Education

WFAE file photo

South Carolina students can take online classes offered by the state.  But up until last month, there was a limit to the number.  A new law has lifted that cap, making it easier for students to take classes online that their schools don’t offer. 

Relations between school districts and counties can get tense during budget season.  But it’s way beyond that in Union County.  The school board has brought in a mediator and the county has sued the school district for financial information. 


A move to create a panel separate from the North Carolina Board of Education to oversee charter schools is not moving forward.  Instead, the House Education committee supported a bill Tuesday that creates a new advisory board.  Basically, it would reduce the size of the advisory council from fifteen to eleven members and allow the governor only three appointments as opposed to eight.  The advisory council recommends to the state board of education which charter schools should open and close. 

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Educators are not just required to teach a set curriculum each year – they must create it, develop it and execute it. Staying inspired and innovative can also be a challenge. And in times of radical budget cuts there is a degree of competition among teachers to be successful and keep their job. The Charlotte Teachers Institute is a partnership between CMS, Davidson College and UNC Charlotte that strives to cultivate its fellows into exemplary educators. But who decides which teachers get to participate? What exactly is this program providing that the school district is not? And what are the far-reaching effects on students of having a well-developed teacher instructing them? A conversation about developing great teachers when Charlotte Talks.

Northeastern-Charlotte Adds Doctor Of Education

Jun 20, 2013
Northeastern University

Boston-based Northeastern University is now offering a third doctoral degree program through its Charlotte campus. The UNC Board of Governors approved a doctoral degree in education last week, making it the school's third doctoral degree. The first two -- in nursing and physical therapy -- were approved in May. They were the first to be approved for a university not based in North Carolina. Cheryl Richards is the CEO and dean of the Charlotte campus. She says a doctor of education or EdD is different from a PhD because it's not focused on research. 

A new rating of programs which train teachers is creating a stir.  The review by the National Council on Teacher Quality finds most college and university education departments have become what it calls “an industry of mediocrity.”  U.S. News and World Report published the ratings this week.   They’re generating a lot of criticism and not just from schools which scored poorly. 

County Budget Will Likely Include More School Nurses

Jun 17, 2013
JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com / Charlotte Observer

Mecklenburg County Commissioners are scheduled to pass a new budget Tuesday. A group of parents has spent the past year pushing for one line in that budget to increase – funding for school nurses.


U.S.D.A. / Flickr

  Since it can be hard to concentrate on an empty stomach, CMS schools offer breakfast to low-income students.  But district officials worry these kids are skipping breakfast to avoid being labeled “poor.”  To solve that, CMS wants to   provide breakfast to all kids.  The school board voted last night to approve the proposal.


Lisa Miller

Mooresville’s public schools are used to visitors coming to learn how they blend technology with classes.  That’s because they’ve had a lot of success doing that.  But yesterday they got the ultimate visitor.  President Barack Obama used Mooresville Middle as a backdrop for his plan to provide all public schools across the country with high-speed internet.  

Lisa Miller

It’s not often a school with a low graduation rate is the source of much pride.  But West Charlotte High School is an exception.  You hear alums call it “the mighty West Charlotte” or say “I am a proud West Charlotte Lion.”  So what is it about this school that prompts such love? 

A lot of it has to do with West Charlotte’s history.  The original school opened in 1938 to an all black student body.  It stayed that way until the 1970s when the school helped put Charlotte in the national spotlight as a city that made busing for integration work.  Now, a new effort called Project LIFT is trying to help the school reclaim that proud legacy.   


Much of a person’s success in life depends on their character. Society is also dependent on the involvement of people of character. But how do you build character in a young person? CMS is partnering with parents and the community to foster honest, responsible, caring students and there are other private organizations working toward the same end. A closer look at the process and at what’s at stake for children, parents and society when Charlotte Talks.

Pen Pals Just Two Miles Away Meet For The First Time

May 30, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

Perhaps you've had a pen pal as a kid. Chances are it was someone who lives far away. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools SchoolMates program has a pen pal program among its own schools. In one case, students from schools less than two miles apart wrote letters to each other throughout the school year. Wednesday, they got to meet each other for the first time.


Republicans in the North Carolina Senate have proposed a $20.6 billion budget for next year.  That’s essentially the same size as Governor Pat McCrory’s proposal. Spending in major categories would be mostly flat except for health and human services and natural and economic resources.  However, Medicaid spending would grow 11 percent compared to this year. 

The Senate’s Plan For Education

CPCC Grad's Journey Was Arduous

May 16, 2013
Diedra Laird / Charlotte Observer

Students attend Central Piedmont Community College for many reasons, but the story of 20-year-old Riyam Al Ghrary’s journey to CPCC surely ranks among the most harrowing.

It began in Iraq, about six years ago, on the day she was kidnapped. It will culminate Thursday evening, as she accepts her diploma at Bojangles’ Coliseum, one of about 1,900 graduates, the largest number in CPCC’s 50-year history. She was student body vice president and a scholarship winner. She’s graduating with a 4.0 average.

Northeastern-Charlotte Doubles Graduate Programs

May 9, 2013
Northeastern University

Boston-based Northeastern University opened its Center City campus in January 2012 with eight masters programs. Now, the University is adding seven masters degrees and two doctoral degrees. The programs were approved two weeks ago by the UNC Board of Governors.

Lisa Miller

Former Democratic Congressman and state schools superintendent Bob Etheridge is traveling the state with the group Progress North Carolina to speak out against several education bills before state lawmakers.

In Charlotte Thursday, he criticized a bill that would end the policy of limiting kindergarten through third grade classes to 24 students.  He also said cutting the income eligibility for the state’s pre-kindergarten program would hurt many kid’s chances of graduating. 

Lisa Miller

Kids used to go to gym a few times a week, but that’s not the norm anymore.  It varies greatly depending on your district.  Physical education has taken a hit as schools feel greater pressure to boost reading and math scores.  But now PE advocates are making the case that more time in the gym has academic benefits.


The CMS school board tonight will ask the county to finance a bunch of building projects over the next few years.  It could come out to about $400 million.  Central Piedmont Community College has a similar request.  But the county is only willing to put together a bond referendum for half that amount. 

County Finance Director Dena Diorio says the county uses nine different criteria for deciding which projects get priority. 

Lisa Miller

Some new kinds of teaching jobs with four CMS schools in west Charlotte have attracted a lot of interest.  The jobs are a blend of mentoring and teaching and they come with a big salary bump. 


A charter school bill that would change the oversight of charter schools in North Carolina has raised a lot of questions and speculation.  The bill would appoint a body independent of the state board of education to decide which schools should open and close.  The bill also includes several other changes like doing away with criminal background checks for charter school employees. 

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