Lisa Miller

Charlotte Mecklenburg School officials are gearing up for a bond referendum this fall.  They laid out a plan Tuesday night to build several new schools throughout the county, including three k-8 schools and a handful of magnets.

A prominent critic of charter schools, standardized testing, and private influence on education spoke at UNC Charlotte Wednesday evening. UNCC paid Diane Ravitch $20,000 to appear at the campus’ McKnight Auditorium in front of about 100 teachers, students, and community activists.

North Carolina lawmakers are trying again this year to push through a number of changes to education, including getting rid of teacher tenure. 

That got dropped from an education bill Senator Pro Tem Phil Berger introduced last year.  He’s hopeful it’ll pass this year since Republicans increased their numbers in the General Assembly.  Berger says doing away with tenure is one more way to ensure each student has a good teacher. 

  When it comes to education policy, the name Diane Ravitch gets a lot of attention. In the early 90s, she was assistant secretary of education. She then over oversaw the federal education testing program for seven years. More recently, she’s the author of the The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Dr. Ravitch  spoke in two events at UNC Charlotte March 20, one public and one private. She spoke with Morning Edition  host, Duncan McFadyen.

Traditionally, sexual assault involving students on college campuses were assigned to student-run honor systems which even many students viewed as ineffective and unfair. Indeed, schools around the country have been accused of questionable practices when it comes to prosecuting sexual misconduct. Will the updated Violence Against Women Act solve this problem? We look into that and into the complicated intersection of school, crime and justice when Charlotte Talks.

Lisa Miller

Not all schools are equal when it comes to public funding. Districts across the country spend more on schools that have a large percentage of low-income students. In CMS, the funding for some schools is more than double what other schools receive for each student.

But that doesn’t necessarily translate to academic success.  WFAE set out to find out why.

To borrow from a classic, let’s call this a tale of two schools.  One is highly successful.  One is improving, but still struggling.  Tina Yulee sees the difference every day.

Plagiarism Allegation Derails Charlotte Charter School Opening

Mar 7, 2013

Cameron Creek Charter won’t be allowed to open in east Charlotte this year, based on accusations that it cut and pasted large parts of its application from another Charlotte proposal.

The N.C. Board of Education voted Thursday to deny that school a charter. But 23 new charter schools around the state got final approval to open in August, including six in the Charlotte area.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

The push for high-performing college graduates and non-teachers from other professions to enter the classroom has reached an all-time high in the past few years. Proponents of “alternative entry” see it as a fast way to send motivated, knowledgeable instructors into schools—particularly high needs schools and subjects like math and science—but their inexperience and high turnover rate has drawn fire from critics.

It used to be that learning to write in cursive style, was just a part of growing up.  But in this age of keyboards, keypads and tablets -- many people are asking, ‘is cursive writing still relevant?’   A set of common curriculum standards adopted by North Carolina and 44 other states since 2010 does not mention cursive writing.   But a bill introduced in the state legislature would require public schools to teach cursive writing.    WFAE’s Mark Rumsey looked into the issue.

A couple years ago CMS was charging full steam ahead with a plan to pay teachers based partly on their students’ performance.  But it upset so many teachers and parents, the district put a halt to it.  Now, CMS officials are reviving the idea and trying hard to avoid past missteps.  They’ve asked teachers to begin working on another plan. 

WFAE’s Lisa Miller joins All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey to discuss the latest efforts.

RUMSEY: Lisa, why is CMS talking about this issue again?