Ways to Connect

North Carolina public schools received their letter grades Wednesday and they stayed relatively flat. 

Across the state, about two-thirds of schools received Bs and Cs. Six percent received As or A-pluses.

Within CMS, a higher percentage of schools got As, about 12 percent, but just like the state, nearly a third got Ds and Fs. 

Ildar Sagdejev /

The future of driver’s education is still unclear as state lawmakers continue to haggle over a budget. Senate leaders want to stop funding the program and possibly do away with requiring it for 16 and 17 year-olds to get a license. Many assume driver's ed turns out safer drivers, but research shows that’s not necessarily true. 

Small Group Goes To Great Lengths To Block Homeschooling Regulation

Aug 27, 2015

This story was co-published with Slate.

In the fall of 2003, police in New Jersey received a call from a concerned neighbor who'd found a boy rummaging in her garbage, looking for food. He was 19 years old but was 4 feet tall and weighed just 45 pounds. Investigators soon learned that the boy's three younger brothers were also severely malnourished.

The family was known to social workers, but the children were being homeschooled and thus were cut off from the one place where their condition could have gotten daily scrutiny - a classroom.

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.