Education

Kids are half-way through the school year and no doubt talk of end of year tests has already come up in class.  There are some big changes in store for students across the state.  For one, there will be a lot more end of year tests and they won’t just be multiple choice.  They’ll include essay questions.  It’s not just kids that’ll be tested.  It’ll be a test for teachers in more ways than one. WFAE’s Lisa Miller is in the studio to talk about these changes, including a flood of new tests. 


Reducing the rate of high school dropouts and empowering students to succeed is a goal of several organizations in the Charlotte area, including the Arts & Science Council. They're launching a new program that seeks to serve at-risk students called Studio 345. The program is based on another initiative that's been in operation in Pittsburgh since the 70's. It uses the arts, education and the surrounding community to help students achieve. We'll meet Bill Strickland, founder of the National Center for Arts and Technology, and find out how the implementation of a program like his will help kids in the Charlotte region, when Charlotte Talks.

We’ve heard a lot of success stories from charter school advocates as they’ve tried to gain support for them. But not all charter schools provide a good education and a leading charter school advocate is the first to admit that. In fact, he’s now pushing for states to close more charter schools. Greg Richmond is the director of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. He says up to 1,300 charter schools in the country are failing their students, including a few in North Carolina.

A new cyberbullying law goes into effect December 1 in North Carolina. It’s called the 2012 School Violence Protection Act, and it makes it a crime for students to post anything online with the intent to intimidate or torment a school employee. It unanimously passed the state Senate and fell just a vote short of that in the House.

Duncan McFadyen

UNC Charlotte’s Student Government Association is meeting November 29 to discuss gender-neutral housing. The proposal would ask school administrators to allow students to choose roommates of the opposite sex. The student group Campus Allies has been working for more than a year to get gender neutral housing at UNCC. Anthony Dondero is a transgendered member of the group. He chose to live off campus.

There are new allegations in the academic scandal in the UNC-Chapel Hill athletic department. UNC’s football team is already on NCAA probation, in part for improper help players got from a tutor. Now, a former academic support counselor named Mary Willingham has come forward with allegations that numerous people in her department knew there were problems, but looked the other way. In some cases, athletes were so far behind that academic success was almost impossible--- she says some had never read a book and didn’t know what a paragraph was.

Lisa Miller

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison last night laid out his long-range plans for the district’s future.

“It is about every child.  It is about not narrowing gaps, but closing gaps. And it is having every student graduate with a post-secondary plan,” said Morrison.

It was a highly anticipated address at the Belk Theater to help mark his first 100 days on the job. A CMS orchestra opened the evening and a student choir closed out his speech.  

Morrison said he wants to put more students in advanced level classes, provide more coaching for teachers, get kids to create electronic portfolios of their work, and open more magnet schools. 

The GI Bill was created to give soldiers a way to go to college cost-free after they finished their service. But a cost-cutting change to the benefit may mean a big tuition bill for some vets. It now only covers in-state tuition, a problem for some returning soldiers who spent years bouncing from base to deployment without establishing residency anywhere. Some North Carolina veterans say the UNC system makes it even harder for them to qualify and now they’re suing.

Charlotte’s arts education just got a boost.

PNC Bank has donated more than half a million dollars to fund early arts and science education in the Bethlehem Center’s Head Start programs.

Executive Director of the Bethlehem Center, William McDonald, says that this funding will enrich the program, which serves children whose families meet federal poverty guidelines.

Michael Tomsic

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system gave its seniors a new goal Wednesday to accomplish before graduating– build three houses. CMS is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to encourage students to get their hands dirty.

Hard hats, tool belts and wooden boards were set up in front of the bookshelves in Independence High School's library as CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison announced the partnership, called Senior Buildup.

Morrison said it's all about giving students a well-rounded education.

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