Education

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A controversial bill that would allow charter school operators to take over five low-performing public schools in the state was approved by the full house Thursday. It also now includes some provisions that school districts have been requesting. 

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE News

Three North Carolina historically black colleges and universities are no longer included in Senate legislation that would have reduced student tuition to $500 a semester. HBCUs and their alumni strongly opposed the plan. Sen. Tom Apodaca, announced his decision late Wednesday but it still sparked a lot of discussion on the floor Thursday.


Adjunct Life Difficult Path To Full-Time Employment

May 17, 2016
Gwendolyn Glenn

A story at Duke University a couple of months ago caught our attention. Adjunct and non-tenure track faculty voted for union representation. That decision prompted us to look into unionization efforts in academia. 

Our first report focused on colleges’ increasing use of adjuncts, who now represent 50 percent of universities’ faculty. In this story, we learn more about the life of an adjunct and the challenges they face.

Rise In Adjunct Faculty In Higher Education

May 17, 2016

There’s a troubling trend in higher education: colleges’ and universities’ increasing reliance on adjunct faculty – non-tenured, part-time professors. They now make up more than 50 percent of faculties nationwide. Some adjuncts say they’re being exploited and what used to be a prestigious profession has become a part-time gig with no benefits and low pay. We look into what’s happening and how it is affecting higher education and those at the head of the class.

North Carolina public schools have received two sets of instructions regarding transgender students. The state's House Bill 2 says those students must use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate. But recent guidance from the federal government says schools must allow transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

What is the NC Department of Public Instruction telling school districts to do? "The problem is - what guidance would we give them?" says NC Schools Superintendent June Atkinson. She believes the courts will ultimately rule that students should be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.  WFAE's Mark Rumsey reports.


Gwendolyn Glenn

In the 1970s, 80 percent of college professors were full-time employees, according to the National Education Association. Today, part-time adjunct professors represent more than 50 percent of college faculty, says the American Association of University Professors. 

Robert Lahser / Charlotte Observer

Every year universities compete to lure a graduation speaker that will put them in the spotlight. This year Rutgers got President Obama. Johns Hopkins got Spike Lee. And who landed Oprah? Not a big-name school, but Charlotte's own Johnson C. Smith University. She gave a much-anticipated send off to about 300 students on Sunday.

LinkedIn

Oprah Winfrey is speaking this Sunday at Johnson C. Smith University’s commencement. The media mogul has a personal connection to three young women at the Charlotte school. They’re graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, the school she opened in South Africa in 2007. 


Federal officials issued a directive to school districts nationwide Friday saying they must treat transgender students according to the gender they identify with.  That brought another round of criticism from North Carolina officials, including Gov. Pat McCrory, who said federal agencies don't have the authority to decide school policies for bathrooms, locker rooms and other facilities.

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

Academic standards don't usually grab headlines. But the debate over Common Core has changed that. The North Carolina Board of Education got a look at a proposal for new high school math standards Wednesday. Those are the first changes the North Carolina department of Public instruction has recommended, since state lawmakers decided to do away with Common Core in 2014. They may be new, but after all the controversy over Common Core, they aren't that different.   

Lisa Worf

CMS has hired a lot of consultants over the years without much attention. But that isn’t the case with the board’s latest selection. After all, it has to do with student assignment.  The CMS board voted Tuesday night to pay Alves Educational Consultants Group $135,000 to help design a plan.   

Lisa Worf

This story is part of the NPR reporting project "School Money," a nationwide collaboration between NPR's Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.

Robert Lahser / Charlotte Observer

The CMS board has been greeted by an emotional public the last few months, as it’s gone through the early phases of the student assignment process.

At a public hearing Wednesday night, that emotion subsided a bit to make way for questions about the board’s draft of principles for a new assignment plan. Most of the 200 or so people who turned out approached the principles with a mix of support and skepticism. 

Ann Doss Helms / Charlotte Observer

The CMS school board meeting had a surprise ending Monday night. The board released a draft of guiding principles for student assignment. This is a big step that took more than a year of discussion to make. The draft includes continuing the policy of guaranteeing access to “home schools” and makes socioeconomic status a factor in magnet lotteries. 

A draft outline for student assignment changes, which Superintendent Ann Clark presented to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Tuesday night, affirms that students would continue to be assigned to schools close to home, a move many parents and suburban elected officials have been clamoring for.

Claudio Matsuoka / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

More dogs are showing up on college campuses – and not just service dogs. Some students want to bring comfort pets to campus because they say they need them, and federal housing laws require colleges to make exceptions to their no-pet policies for these students.

CMS will likely see some changes on how students are assigned to schools in the next couple years. The question is how big these changes will be. The school board is still formulating ideas behind a student assignment plan. And parents and community members have jumped into the conversation, hoping to influence the direction the board takes. WFAE will hold a live public conversation on student assignment tonight at 7:00.

WFAE’s Lisa Worf joins Morning Edition host Marshall Terry now to discuss.


Courtesy of the governor's Office

Governor McCrory is proposing an average pay raise of 5 percent for teachers next year. The governor revealed a list of education budget priorities in a speech in his hometown of Jamestown Tuesday.

The CMS student assignment debate has generated a lot of discussion. School board meetings have been packed. Board members have also hosted forums in their own districts. We recently aired a discussion from one meeting in north Mecklenburg. Now we hear from a forum at West Charlotte High School.

Lisa Worf / WFAE

Project LIFT plans to continue working with West Charlotte High School and the schools that feed into it for at least a sixth year. 

The schools have seen only slight improvements in test scores since Project LIFT started nearly four years ago. But the group of philanthropists and community members say they’ve seen enough positive results to believe giving the strategies more time to develop will lead to strong outcomes.

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