Education

This section collects Education stories from WUNC News & other sources.

A UNC Board of Governors panel says it agrees with most of the findings from an earlier investigation of academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill.

''Home'' by Toni Morrison
UNC News

“Home,” the latest novel by Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, will be the 2013 summer reading book for incoming students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Christopher Putney, associate professor of Russian in the department of Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures and chair of the selection committee that chose the book, said that students will be able to relate to “Home.”

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory says he has instructed his staff to write legislation that would revamp how state universities are funded. McCrory told the Bill Bennett radio show Morning in America that universities should be funded not by how many students they enroll, but how many students get jobs after college.

"I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we're offering courses that have no chance at getting people jobs," McCrory said. 

ucpress.edu

Deborah Hicks  grew up in an Appalachian paper mill town she hoped to escape. Her education opened doors for her to leave and travel to other parts of a country, but she returned time and again to Appalachia as a teacher. Deborah has dedicated her life to educating those that need her most - focusing on young girls in poor neighborhoods. She is the founder and director of PAGE, Partnership for Appalachian Girls' Education, in Madison County.

It's the beginning of the Spring Semester and sorority and fraternity in-take season is about to begin on many college campuses.  This has traditionally been an exciting time at historically black colleges and universities where many of these Greek organizations are turning 100 years old.  

But entry into these close-knit groups have sparked major out-cry because of hazing.  And administrators say the sometimes violent and mentally taxing pledge process has spilled over into other campus groups, like the band, sports teams and even honor societies. 

Duke University is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first five black students to attend the school.  Organizations are planning several events over the next nine months leading up to the anniversary this fall.  Nat White, Jr. is one of the three surviving members of the group of five.   He said on WUNC's "The State of Things" that he didn't know quite what to make of the experience as it happened.

A Duke University study finds the state's schools are becoming less racially segregated and more economically segregated.

For decades, race has been the most common measure of school segregation.  But 10 years of observation by some Duke professors shows there is a bigger divide in school populations even if ethnic disparity has leveled off.

Charles Clotfelter teaches law, economics and public policy at Duke.  His team looked primarily at students getting free lunch and found that some counties handled the divide better than others:

The UNC School of Medicine has a new laboratory designed to prepare students and faculty to perform eye surgery. The university received a donation of one-million dollars from a company based in Winston-Salem called the North Carolina Eye Bank. The organization harvests and distributes eye tissue for surgery. The new lab has 19 stations that simulate cornea transplants and other procedures. Doctor Don Budenz is the chair of UNC's ophthalmology department.

Students are beginning classes today at the new High Point campus of a for-profit university.

South University has more than 22,000 students across the country. It has 15 campuses, but the majority of students take classes on-line. South has a graduation rate of just more than 30-percent, which is better than most for-profit schools. Michael Trembley is Campus President in High Point. He expects about 85 students on this inaugural day:

The findings of a review of academic fraud were presented this morning to UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees.

Former Governor Jim Martin led the independent review. The findings reveal problems within the UNC-Chapel Hill African and Afro-American Studies department began in 1997. They involve more than 200 courses, and hundreds of students. Martin said the fraud peaked in 2007 and did not include a disproportionate amount of student athletes.

Jim Martin: "This was not an athletic scandal. This was not an athletic scandal it was an academic scandal - which is worse."

Some of the country’s premier universities are partnering to form an innovative online classroom program.

A student at Duke or Wake Forest or UNC-Chapel Hill has a dizzying array of classes to choose from on campus. But some of those classes might not be exactly what they want or need, or the classes may not be offered when they need them.  A new partnership called Semester Online aims to change that. The idea is to teach certain classes online, creating an even larger pool of courses for students not only at Duke, Carolina, and Wake, but also at Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and a dozen other elite universities.  Duke Provost Peter Lang says it will be a great opportunity for students.

On November 6th, North Carolina voters will elect a new governor. They'll also make selections for Council of State offices. Isaac-Davy Aronson has this look at the two candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

WTCC

Voters in Wake County will decide the fate of a $200 million bond for Wake Tech Community College.

Governor Bev Perdue plans to shift 20 million dollars into funding for the state's pre-kindergarten academic enrichment program.

Bill Friday
UNC Chapel Hill

More than a thousand people gathered today in Memorial Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill to remember Bill Friday. The longtime UNC system president and TV show host died last week at the age of 92.

Remembering Bill Friday

Oct 12, 2012
Bill Friday
UNC-Chapel Hill

Former UNC system president Bill Friday has died. Friday passed away in his sleep this morning at his home in Chapel Hill. He was 92 years old. Friday was president of UNC for 30 years, and steered it through desegregation, unprecedented growth, and numerous political battles. He also hosted more than 18-hundred episodes of North Carolina People on UNC-TV.  Dave DeWitt has this remembrance of one of the most important and most visible North Carolinians of his time.

