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North Carolina's budget deal is heading to Governor Pat McCrory's desk, and McCrory says he'll sign it. WFAE's Michael Tomsic joined Marshall Terry to go over some of the details.

Lisa Worf / WFAE News

This summer, North Carolina senators pushed a plan to cut thousands of teacher assistants. Educators from across the state rallied against the idea.  And in the budget compromise unveiled this week, lawmakers decided to keep funding for teacher assistants. But there’s a catch; and it’s one that many educators say is problematic.

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The office that oversees charter schools in North Carolina will likely no longer report to the Department of Public Instruction, but a politically-elected board. The measure was passed by the House and Senate this week and awaits the governor’s signature.  

classroom
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CMS may offer more seats in magnet schools next year.  Several school board members say they’re in favor of that. 

Twenty-thousand CMS students attend magnet schools.  These are schools offering different curricula like Montessori or focusing on the arts or sciences.  That number has held steady for several years now as wait lists for them have grown.

The number of CMS students who are taking Advanced Placement courses and exams continues to increase.  

  •  8,492 CMS students enrolled in at last one AP course in 2014-2015 school year
  • AP course enrollment by African-American students rose 12.2 percent; Hispanic enrollment was up 16 percent
  • CMS pass rate on 2015 AP exams was 49.6 percent, compared to national rate of 60.5 percent

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 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0/deed.en

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 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0/deed.en

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.

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