Liz Schlemmer

Education Policy Reporter

Liz Schlemmer is WUNC's Education Policy Reporter, a fellowship position supported by the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. She has an M.A. from the UNC Chapel Hill School of Media & Journalism and a B.A. in history and anthropology from Indiana University.

She has previously served as a temporary Morning Edition producer and intern at WUNC and as a news intern at St. Louis Public Radio. Liz is originally from Indiana, where she grew up with a large extended family of educators.
 

Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence top a section of U.S. 421 near the Pender-New Hanover County line north of Wilmington.
NC Department of Transportation

State transportation officials are warning hurricane evacuees from Wilmington not to go back home this weekend. They say residents shouldn’t let the good weather fool them into thinking it is safe to return.

Scotland High School in Laurinburg, North Carolina flooded as rivers rose from Hurricane Florence's massive rainfall. A tributary to the Leith Creek runs across the school's property.
Courtesy of Scotland County Schools

Schools across the southeastern part of the state remained closed this week as administrators begin to assess the damage from Hurricane Florence.

Crews with the NYC Emergency Management perform water rescues in River Bend, N.C., after Hurricane Florence on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.
Courtesy of NYC Emergency Management

Updated at 4:45 p.m.

Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but surges and flooding are expected to continue as it lashes South Carolina, according to the National Weather Service.

Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast.
Chuck Burton / AP

Updated 5 p.m. | Sept. 13, 2018

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 105 mph (165 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

A picture of a patient and a doctor meeting over a web connection.
Cisco Systems

Dealing with a sick child or a minor ailment can be especially tough while waiting out a storm. UNC Healthcare has a solution for anyone in North Carolina who needs to consult a doctor for minor issues as Hurricane Florence hits the state.

Nchole Yeo / Flickr

During Wednesday's State Board of Education work session, state education officials released the latest school accountability reports for the 2017-2018 school year. The executive summary covers statistics on end-of-grade exams, graduation rates and the growth and performance grades for schools, as based on their students' end-of-year standardized tests.

Students Kamora Foxworth, left, and Odyessi McDougald, center, smile while they eat lunch at Southside-Ashpole Elementary on the first week of school as the elementary becomes the first in the state's Innovative School District.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

North Carolina has a new, experimental school district opening up this year, and classes started last week at its first and only school.

Colavito Tyson is a teacher assistant at Nash-Rocky Mount Schools. She came to the May #Red4Ed march in Raleigh carrying this sign that she says she's had for years, from another educators' march calling for more school funding years ago.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

North Carolina educators have marched in Raleigh repeatedly over the years - and most recently in May - to call for better funding for public schools. While the spotlight is often on teacher pay, the full picture is a lot more complicated.

Veteran school finance officer Jennifer Bennett of Vance County Schools says she struggles to find ways to pay for technology, after-school programs and field trips to expose her small-town students to experiences that will prepare them for future jobs.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Educators across the state often complain of tight public school budgets that leave something to be desired. Two school finance officers explain what they want most: more flexibility and more funding.

Silent Sam
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

Police arrested seven people on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill Saturday, as counter-protestors clashed with men carrying Confederate battle flags and other signs. This came five days after the Silent Sam statue was brought down on campus.

File photo of a faucet.
Henry M. Diaz / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/4HJKuS

Guilford County Schools is working to protect its students' drinking water after the county identified three school faucets with elevated lead content.

Laura Garduño Garcia and Milton Marin wait with students who are taking their concerns to the county commissioners.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

It’s a Sunday afternoon at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Burlington, and schoolchildren and their families gather in a church meeting room to craft hand-made greeting cards. Little girls in their Sunday dresses, dark hair pulled back in ribbons, write messages in crayon on red paper. Organizer Laura Garduño Garcia looks over a stack of finished cards written to the Alamance County commissioners.

Sculpture of the Wright Brothers first flight at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills
Courtesy of the National Park Service

Students across North Carolina learn that the Wright Brothers took their first flight in Kitty Hawk, but park rangers at the Wright Brothers National Memorial want teachers to draw on that story beyond 4th and 8th grade state history classes.

