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National reckoning on race runs into resistance from NC conservatives

The recent rise in social justice activism and the national debate over "critical race theory" have struck a nerve in Surry County, a Republican stronghold in the northwestern foothills of North Carolina. Members of the county's board of commissioners are outraged that America is undergoing what many others say is a long overdue racial reckoning, much of it brought on by police shootings of unarmed Black citizens.

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UNC mega-donor Walter Hussman denies exerting pressure over Hannah-Jones hiring

Board of Trustees face Friday deadline to avoid legal action As the deadline approaches for UNC-Chapel Hill to avoid a federal discrimination lawsuit over its handling of acclaimed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’s tenure application, new details continue to emerge about the behind-the-scenes lobbying that led the university to a crisis point.

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House Bill 946 would add funding for rural, low-income schools to alleviate educational inequity. It’s getting scant support from Republicans.

The state Constitution’s promise of sound basic education isn’t taken lightly in eastern North Carolina.   Parents in the mostly rural, economically depressed region understand that for poor children, a high-quality education is the surest path to life above the poverty line. 

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UNC Board of Trustees could reconsider tenure for Pulitzer-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones

UNC Board of Governors will not intervene

Nikole Hannah-Jones’s candidacy for tenure has been resubmitted to the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, Policy Watch confirmed Wednesday. The UNC-Chapel Hill Provost's office asked the school’s Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure to resubmit Hannah-Jones’s name, two sources with direct knowledge of the process. Policy Watch has agreed not to identify these sources so that they can discuss a confidential personnel matter.

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Attempts to ban teaching on ‘critical race theory’ multiply across the U.S.

From statehouses to Congress, Republicans have launched into a fight against the teaching of “critical race theory,” which just a year ago was a niche academic term. Experts in critical race theory say it’s about acknowledging how racial disparities are embedded in U.S history and society, and the concept is being mischaracterized by conservatives. But GOP lawmakers in the past few months have succeeded in pushing it to the top of state legislative agendas.

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Education Top Story

More public schools are on the chopping block in Granville County

Traditional school enrollment losses translate to charter school gains in rural district  Unable to stop the flight of students to area charter schools, Granville County could soon close two elementary schools and a high school — the second round ...
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PW special report: After conservative criticism, UNC backs down from offering acclaimed journalist tenured position

Journalism school will instead offer Nikole Hannah-Jones a fixed five-year contract In her career in journalism, Nikole Hannah-Jones has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant.” But despite support from UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and its chancellor, she won’t be getting a tenure-track teaching position at her alma mater. At least not yet.

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Highlights and lowlights from the General Assembly as lawmakers pass 2021 “crossover deadline”

The state legislature marked “crossover” last week, the point at which most bills must pass at least one chamber to have a chance of becoming law this session.   House members had filed 969 bills by the end of last week, and senators had filed 721.  The House passed 351 bills by the crossover deadline, and the Senate passed 173. About two dozen have already become law.  

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UNC hire of acclaimed journalist sparks conservative ire

Groups with close ties to two Board of Governors members issue blistering attacks on Nikole Hannah-Jones When UNC-Chapel Hill announced the hiring of Nikole Hannah-Jones last month, it was cause for celebration among students, faculty and administration at the school.

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$23 million coming to NC to help public school students experiencing homelessness

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools in March 2020, most families with influence and wealth quickly and seamlessly shifted to remote learning. Affluent families already had high-speed internet connections and the electronic devices needed to navigate learning from home. Many also had the wherewithal to employ tutors and to create “learning pods” to keep students engaged while they learned remotely.

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Monday numbers: A closer look at the lack of educational services for Pre-K kids

Much attention has been paid to learning loss during the pandemic in elementary and middle school grades, but what about our youngest learners? A new report by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University examines the barriers pre- and post-pandemic that have left many 3- and 4-year-olds unserved by prekindergarten.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Top Story

Pushback against ‘vaccine passports’ puts colleges in a quandary

WASHINGTON — Florida’s Nova Southeastern University joined a small group of U.S. colleges on April 1, when the private research university announced that it would require all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall.

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Monday numbers: A closer look at charter schools in North Carolina

The charter school movement began in earnest in North Carolina in 1997 when 34 schools opened across the state. There are now 200 charter schools in operation.  The 1996 Charter School Act that established the system of tuition free, public schools that are not bound by many of the rules as traditional public schools was sponsored by Sen. Wib Gulley, a Democrat from Durham and Rep. Steve Wood, a Guilford County Republican.

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Education Top Story

Charter school waitlist data is inflated; exact number of students is unknown

A report touting 76,000 names on charter school waiting lists across North Carolina could give the wrong impression about demand for charters. It’s true that interest and enrollment have grown in charters, which are public schools but free of many of the rules and regulations traditional public schools must follow.

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Bill would allow state lawmakers to exert even more control over UNC Board of Governors

Two new bills, if they become law, would change the face of the UNC Board of Governors. One would bar members of the  General Assembly and lobbyists from serving on the board. The other measure would directly appoint state lawmakers themselves to the board as non-voting members.

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PW special report – The battle for Alamance part 3: A school system in which racial divisions and inequities persist

Nearly 40 years ago, Yolanda Strickland felt the sting of racism for the first time. She was 10, a fourth-grader at Haw Elementary School in Alamance County. Her “best friend” rescinded an invitation to a sleepover after the friend’s parents learned that Strickland was Black.

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