Ways to Connect

Ildar Sagdejev /

Many districts have either stopped offering driver’s education or, like CMS, plan to next week when the temporary budget expires, leaving many kids in the lurch.

Back To School Update On Charter Schools In North Carolina

Aug 17, 2015
WFAE File Photo

Tuesday, August 18

Like them or not, charter schools are growing in number in North Carolina. This year, there are 160 here including two online schools. All get tax dollars for each student they enroll but are exempt from many of the rules governing traditional public schools. That raises questions about how we measure the success or failure of these schools and whether or not they’re really making a difference. We get some answers from a panel of experts and educators.

LizMarie_AK / Flickr/

There are two dates that loom large for parents, teachers, students and administrators in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The first is August 14, the self-imposed deadline for the General Assembly to agree on a state budget. The second, just 10 days later, is the first day of school.

Without a set budget, schools have a hard time planning for the academic year and they may have to start cutting programs now just in case. As for the budget negotiations, they're not going so well. At least not yet.

Glenn H. Burkins for

On a recent Thursday in uptown Charlotte, 1,100 Freedom School students unloaded from buses and trooped into the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center to see a matinee performance of “Annie,” the Tony Award-winning musical.

For some, it was their first time attending a Broadway-style show. Reggie Miller of Charlotte was typical.

“I’m excited to see all the action,” said the young African American student. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the dancing. I never saw the movie or the play.”

The Department of Public Instruction oversees all public schools in the state, but that may change. The North Carolina Senate approved a bill Thursday that would remove charter schools from its oversight.

college class
SMBCollege / Flickr

During the Great Recession, 48 states cut spending on higher education, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That funding has not rebounded. North Carolina colleges and universities lost 25 percent in state funds since 2008. South Carolina schools lost about 40 percent. To make up for those cuts schools are charging students a variety of special fees.

Educator Roundtable

Jul 7, 2015
LizMarie_AK / Flickr/


Two weeks ago, we talked to officials looking into the frequency and efficacy of testing in the public schools of North Carolina. We heard from a lot of folks including teachers about what was discussed on that program.  It’s often difficult for us to get teachers on our show because, during the school year, they’re in class but not during the summer, so we’re joined by teachers for a follow-up discussion on testing.

North Carolina General Assembly building.
NC General Assembly

The North Carolina House and Senate are far apart on their education budgets. State lawmakers have bought themselves another 45 days to come up with a state budget. But school districts have to start planning now for next school year and the uncertainty is making it hard. 

Standardized Testing In North Carolina

Jun 23, 2015
albertogp123 / Flickr/

Testing in North Carolina schools – the kind of testing and the frequency of exams have been a hot topic among parents, teachers and students in recent years. Some say there are too many, too often. Others question how the tests effect students and how they’re used to evaluate teachers. That is why the State Board of Education created a task force to look into testing. Last week that group released their recommendations and we talk to the state superintendent of education and others about them.


The North Carolina Senate and House are both dominated by Republicans. But they’re Republicans with big ideological differences in regards to tax incentives, spending, and Medicaid to name a few. As in past years, their education budgets also layout different priorities.      

WFAE’s Lisa Worf joins Morning Edition host Marshall Terry to look at what those priorities are.