Education

Flickr/Trancemist/http://bit.ly/1fiwDCM

Transferring from community college to UNC system schools can be tough, especially since students are never quite sure which credits will transfer. A new agreement between the two systems will give students a better chance of receiving credit for their community college courses.    

Flickr/Seth Sawyers / http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidewalk_flying/4267034867/sizes/l/

Union County is one of two North Carolina school districts accused of making it difficult for youth who are in the country illegally to enroll.  The Southern Poverty Law Center along with other groups filed the complaint with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. 


Tom Bullock/WFAE News

How quickly the joy of a snow day disappears when all those make-up days are just around the corner. Many districts across North Carolina including CMS plan to call students back to school during spring break. Families are grumbling.    


Lisa Worf / WFAE

Beginning teachers in North Carolina could receive a $4,200 pay raise over the next two years under the plan announced Monday by Governor Pat McCrory. Senate and House leaders say they’re behind it. 

Teachers in their first five years receive a base pay of $30,800 dollars, not including local salary supplements. McCrory said that’s too low.    

“That’s not even enough to raise a family or pay off student loans,” said McCrory at a press conference in Guilford County, recorded by WRAL-TV.   

Ben Bradford / WFAE

This week's edition of WFAE Talks has a newby. He's Money & Influence reporter Tom Bullock. Tom sat in for Ben Bradford, who was getting some sleep after a long and busy day of covering the Duke Energy coal ash spill on the Dan River. Tom, Lisa and Greg discuss the spill, the problems and  uncertainty over implementation of North Carolina's third-grade reading law, and high stakes in this year's state Supreme Court election.


North Carolina school districts can now use reading tests of their own choosing to decide whether a third-grader must go to a summer reading camp or can go on to fourth grade. The State Board of Education approved the districts’ request today. 

The North Carolina Board of Education will vote today on a measure that could ease some of the testing going on under the new third grade reading law. That law requires third-graders not reading at grade level by the end of the year to go to summer reading camps. So far, it’s been rough. Teachers, even lawmakers who voted for the law, admit it needs tweaking. 


Lisa Miller

Union County Public Schools got word of an unexpected offer last night that could allow the district to avoid a controversial redistricting, at least for now. The county has agreed to give the school district $3 million for mobile classrooms to ease overcrowding. 

Union County might be spared a controversial countywide school redistricting plan after all.

School board chair Richard Yercheck said Tuesday morning he expects his group will accept the county commissioners’ surprise $3 million offer to buy 49 mobile units. Commissioners on Monday said they made the offer to eliminate the need for countywide redistricting, and solve an issue that has been tearing the community apart

Mooresville Graded School District

Everyone knows that we are living in a digital world but if you visit that average classroom you’ll likely see more pencils, paper, books and chalkboards than monitors or keyboards. There is a school system changing all that and some educators have called them the best school system in America. That school system is right in our backyard. The Mooresville Graded School District introduced a 1 to 1 laptop initiative meaning that every child in their system learns through digital media, from 1st and 2nd graders with digital learning tools to laptops in the hands of every student from 3rd—12th grade. And the results are amazing. We’ll find out how the digital conversion is transforming learning in Mooresville and what the future might be for school kids everywhere.

Baddog_ / Flickr

Two virtual charter schools run by for-profit companies are trying to open schools in North Carolina. In the past, the state board of education has refused to consider these schools. But this year the board appointed a group to figure out how to evaluate virtual charters. The group heard from those two companies this week. They say it’s not fair to compare them to brick-and-mortar schools. 


Tasnim Shamma

Take a group of kindergartners and first graders and let them bounce on exercise balls all day instead of asking them to sit still in their chairs.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, it’s happening at Davidson Elementary. 


Gov. McCrory Headlines Charlotte School Choice Rally

Jan 24, 2014
Duncan McFadyen / WFAE

Governor Pat McCrory headlined a school choice rally Thursday morning in Charlotte. WFAE’s Duncan McFadyen reports the governor used the opportunity to promote his education agenda.

Governor McCrory spoke to a friendly crowd at the Carolinas Aviation Museum ---about 150 people sporting bright orange scarves provided by the organizers. His message was clear: choice makes education stronger.

Lisa Miller

If you live in western Union County, you’re well acquainted with the words ‘school redistricting.’ For many years the district scrambled to build schools to keep up with all the growth, re-drawing attendance lines as new schools opened. 

Now many schools are filling up again.  The school board is mulling a plan to ease the overcrowding by shifting nearly 6,000 students to different schools.  Many parents are mad.   


Henrique Oliveira

Today we go from a group of teachers working to green up the school system to a man who uses plants to make amazing works of art. The Green Teacher Network aims to expand school gardens across the CMS System. Supporters say the gardens reduce nature deficit disorder, childhood obesity and help children learn better, thereby closing the achievement gap. We'll meet several members of the network. Then we meet Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira. He takes strips of wood and makes massive, complex and mesmerizing works of art. Join us for a very green version of Charlotte Talks.

Nearly 6,000 students in Union County could end up in different schools next year.  The Union County school board is considering a plan to re-draw attendance zones of many schools to ease overcrowding and make way for expected growth.  That has caused an uproar among parents. 


 

Sometimes it’s not enough to encourage kids to go to college.  It takes some guidance to navigate the whole application process.  With that in mind, the John M Belk Endowment has donated $10 million to put college counselors in sixty low-income, rural high schools across the state. 

CMS high school students may find a bunch of incompletes on their report cards when they get them back in a couple weeks.  It’s not their fault.  State exams will delay some first semester grades.  

High school students are taking several new state exams this week.  They’re designed to measure how much teachers get their students to learn.  To make sure kids take them seriously, the tests count for 20 percent of a student’s grade. 

This is the first edition of our new weekly podcast. We're calling it WFAE Talks. News Director Greg Collard and reporters Lisa Miller and Ben Bradford discuss topics and people in the news. Consider it a behind-the-scenes discussion and analysis of some of the issues you hear addressed on WFAE. You'll also get some insight into our general newsroom banter.

This week Greg, Lisa and Ben discuss concerns about the mandates of North Carolina's 3rd grade reading requirement, the chemicals that gas drilling companies don't have to reveal to state regulators, and a possible highlighter explosion in Charlotte (you'll have to listen to see what we're talking about).


Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools expects to have 5,000 third-graders qualify for reading camps this summer as a result of the state's new third grade reading requirement. District officials worry state money won't come close to covering the cost of these camps.  They’re asking the state for flexibility on the camps, as well as all the tests that come with the new third grade reading law. 


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