Education

Ways to Connect

Teachers regularly evaluate their students.

Now, the tables are turned. Students evaluate their teachers.

Last year was the first in which students throughout North Carolina completed official evaluation forms of their teachers. In fact, evaluations by students in high school, middle school and even elementary school have picked up steam across the country.

The concept is the brainchild of a Harvard professor named Ron Ferguson. In this report, WFAE’s Lisa Miller talks to him about how the surveys work.

CMS

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system is reorganizing its leadership, starting with the people in charge of human resources and communications. That’s after audits released Tuesday showed those departments weren’t doing a good enough job.

Last year, Davidson College named its first female president, Dr. Carol Quillen, from Rice University. A former history teacher, she brings strong opinions about the role of a liberal arts education in today’s world, especially one that is so interconnected and changing so quickly. We’ll talk about higher education, its role in the Global Economy, and her vision for Davidson College and its students, when Charlotte Talks.

Schools across the country perpetually struggle to find qualified math and science teachers.  North Carolina is doubling one of its programs aimed at luring engineers and scientists into the teaching profession.  

Greg Stolve has been an industrial engineer for the past fifteen years.  But that’s not the career he planned on in college.  He wanted to be a teacher, until an academic advisor told him engineers make more money and finish school faster.  So that’s what he did.  

“Well, honestly, my work in industry has gotten to be not very rewarding,” says Stolve.  

Lisa Miller

The two major candidates for governor both stress linking businesses and schools to make sure students graduate with the skills they need to land a job.  Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Walter Dalton also want to strengthen education in the early years.  But they favor different paths to get there.

Campaign season is full of promises even to the smallest constituents.  These Charlotte pre-schoolers have big plans for their futures.  Dalton sits cross-legged among them.  A few of them tell him they want to be Batman and Spiderman.  

Bill Friday Helped To Found WFAE

Oct 18, 2012
University of North Carolina

On October 17, generations of North Carolina leaders gathered in Chapel Hill to remember UNC System President Emeritus Bill Friday. Friday is widely credited with creating the 16 campus state university system. And, for the last three decades, he was in the homes of UNC-TV viewers as the host of “North Carolina People.” But Friday also had a hand in the establishment of WFAE.

Two CMS creative art magnets could combine next year and become a school open to students year-round.  The board was expected to launch that effort Tuesday night.  But Superintendent Heath Morrison decided the district needed more time to study it and get input from parents. 

Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton campaigned in Charlotte Friday to pitch his education plan for the state.  If elected governor, he says he'd push to restore education funding lawmakers cut in recent years.  That includes pre-kindergarten programs that prepare needy children for school.  It also includes raising teacher salaries over four years to the national average of $56,000.   

Leaders of nine CMS schools on Charlotte's west side are considering going to a year-round school calendar, but they want to get the go ahead from parents and teachers.  The schools are part of Project LIFT, a public-private partnership to improve student learning at these schools.  Project LIFT is holding three community meetings over the next two weeks to gauge whether parents support the idea.  If the answer is an overwhelming no, Project LIFT's community engagement coordinator Brandi Williams says they'll drop it. 

About 15,000 kids a year drop out of North Carolina schools.  In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the number is about 1,500.  School social workers have long made house calls to many kids who simply stop showing up at school.  They try to figure out why the child left, get them help, and show them ways they can catch up. 

This is a sensitive situation.  Imagine you're a kid who has given up on school and then a social worker shows up on your doorstep. 

"I've had families look through the blinds and not come to the door," says Heidi Berger, a CMS social worker.  

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