Raleigh School Closing

Oct 10, 2012

A controversial private school in Raleigh is closing its doors. The Upper Room Christian Academy High School opened in 2001.

Sara Carucci
The Monti

Our series of stories from The Monti concludes today with Sarah Carucci. She now works as a graduation coach at Communities in Schools -- but she got her start in education as a teacher. Her story was recorded in front of an  audience at Motorco in Durham as a part of WUNC's American Graduate collaboration with The Monti.

American Graduate & The Monti: Jonas Monast

Sep 27, 2012
Jonas Monast
The Monti

All this week we're featuring stories recorded in front of a live audience about critical moments at school. It's part of our on-going American Graduate project, a public media initiative looking at the drop out crisis and other issues in education. Everybody has a story about a turning point at school -- sometimes it's about a big test or academic triumph -- other times it's about something a little more intimate, like falling in love for the first time. That's the subject of this story from Jonas Monast. It was recorded in front of a live audience at The Monti.

American Graduate & The Monti: Casio Noell

Sep 26, 2012
Casio Noell
The Monti

All this week WUNC during All Things Considered we're hearing personal stories about education told live at The Monti. It's a performance storytelling group that hosts events around the Triangle and in Greensboro. As a part of American Graduate Week, we're featuring stories about the drop out crisis -- and other issues with public education. Today the story of Casio Noell -- he spoke to a live audience in Durham.

An advocacy group says it plans to file a lawsuit against the UNC system, alleging inconsistent and unfair treatment of veterans. Jason Thigpen is president of Student Veterans Advocacy Group.

"The UNC school system across the board - universities and community colleges - have invariably misclassified many of these student veterans and family members as out-of-state residents, when they meet all the qualifications to be considered an in-state resident for tuition purposes," said Thigpen.

Democratic leaders on the Wake County School Board say Tony Tata's leadership style led to his firing as superintendent. 

Gurnal Scott: Members of the Democratic majority gave some reasons for their vote in a news conference yesterday. But they declined to give specifics. Board chairman Kevin Hill pointed to what he says were operational failures.

Kevin Hill: We've had a disastrous start to the school year in implementation of our assignment plan beginning with the first week in July. We've had a mess with transportation.

Tony Tata
Wake County Schools

The Wake County School Board is looking for a new superintendent. The board's Democratic majority fired Tony Tata yesterday after less than two years on the job. They said little about their reasons. But Republicans blame partisan politics.


Gurnal Scott: A precariously-placed hammer over the head of Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata..finally dropped.

Kevin Hill: At this time I look for a motion from the board to approve the separation agreement between the board and Mr. Tata.

School can be hard -- and often it's not the academics that makes it so challenging. As a part of our weeklong American Graduate series of stories about education -- we hear from Patty Chase of Durham. In this story told live at The Monti, she remembers one life changing moment from elementary school.

Tony Tata
Wake County Schools

Wake County Schools superintendent Tony Tata may learn today if he still has a job.

Board members spent more than three hours yesterday in closed session. They made no decision. But Republican members who support Tata -- like John Tedesco -- left the meeting upset about where they were.

John Tedesco: In a closed session personnel item when I should be working on something like student achievement.

This week public radio stations across the country are taking part in American Graduate Week. It's a Public Media initiative that looks at the drop out crisis and other issues in the public schools. As a part of our coverage, WUNC partnered with the performance story-telling group The Monti for a series of stories about school. Our first one comes from Bill Kenyon -- he's a teacher from Hillsborough -- he told his story, without notes, in front of a live audience at The Monti.

The average SAT score for North Carolina high school students has dropped below 1,000.

The average combined critical reading and math score of 997 is down four points from last year. Results are based off of more than 63,000 students who took the standardized test. The Department of Public Instruction said that average scores on both of those sections as well as the writing component dropped by two points.

Several hundred students, faculty members and alums held a rally today at UNC-Chapel Hill in an effort to get the university's chancellor, Holden Thorp, to reconsider his decision to step down. Thorp has offered to resign in the wake of a series of athletic-related scandals at the university. Seniors Maggie Sommers and Lauren Delaunay say they attended the rally to show their respect for Thorp.

Maggie Sommers and Lauren Delaunay:

Holden Thorp
UNC-Chapel Hill

The resolution came out of a closed-door meeting of the Trustees last night. It describes the Board’s “unanimous” support for Thorp and “emphatically” requests that he reconsider his decision to resign.

Thorp announced that resignation on Monday, saying he believed it was in the best interests of the university and his family. Thorp was on the teleconference with the Trustees and has not indicated whether he will reconsider.

Families in Wake County will soon have to learn the particulars of yet another student assignment plan.

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