Education

Jimmy Wayne / Flickr

Union County Public Schools has scored a victory.  After a two-month long trial, a jury has decided Union County owes the district a whopping $91 million. 

“To be perfectly honest, I’m in awe and humbled at the number,” says school board chairman Richard Yercheck. 

“I think whoever tells you they’re not surprised at a verdict of $91 million would be lying to you,” says attorney Richard Schwartz who represented the district.

WFAE file photo

School districts in North Carolina are feeling the squeeze. They continue to lose students and money to charter schools and then there are all the home school students out there.  At least a couple of local school districts are finding ways to lure those students back into the public school fold and get some money for them too. 


Eight preschools in York and neighboring counties are among several pre-school centers across the country that will reopen Wednesday after a couple in Texas picked up the federal government’s $10 million tab. 

IntelFreePress/Flickr

Many school systems are wrestling with ways to serve students with mobile technology such as tablets. But Guilford County Schools has learned there’s a downside to the devices. The district has suspended its tablet program after students reported 1,500 cracked or broken screens in just the first month of school. 


Mecklenburg County voters will decide in November if the county will issue $290 million in bonds to fund academic programs, construction, renovations and upgrades for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Superintendent Morrison says that CMS has real and urgent needs that the 2013 bond issue would address. And there are other issues at hand like the master’s pay cut-off, the new reading requirements for third graders and the reevaluation of standardized testing. Join us for a conversation with Superintendent Morrison.

The chancellor of Oregon's higher-education system currently oversees all seven of the state's public colleges and universities. But as of July next year, she'll be chancellor of four.

The schools aren't closing. Rather, Oregon's three largest state schools are in the process of breaking away from the rest of the public system.

Parents, teachers, and students may be in for a rude awakening next month when they get the scores of standardized tests taken at the end of last year.  Less than half of North Carolina students were deemed proficient in most subjects.  But that doesn’t mean students are necessarily performing any worse.    

North Carolina students took re-tooled standardized tests at the end of last year.  They’re designed to assess students based on more rigorous standards under the Common Core.  For example, some 8th grade math is now being taught in 6th grade. 

Eight pre-school centers in York and neighboring counties could close Friday, if the partial government shutdown is not resolved by then. 


Standardized testing is nothing new in schools, but over the last several years the amount of it has significantly increased as the push for accountability has picked up. 

The state of North Carolina now administers 49 exams to students.  Some people in high positions have joined the backlash against all this testing and now the state is looking at ways to ease up a bit. 

Lisa Worf / WFAE

North Carolina third-graders have a big year ahead of them. This is the first year by law third-graders will be held back, if they aren’t reading at grade level.  But it’s not so cut and dry. 

WFAE’s education reporter Lisa Miller joins me now to explain how this will actually work:

USC Proposes 3-Year Tuition Freeze

Sep 19, 2013
University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina's president is asking South Carolina lawmakers to make a deal with him.

USC president Harris Pastides says he'll freeze tuition for three years if the state gives USC more money to pay for the college's operating expenses.


Jimmy Wayne / Flickr

Union County Schools and Union County are having their day in court due to a budget dispute.  It’s actually been much more than a day.  To be exact, the two sides have been going at it in court for 23 days now and the legal fees are mounting.     


Lisa Miller

Schools often try to get parents more involved in their children’s education.  Mothers tend to be the ones who heed the call.  For whatever reason, you don’t see many fathers around school.  Across the country, there are efforts to change that. 

Advocates say a father’s presence helps convince kids school is important and makes sure they keep to the straight and narrow.  A few schools around Charlotte have begun recruiting dads to help out at school. 


North Carolina school districts are using a new software called PowerSchool to do everything from scheduling classes to tracking students' grades.  But it’s had a rough start.  The latest glitch is that schools can’t produce up-to-date transcripts for students applying to college. 

North Carolina has received notices from 170 groups that want to open charter schools in 2015.  Forty-three of those schools are planned for Mecklenburg and 18 more for neighboring counties.  Two years ago, the state lifted its cap on charter schools.  This year 156 groups said they planned to apply, but only 70 ended up submitting applications and ultimately just 26 were approved.

Lisa Miller

Teachers in North Carolina now have until May to complete their master’s and still receive a 10 percent pay increase.  State lawmakers eliminated that automatic salary bump starting next school year.  The state board of education Thursday extended the cutoff date from April to May, so that teachers can use the spring semester to complete their degrees. 

Lisa Miller

Governor Pat McCrory wants to make sure all teachers currently enrolled in master’s programs qualify for the ten percent automatic pay raise that, up until now, has come with the degree.  State lawmakers eliminated the pay bump for advanced degrees this year. Right now teachers have to receive their masters by April 1 to qualify for the higher pay.  McCrory urged the school board to help extend the cutoff date. 

Lisa Miller

Hundreds of teachers in masters programs have a dilemma.  They’ve paid thousands of dollars for courses thinking it will pay off with a 10 percent automatic pay hike.  But North Carolina lawmakers eliminated that this year, so only teachers who get their masters before the cutoff date next year will still get the salary increase. 

Republican Representative Bill Brawley of Matthews said at a Charlotte Observer forum this week he’ll push to extend that cutoff date. 

Lisa Miller

Next year North Carolina teachers will no longer get a 10 percent automatic pay hike for earning their master’s degrees.  So the race is on for those teachers in graduate programs right now. Universities are trying to give them every chance to complete their master’s degree before the cutoff date for pay increases next year. 


Lisa Miller

Students at nine schools in west Charlotte got special escorts to their classrooms today.  Fathers, grandfathers and uncles dropped children off at school as part of a national effort called the Million Father March to get fathers and other male mentors involved in the lives of students. 

Dontay Kilgo brought his son to his first day of pre-k at Druid Hills Academy.  About 25 other men dropped their children off at the school too. 

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