Local News
12:04 pm
Sat February 28, 2015

In Tense Meeting, UNC BOG Approves Closure Of 3 Policy Centers

Students sit in UNC Board of Governors seats after their protests disrupted the meeting. They came out to voice support for three university-based policy centers slated for closure.
Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

The UNC Board of Governors Friday approved hikes in tuition and fees across the UNC system. But the center of controversy at the board’s meeting was its unanimous decision to close three university-based policy centers, most notably UNC Chapel Hill’s Center for Poverty, Work and Opportunity. The vote came after the meeting was moved to a smaller room because of protestors.

The meeting started out quiet enough but when the agenda turned to the closing of the three university-based academic centers, things became unwieldy.

Protesters in the audience stood up, interrupting the discussion. Some were ejected, others took their place, speaking out in support of the three centers. Supporters snapped their fingers in a rhythm and shouted chants, accusing the board of attacking their free speech.

The meeting became so chaotic that the board recessed and moved to a smaller room. Only the media was allowed in with board members and other university officials, which angered many.

Some tried to go through a door leading to the new location for the meeting but were stopped by security.

Eventually, the meeting resumed in a separate area and was streamed to the public in what had been the main meeting room. But about 20 protesters stood outside the doors, their loud chants heard clearly as board members continued discussion on the centers.

In the end, the board voted to close the poverty center, East Carolina’s Center for Biodiversity and North Carolina Central’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change.

NC Central student Denea Crowell was saddened by the vote.

“The Civic Engagement and Social Change Center is a liaison between black youth on their rights as citizens and voting and things like that, so we just need to keep that liaison,” Crowell said.

The poverty center remained the main focus for many other protesters, who accused the board of closing it because of its director, Gene Nichol.

“It’s clearly politically motivated,” said Elizabeth Brown a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill. “The fact that Gene Nichol the director of the poverty center has been speaking out against the legislature’s policies and board of governors, it’s censorship, so I’m here to protest that.”

Seth Keel, a junior at UNC Charlotte, agreed and added, “If they don’t think poverty is important, their eyes are not open. Poverty is growing at a high rate in North Carolina and if there’s no research and aren’t attacking it, you won’t solve the problem.”

James Holmes chaired the board’s working group that recommended the closures. He told the board that although the poverty center has been singled out as a scapegoat, politics played no hand in the recommendation that it close.

“Our review of that center was no different than any other,” he said.

“The center structure is not required for any activity ongoing in that endeavor. All of their work can continue it just doesn’t require this structure which requires a level of overhead and oversight that not requisite.”

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Local News
9:40 am
Wed February 25, 2015

NC Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Taxpayer Funds Flowing To Private Schools

The building that houses the N.C. Supreme Court in Raleigh.
Credit Giant Sloth / Flickr

North Carolina state government has paid about $4 million in private school tuition this year. It’s part of the Opportunity Scholarship program, which has paid up to $4,200 to mostly religious schools on behalf of 1,200 low-income students.

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Local News
4:25 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Project LIFT Schools Hiring More Star Teachers With New Duties, Higher Pay

Several Project LIFT schools on Charlotte’s west side are trying to fill about twenty highly-paid teaching jobs. Those teachers won’t have their own classes but will rotate between classrooms, coach beginning teachers, and work in small groups with students. The jobs come with as much as a $23,000 salary boost. 

Ranson IB Middle School has used the staffing model for the past two years. The school’s principal Allison Harris says it allows all students to benefit from the knowledge of veteran teachers. She says beginning teachers especially appreciate the help. 

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Local News
9:32 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Nearly One-Third Of CMS And NC Schools Get Ds And Fs

Credit _MG_2511 / Flickr/

Two-thirds of schools in North Carolina received Bs and Cs on new state report cards that include letter grades for the first time.

WFAE’s Lisa Worf joins All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey in the studio:

MR: What exactly is the breakdown in grades?

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Local News
1:54 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Most NC Schools Receive Bs, Cs

Credit _MG_2511 / Flickr/

Nearly 60 percent of CMS schools scored a C or below on new state report cards that include letter grades for the first time. The grades are mostly based on students’ scores on standardized tests.  Twenty percent is based on the growth of those scores from year-to-year. 

State school board member John Tate of Charlotte said the scores don’t accurately show the hard work of teachers and students at some high-poverty schools.

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Local News
5:31 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Schools To Get A,B,C,D and F Grades

Credit _MG_2511 / Flickr/

Parents will have some grades to review Thursday…not their child’s, but their child’s school. The grades have been the source of much worry and debate.   WFAE's Lisa Worf has this report. That's followed by an interview from WFAE's Marshall Terry with the superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, which has set up its own system of grading schools.

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Local News
5:35 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Reading Campaign For Third Graders Launched

CMS Board of Education Chair Mary McCray holds a Lola doll, a book character, at the launching of Read Charlotte, a campaign to boost reading levels of local third graders.
Credit Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

A public/private campaign to improve the reading skills of Charlotte’s third graders was launched Tuesday. It’s called Read Charlotte. The initiative’s goal is to double the number of third graders reading on grade level by 2025.

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Local News
10:08 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Recent Charter School Closings Spur Concerns

Credit Tasnim Shamma / WFAE

Charter schools have become a larger part of North Carolina’s public school system, since lawmakers lifted the cap on those schools after Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011. The state has about 150 charters now. But not all of them have made it.

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Local News
10:41 am
Thu January 29, 2015

State Audit Shows 'Questionable Payments' Part Of Kinston Charter's Failure

Credit Flickr/Seth Sawyers /

The abrupt closing of three charter schools in Charlotte over the past year has made a lot of people wonder what went wrong. In 2013, another charter school in eastern North Carolina closed because of financial troubles.  A state auditor’s report released this week provided an answer in that case. The audit finds fiscal mismanagement and questionable payments were part of its demise. 

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Local News
2:48 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

CMS Board Considers Homework Policy Tweak

Credit Abee5 / Flickr/

Homework doesn’t get such great reviews from kids. But many researchers also have complaints about it. With that in mind, the CMS school board will vote on a change to its policy on homework tonight. It’s not a big change.  In fact, it comes down to two words. 

WFAE’s Lisa Worf joins Morning Edition host Marshall Terry in the studio.

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