Jim Bowen / Flickr

Lawmakers are back in Raleigh today for the start of the General Assembly’s short session. And they’re not letting the short time frame keep them from tackling major changes. Republican leaders are considering more tax cuts, how to boost teacher pay, handle coal ash, whether to continue incentives for film, and much more. WFAE’s Lisa Miller and Ben Bradford joined Morning Edition host Kevin Kniestedt to discuss what to expect. 

One group whose application to open a charter school in Eastern North Carolina was initially rejected will get a second shot. The state’s charter school advisory council decided Ignite Innovation should advance to the interview round with its proposal for a school in Pitt County in eastern North Carolina.  The group was the only one of 29 previously rejected applicants that the advisory council agreed to give a second chance.   The state board of education last month told the council they needed to give groups a chance to clarify their applications.

Flickr/Seth Sawyers /

Lawyers representing low-income school districts say North Carolina has abandoned its efforts to make sure it provides all students a sound, basic education.  They say budget cuts are keeping the state from living up to its commitment. They’re asking a judge to hold a hearing on the matter in August. 

WFAE’s Lisa Miller joins All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey to discuss:

Lisa Miller

You may have heard the governor released a plan Wednesday for boosting teacher pay. But there was a second teacher pay announcement by Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest. His proposal would give people the chance to pay for higher teacher salaries, not through their taxes, but through donations. 

Lisa Miller

Governor Pat McCrory rolled out his plan yesterday to give all teachers a pay raise next year. That’s right, all teachers, not just those in their first ten years on the job as he proposed earlier this year. It also includes a long-term plan to overhaul teacher pay. State lawmakers say it sounds good, but they wonder where all that money will come from. 

Tasnim Shamma

Lawmakers have reservations about a draft bill that would allow North Carolina students to attend any public school in the state regardless of where they live.  Members of a joint legislative committee Monday decided to delay its progress until they could discuss it further.

The Common Core could be on its way out in South Carolina. The senate unanimously approved a bill yesterday that would allow the state to replace those standards for students with its own. But the state would still keep the Common Core in place next school year, while those new standards are being developed.

Debbie Elmore with the South Carolina School Boards Association says that compromise makes sense, since it doesn’t pull the Common Core right away, but provides time to assess and change those standards. 

What's the Likelihood of Teacher Raises This Year?

May 2, 2014
Tasnim Shamma

Raising teacher salaries is something Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers have agreed is a priority this year. The plan is to boost base pay to $35,000 over two years for teachers in their first ten years on the job. That amounts to raises of $500 to $4,200.  But as legislators begin crafting a budget, they say there may not be enough money to do all of that. 

WFAE’s Lisa Miller joins me now to discuss the likelihood of teacher raises this year. 

Editor B / Flickr/

Teacher pay in North Carolina has been an increasingly sore subject in the state as our state educators are now among the lowest paid in the US, and as legislators on both sides of the aisle pledge to remedy teacher pay to prevent a mass exodus of qualified teachers from the state. The Charlotte Observer will be hosting a forum in Charlotte on Monday about teacher pay, and in advance of that, we’ll talk with some of the panelists including an educator and politicians to talk about what all of this could mean for teachers and ultimately, for the future of education in North Carolina.

albertogp123 / Flickr

North Carolina school students will have to tackle several hours of standardized tests in a few weeks. State and federal laws mandate that. As the debate over these tests intensifies, many parents wonder if their kids can refuse to take them.  The answer is yes, but it may cost them.