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Public Conversations is an ongoing series of community forums designed to convene Charlotte-area residents for discussion of timely and relevant topics. Our goal is to create comfortable settings that encourage a stimulating and enlightening exchange of ideas. By organizing these Public Conversations, WFAE intends to serve as a catalyst for community dialogue. Participants are encouraged to engage in conversation with a cross-section of community representatives, expert panelists, and with each other.

Education Focus Of Tonight's Public Conversation

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Tom Bullock/WFAE News
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From class size and teacher pay to charter schools, changing test standards and the common core, public education has been big news of late.

Tuesday night, WFAE will hold a public conversation on the State of Public Education. The event begins at 7 at the UNC Charlotte Center City Auditorium. WFAE’s Tom Bullock will moderate the conversation. He spoke with WFAE Morning Edition host Marshall Terry.

Marshall Terry: Let’s start with the title: The State of Public Education. It sounds a lot like a state of the union speech.

Tom Bullock: Yes, it does, and that’s by design. With all the numbers, contradictory arguments and the politicization of education, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees. But there have been a lot of changes in education policy over the last few years, locally and nationally. So we’re going to try to dig into these issues to find what works, what doesn’t and what needs to be changed. And it’s a chance for parents, teachers and concerned members of the public to ask our panelists direct questions about the quality of education in our area.

MT:  Who is joining you on tonight’s panel?

TB: They represent just about every step in the education food chain. We have the governor’s senior education advisor, the superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, an elementary school teacher with 12 years experience and the head of a local charter school. They’ll be able to come at these questions with very different perspectives. It should be quite interesting.

Tom Bullock decided to trade the khaki clad masses and traffic of Washington DC for Charlotte in 2014. Before joining WFAE, Tom spent 15 years working for NPR. Over that time he served as everything from an intern to senior producer of NPR’s Election Unit. Tom also spent five years as the senior producer of NPR’s Foreign Desk where he produced and reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon among others. Tom is looking forward to finally convincing his young daughter, Charlotte, that her new hometown was not, in fact, named after her.
Marshall came to WFAE after graduating from Appalachian State University, where he worked at the campus radio station and earned a degree in communication. Outside of radio, he loves listening to music and going to see bands - preferably in small, dingy clubs.