Education

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. 

UNC Charlotte Students Complete Solar House

Aug 26, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

UNC Charlotte students completed its house, UrbanEden, on Friday, August 23 for the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 competition from October 3 to 13. 

Lisa Miller / WFAE

The number 46 became a rallying cry this summer as state lawmakers put the finishing touches on the budget.  That’s because North Carolina ranks 46th in what it pays teachers. 

Many people, including the state schools superintendent, argued good teachers would leave the profession or go to neighboring states that pay more if North Carolina didn’t raise teacher salaries.  But lawmakers were not swayed.  Let’s examine if those fears are warranted. 


Bill Giduz / DavidsonNews.net

With a gift of 500 computers from Lowes Cos. Inc. this week, the Davidson-based nonprofit E3D (Eliminate Davidson’s Digital Divide) is expanding to Cornelius and broadening its goal of putting computers into the hands of local school kids who lack them. The group has been rechristened with a broader name – E2D (Eliminate the Digital Divide) – and is now hoping to help hundreds of families with children in grades K-12 at the three elementary schools in the two towns as well as Bailey Middle and W.A. Hough High schools in Cornelius.

CMS expects to have 2,665 more students than last year.  This year all schools will hand out photo ID badges to students.  CMS Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark says that’s part of the district’s efforts to strengthen security. 

“We already have all staff wearing IDs in the district.  This will allow all students and staff at every school to have a photo ID badge, so that we will be able to identify visitors to the campus that may need to check in at the front office,” says Clark.

Lisa Miller

West Charlotte High School saw the largest rise in its graduation rate this year of any CMS school.  It went from 56 percent last year to 71 percent this year.  West Charlotte Assistant Principal Timisha Barnes-Jones says teachers and counselors worked hard at getting kids into programs to make sure they got the credits they needed to graduate on time. 

CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison wanted some input on how the district should move forward.  Monday night, 22 task forces gave him feedback that included hiring a CMS ombudsman, requiring students to get some workplace experience and starting a school for African American males. 


Now that the regular, or “long,” session of the NC General Assembly has come to an end, the reviews are coming in fast and furious, most notably broken down by partisan rank.

With opening salvos from the New York Times and the response by the Wall Street Journal’s columnist breaking into the liberal-conservative reactions, some of the most intense fights centered on the core feature of most state governments: The budget.

School districts often complain that counties don’t give them enough money.  But Union County School officials are doing more than griping.  They’re taking the Union County commission to court.  

Union County commissioners approved a budget for this year about $8 million short of what the school board says the district needs.  The school board pushed back and the negotiations ended up in mediation.  After a five hour session today, school board chairman Richard Yercheck says the two sides are at an impasse.

NC Explainer: Education Changes

Jul 31, 2013
alamosbasement / Flickr

North Carolina laws are changing, from what you need to vote, to which clinics can provide abortions, to how teachers keep their jobs. The General Assembly passed many of the new laws last week at the very end of the legislative session. So every day this week, WFAE is examining some of the major changes. We've covered gun legislation and abortion regulations so far. This morning we focus on education.

There were a lot of new education changes that passed either in bills or through the budget. That includes getting rid of teacher tenure and including money for vouchers for kids to attend private schools. But some of those changes shouldn't be a surprise.

Lia Miller

A bus bound for Raleigh today picked up teachers in Charlotte and Cabarrus County to join the last Moral Monday protest.  They’re upset North Carolina’s education budget doesn’t include pay raises, eliminates tenure, and sets aside money for vouchers to private school. 


State Budget Means Cutbacks For CMS Teacher Assistants

Jul 24, 2013
Michael Tomsic

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will cut back the hours its teacher assistants work this year. That's one of several examples Superintendent Heath Morrison gave of how the state budget that passed Wednesday will impact the district.

The budget agreement state House and Senate leaders reached this week cuts funding for teacher assistants by about one-fifth ($120 million) this year.

CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison said that will hurt students.

Lisa Miller

Summer vacation is over for a couple of thousand CMS students.  Kids at four K-8 schools on Charlotte’s west side headed back to school this week.  Bruns Academy, Walter G Byers, Thomasboro, and Druid Hills are the first CMS schools to move to a year-round calendar.  They’re among nine struggling schools in the Project LIFT Zone. 

Druid Hills principal Alison Hiltz says a long summer vacation makes it difficult to catch up students who are behind. 

Lisa Miller

Summer school brings to mind kids hunched over desks in humid classrooms, trying to make up classes they failed.  It’s not the place to be.  But across the country summer school is undergoing some big changes.  It’s not just for kids who can’t make the grade and it’s supposed to be fun. 

Several CMS schools in the Project LIFT zone have begun to offer a summer program that takes this new approach so that the summer slide doesn’t put at-risk kids further behind. 


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