Photo of a ball and chain with "student loans" written on it
thisisbossi / Flickr

Student loan debt is on the rise nationally and in North Carolina, but recent graduates are faring better here than in other states.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey (center-right) listens while State Superintendent Mark Johnson gives his monthly address to the board.
Jess Clark / WUNC

The chairman of the State Board of Education is leaving his post. Bill Cobey submitted his resignation to the Department of Public Instruction this afternoon.

Students in the Medical Education Development (MED) Program (left to right) Jazmine Walker, Miguel Vasquez, Gloribel Vanegas, and Joshua Walker prepare to dissect a cadaver at UNC Chapel Hill on July 5, 2018.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Jazmine Walker unzips a blue body bag. A gaggle of students in scrubs and surgical masks surround her. Teams of five crowd around cadavers around the room, about to begin their first dissection of a human body. But these are not medical students − not yet anyway.

Students use laptops at Siler City Elementary in Chatham County.
Chatham County Schools

The North Carolina School Boards Association has taken a new step in a long-held legal battle over public school funding. The association filed a complaint Wednesday demanding state agencies pay hundreds of millions of dollars to fund technology in schools.

A Wake County Public Schools bus.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Wake County Commissioners agreed unanimously Monday night to give preliminary approval to three bond questions that could go on that county's November election ballots. A proposed $548 million public school bond would fund planned school construction and renovation in the rapidly growing county.

The Henderson House, where Compass Center offices are located.
Courtesy of Compass Center

A Chapel Hill-based nonprofit that serves victims of domestic violence and their families is planning to expand its services next year to enable survivors to get back on their feet.

UNC System President Margaret Spellings in her office
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

A new report from The Chronicle of Higher Education ranks the country’s highest-paid university officials. A number in North Carolina fell in the top hundred – but officials from most of the state’s historically black colleges and universities were not to be found in their ranks.

Bruce Major, left, met with community leaders in Robeson County Thursday. He will serve as the head administrator of Southside-Ashpole Elementary in Robeson County, as part of the state's new Innovative School District.
Courtesy of the Innovative School District

North Carolina's experimental Innovative School District will open soon and now has a director for its first school. Community leaders in Lumberton gathered Thursday to meet Southside-Ashpole Elementary's new director Bruce Major. The public school will re-open in August under its new management.

University police stand watch inside a barricade around the Silent Sam Statue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill protestors for and against the statue’s removal attended rallies near the statue on Tuesday, August 22, 2017.
Matt Couch / WUNC

The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past year to provide security around its contentious Confederate monument. UNC police estimate that between July 2017 and July 2018, the campus has spent $393,000 dollars on security around Silent Sam.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools

North Carolina has a new law to give a school district more flexibility if it has a lot of struggling schools - and the law applies only to Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey (center-right) listens while State Superintendent Mark Johnson gives his monthly address to the board.
Jess Clark / WUNC

Tension between State Superintendent Mark Johnson and the State Board of Education has not improved since the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in a case between the two. If anything, the tension is rising.

A vote here sign in Chapel Hill
Amy Townsend / WUNC

Should North Carolina voters show a photo ID to vote in person? That will be just one of six questions voters will decide when they head to the polls in November. Legislators approved the sixth ballot question just before adjourning the spring legislative session Friday.

Picture of gavel
Flickr.com

Voters will see yet another proposed amendment to the North Carolina Constitution on their November ballots.

Picture of gavel
Flickr.com

The House has given preliminary approval to a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would change the process for filling vacant judicial seats.

The 2018 Kids Count Data Book found that the well-being of NC children improved among 10 of 16 indicators, with the most consistent gains in the area of economic well-being.
Courtesy of NC Child

A new report on the well-being of children found improvements across many measures for kids in North Carolina. The 2018 Kids County Data Book ranks North Carolina 32nd in overall child well-being in comparison to other states, with the state rising one place in the rankings in each of the past three years. The latest report found that there were fewer children in poverty, higher graduation rates and fewer teens giving birth in the state in 2016 as compared to 2010.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Republicans in the General Assembly rode their majority to pass three more proposed constitutional amendments Tuesday. 

Uriel Rodriguez, 12, watches on as other speakers prepare to take the podium at the "Families Belong Together" rally to protest a recent Trump administration policy of separating families detained after illegally crossing the Mexico border.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Protesters gathered in Raleigh last night for a rally against the policy of separating families who cross the southern border illegally.

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