Education

Secretary of Education Betsy Devos.
Gage Skidmore

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein joined 19 other Attorneys General in urging the Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos to deny the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools’ petition to regain its status as a nationally-recognized accrediting agency. This joint letter follows the department’s solicitation for written comments regarding ACICS’ request for initial recognition after being denied a renewal in 2016.  

North Carolina Legislative building
jmturner / Wikimedia Commons

A bipartisan legislative committee is set to begin debate next week on the merits and disadvantages of large school districts. Charlotte-Mecklenburg school officials are closely monitoring this issue, considering that CMS is the state’s second largest system. The topic is not new, but the committee is, and some are concerned that it will lead to legislation to break up large districts.

elementary school students
Lisa Worf / WFAE

Legislation that gives North Carolina school districts more time to reduce K-3 class size and provides more funds for them to hire the additional teachers they will need, passed the House Tuesday. It is now being considered by Gov. Roy Cooper.

Democrat Dan McCready surrounded by family and supporters as he prepares to file to run for the 9th District Congressional seat
Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

North Carolina candidates began filing Monday to run for Congress, the state legislature, district attorney and county positions. The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections was packed with candidates and their supporters before the start of filing at noon.

North Carolina Legislative building
jmturner / Wikimedia Commons

Republican legislation to phase in North Carolina's upcoming class-size mandate has passed one General Assembly chamber. Democrats complained it is loaded with other provisions targeting Gov. Roy Cooper and the state elections board.

Lisa Worf

Republican leaders of the General Assembly say they have reached a deal to give school districts statewide more time to reduce class sizes for kindergarten through third grades.

The proposal, which still needs approval, also includes more money to keep art, music and physical education teachers in the classroom.

All this is good news for North Carolina's public schools.  

But it comes with some controversial political strings attached.

Clayhefner [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Federal prosecutors announced this week that most of the nearly $2 million that Appalachian State University was scammed out of in 2016 has been returned to the Boone-based college. School officials were victims of a fraudulent billing scheme that also involved a Charlotte-based construction company.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board members voted 7-2 Tuesday night to increase support for LGBTQ students by expanding the district’s multiculturalism policy. The vote followed a public hearing on the matter that was heated and, at times, combative. 

elementary school students
Lisa Worf / WFAE

It’s not clear if North Carolina lawmakers convening in special session this week will address the k-3 reduced class size legislation. But Wake County Democrat Rep. Jay Chaudhouri says he plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that returns the maximum number of students allowed in classes in those grades to 24.

Submitted

A senior at Queens University in Charlotte who raised awareness of students who are veterans on campus was named the 2018 Student Veteran of the Year. The Student Veterans of America awarded 25-year-old Chris Rolph the honor at its conference in San Antonio this weekend.

Governor Roy Cooper visited this second grade class at Cotswold Elementary School which would have to make changes to comply with the smaller K-3 class size mandate.
Alex Olgin / WFAE

Governor Roy Cooper was in Charlotte Friday to make his pitch to lawmakers to give schools more money to implement smaller class sizes. He visited with second graders at Cotswold Elementary School. Legislators mandated that elementary schools get kindergarten through third grade classes below 18 students by next school year. While Cooper thinks the idea could improve learning, he said the current plan puts schools in a tough situation because no extra money has been dedicated.

Union County Rep. Craig Horn (standing) talks to CMS officials at legislative breakfast about his efforts to tweak the reduced classroom size legislation for K-3.
Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

CMS officials met with the local delegation of state lawmakers Thursday and it was testy at times. The discussion centered on legislation lawmakers approved that would reduce class sizes for students in kindergarten through third grade; and a bill being considered that would allow the towns of Mint Hill and Matthews to use property taxes to run their own charter school.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

Johnson C. Smith University was placed on probation last week by its accreditation agency. This week that agency released a bit more information about why it made that decision. It cited concerns about the school’s financial stability and control of its resources. But there are still a lot of questions. Smith officials are playing the probation down, saying they expect to clear it up soon. They, too, are not providing any specifics.

WFAE

Johnson C. Smith University's accrediting agency has placed the school on probation.


Gwendolyn Glenn

During segregation, many all-black public schools had roles beyond being a place to get a diploma. They were used for celebrations like wedding receptions and dances. Sometimes they were secretly used by community leaders to plan strategies or hide activists from lynch mobs.

JCSU

Johnson C. Smith University has received $1.8 million in grants to expand its STEM program and expose students at two schools in west Charlotte to computer science and other forms of technology.

WFAE file photo

The Beacon technology blog is offering k-12 teachers a chance to compete for six grants that they can use to buy supplies and materials for technological-related classroom instruction. The grant awards range from $500 to $1,000.

http://schools.cms.k12.nc.us

Updated at 12:07 a.m.

A third of CMS school board members will be new next year, but it’s unlikely that’ll mean much of a change in the board’s direction. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Out of school suspensions are down so far this year for CMS students in kindergarten through second grades, but racial disparities still exist. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg school officials, there have only been 29 students suspended at those grade levels this school year, compared to 139 for the same period last year. But school officials say, 55 percent of the students suspended were African-American males.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE News

The nearly $1 billion bond for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools has received significant opposition in north Mecklenburg county from residents who say it doesn’t adequately address the area’s growth. CMS officials say that area has benefited more from past bonds, and that other parts of the system have bigger needs. 

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