sons of Confederate Veterans Wednesday, saying the group had no legal standing to sue for ownership of the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument and $2.5 million for its care. Judge Allen Baddour initially signed off on the consent judgement in the case, but when the agreement was challenged by students, faculty and alumni he said he would take another look at the details of the case.

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Education Top Story

State legislative committee takes up teacher prep, but remains mostly silent on blockbuster Leandro report

Should North Carolina lawmakers explicitly address the recommendations contained in a detailed new report urging billions more in spending on public education? That's a question that seems sure to arise in the coming weeks and months, in light of that report's conclusion that the state is failing to meet its constitutional obligation to provide all North Carolina schoolchildren with the opportunity to receive a "sound, basic education." The report was prepared by the nonprofit research firm WestEd for the state Superior Court judge overseeing the landmark Leandro lawsuit.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Trustees express concern at being “drafted” by UNC Board of Governors to support GOP state budget

Fear of political retribution drives some campus leaders to play ball, keep mum When the UNC Board of Governors weighed in on the state budget stalemate last month, it didn’t just take a side in a partisan political fight between a Democratic governor and the Republican majority in the legislature. It asked the individual boards of trustees of all 16 UNC universities and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics to follow suit. This week a half-dozen trustees from those schools told Policy Watch they are uncomfortable wading into the partisan fight, but fear Republican legislative leaders will remove or fail to re-appoint them if they don’t follow orders.

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Education Top Story

Monday Numbers: A closer look at the slowdown in teacher attrition

The State Board of Education’s “Annual Report on the State of the Teaching Profession” shows a steady decline in teacher attrition.  The board will discuss the report this week at its monthly board meeting Feb. 5-6. 

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Education Top Story

Are ‘high quality, well-prepared’ teachers the key to a sound, basic education?

As North Carolina considers ways to meet its constitutional obligation to provide children with a sound basic education, it must stop placing marginally qualified teachers in schools. That’s a conclusion reached by the Teacher Ed Work Group of the Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education, which recommends the state ensure all K-12 classrooms be led by highly qualified, well-prepared teachers.

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