Education

Ways to Connect

Lisa Miller

This is the first in a two-part series that takes a closer look at the charter school movement

Big changes are underway for charter schools in North Carolina.  Last year state lawmakers lifted the 100 school cap.  And now 25 groups are scrambling to open charters in time for next school year.  Seven are in the Charlotte area.  That same law made it easier to close a charter school by requiring they meet certain academic standards.  The state closed one charter this summer and more could close next year.  

UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp Announces Resignation

Sep 17, 2012
UNC.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp is resigning. The announcement comes just a few days after UNC’s Board of Governors said it still supported Thorp despite a series of troubles during his tenure.

Thorp kept his job – and the support of his bosses – during a two-year stretch that included a football scandal, an academic scandal and, finally, a fundraising scandal.

The Northwest School of the Arts is the first high school in North Carolina to have the rights to put on a high school production of the Broadway musical "The Color Purple." The play is based on the 1982 Pulitzer-Prize winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker, centered on the story of a black woman’s struggle to find her identity while overcoming abusive family relationships. 

Mekhai Lee, a junior at Northwest, plays the male lead of Mister. He sings from inside a shop set in rural Georgia in the early twentieth century.

New Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison has said improving teacher morale is one of his top priorities.  He's hired an outside consultant to survey employees about morale in schools. 

Morrison has gotten an earful about low teacher morale in the district since he arrived.  He's asked teachers to come to town hall meetings to get their perspectives.  Now, he wants all employees to take a survey that attempts to answer these questions. 

timlewisnm/Flickr

Students across North Carolina already are used to taking standardized state tests at the end of the year to measure their progress.  This school year the state is adding a couple dozen tests to measure how effective teachers are at getting students to learn.

High school students will be tested in 22 areas, many of them new, including Geometry and Chemistry.  Kids in grades four through eight will be tested in social studies as well as science most of those years. 

The state plans to use these tests to track student growth and tie that to teacher evaluations. 

State lawmakers approved a budget last week and Republicans praised it by pointing out that it sent more money to schools this year without raising taxes. But some Democrats said, "No, it actually cut schools budget." So who's right?

Mountain State University To Lose Accreditation

Aug 24, 2012

A university based in West Virginia with branches in Mooresville and Hickory will soon lose its accreditation. Mountain State University has about 140 students enrolled at those campuses. The regional Higher Learning Commission posted on its website Tuesday that the school had failed to correct major problems which include leadership, learning support for students, and inadequate financial resources. The commission notified the university of those problems in February. The chairman of the university's board of trustees Jerry Ice says the school has made significant changes since then.

A 3-percent pay raise for CMS teachers is in question today. Governor Perdue vetoed a budget that would have made those raises possible saying lawmakers need to send even more funds to schools. Republican state lawmakers are at this hour attempting to override that veto. The action coincides with CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison's first day on the job. In this segment, WFAE's Julie Rose discusses the issues with WFAE's All Things Considered host, Mark Rumsey.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has been trying to get its best teachers and principals in the most struggling schools through an initiative called strategic staffing. The schools have made big gains, but they're still far from where the district expected them to be at this point. 

CMS: Back To School

Aug 24, 2012

The buses have been making their trial runs around the city, hundreds of new teachers have been hired, the pencils, paper and notebooks have been purchased. That's right, it's back to school time at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools! We'll hear from a trio of journalists about the issues facing CMS as we head into the first day of school next week. Join us for a conversation about the leadership of new Superintendent Heath Morrison, the reaction to test scores around the district and how school officials are planning to improve them, and much more.

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