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.
 

Teachers walk in together as they arrive for work at San Marcos Elementary School Friday, May 4, 2018, in Chandler, Ariz., after a statewide teachers strike ended. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York / AP

This Wednesday more than 10,000 teachers are expected in Raleigh on the General Assembly's opening day to demand better pay and working conditions.

Veteran educators say those demands are about restoring education funding to what it was before the recession hit and a wave of Republican-led policies and tax cuts dismantled their benefits.

Teachers have adopted the tagline: "It's Personal."

Students at Yadkin Valley Community School, a Montessori School in Elkin, crowd around school choice advocate Darrell Allison in celebration of National School Choice Week.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Darrell Allison is on the road again, taking a final long trip to visit private schools across North Carolina. He's used to traveling - to small towns, suburbs, down east and to the mountains to talk to parents and legislators across the state.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

When legislators return to Raleigh next week for the start of the spring session, they will have a slew of ideas to consider to improve student safety in North Carolina schools. The House Select Committee on School Safety on Thursday approved a handful of recommendations to the General Assembly, and also drafted a number of possible bills.

Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

The State Board of Education has approved a contract to turn over operation of Southside-Ashpole Elementary to the charter school operator Achievement for All Children.

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

There could be more and better-trained, school-based police officers in North Carolina -- if the recommendations of a legislative committee are put into action.

The entrance to the Wake County Public Schools administration office.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Wake County Schools might consider changing its dress code to one that is likely to result in fewer violations. School Board member Lindsay Mahaffey says she's heard a lot of feedback that the current dress code is biased.

Cedar Fork Elementary in Wake County would have to add three more kindergarten classrooms under the class-size change scheduled to go into effect in the fall.
Jess Clark / WUNC

A legislative committee that may overhaul the way schools are funded is looking to rewrite the formula so it’s based primarily on a school district’s students.

High school and college students eager to respond to questions about gun safety issues from lawmakers.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

The Institute of Politics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill held a "reverse" town hall on gun violence Sunday to give influential lawmakers the opportunity to ask young people what they thought about the issue.

East Chapel Hill High students Sahmoi Stout and Sydney McLean lead fellow students in a march for gun control as part of the National School Walkout, holding the banner that says "Enough."
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

About 200 students from several Chapel Hill area schools marched together up a hill, and nearly five miles across their town behind an orange banner that said "Enough."

Mary Carelock sits on the porch of her home on East Bessemer Avenue with her daughter. She was enjoying the rain on her porch Sunday evening when the tornado struck. Her house was destroyed.
Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

Updated 10:13 a.m. | April 17, 2018

Mary Carelock was enjoying a rainy Sunday evening on her front porch on East Bessemer Avenue. Then in a matter of minutes, everything changed.

Elizabeth Ferguson Hollifield, a teacher from Princeton W.Va., holds a sign as she walks to a teacher rally Monday, March 5, 2018.
Tyler Evert / AP

Teachers in Arizona are protesting for higher pay, while Kentucky educators rallied at their state capitol this Friday. The same day, Oklahoma teachers ended a 9-day walkout, rivaling the length of time West Virginia teachers left their classrooms last month. Distressed teachers seeking higher pay and better funding for education have created a movement in red states, leaving some to wonder, will North Carolina teachers join in next?

Lynn Makor is a school psychology consultant for the NC Department of Public  Instruction and the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. She addressed the House Select Committee on School Safety's Student Health Subcommittee.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

School psychologists want legislators to know that there aren't enough of them to go around.

A subcommittee of the House Select School Safety Committee met Monday to consider improvements to school mental health services. One of the resounding recommendations from school pyschologists and counselors: they need more support.

Cold case file
JULIENNE ALEXANDER / CRIMINAL

When the Dallas Police Department fails to find the person responsible for the death of a college sophomore, her best friend steps in to solve the case.  

Greensboro city skyline
Mark Goebel / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/4UYDyX

The city of Greensboro could do more to ensure businesses owned by women and minorities get contracts with the city, according to a report presented to the city council this week.

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

University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings updated the joint legislative education oversight committee Tuesday on a new commission to develop statewide education goals.

Courtesy of NC Coastal Land Trust

The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust has plans to help form a state nature preserve on a site that may be the final destination of the historic lost colony at Roanoke Island.

File photo of Southside-Ashpole Elementary in Robeson County.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

The State Board of Education will vote this week on an operator for the first school in the state's Innovative School District, and the recommended contender's board of directors includes a former legislator who sponsored the bill to create the new district.

School bus
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

Educators and education policy leaders are weighing many options when it comes to improving school safety in an age of mass school shootings and other threats of violence. Add to that list strengthening penalties for anyone who threatens a school and its students.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

The North Carolina General Assembly’s answer to the Parkland shooting and a still-simmering national conversation about school safety began Wednesday with a legislative committee. The House Select Committee on School Safety met for the first time to discuss measures to keep public school students safe.

An image of hands raised
Creative Commons

A new report from the left-leaning NC Justice Center has found that schools in the state have become slightly more segregated in the past decade. The report Stymied by Segregation found that the number of racially or economically isolated schools has gone up in that time.

Students at East Chapel Hill High walk out of their class on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 as part of a nationwide call for tighter gun control measures.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Updated at 4:27 p.m.

Students hoisted "Stand United" signs. They chanted "''Hey, hey, ho, ho - the NRA has got to go" outside the White House. Others read the names of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High victims aloud in a somber tribute.

Memorial and calls for gun control cover a fence outside of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida.
Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Many North Carolina students will join fellow students across the country in walking out of classes Wednesday. The day marks one month after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Area schools are taking a variety of approaches to the expected protests.

gun with lock
Associated Press

The North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force voted Wednesday to recommend that the General Assembly support a statewide firearm safety initiative. That effort would focus on spreading awareness of safe firearm storage and would distribute free gun locks. The recommendation will go into the task force’s action agenda for the legislature’s short session in the spring.

In this Dec. 27, 2012 file photo, Cori Sorensen, a fourth grade teacher from Highland Elementary School in Highland, Utah, receives firearms training with a .357 magnum
Rick Bowmer / AP

State Superintendent Mark Johnson is asking teachers whether or not they would like to be armed. So far, most say no. Johnson sent an informal, online poll in an email to all of the about 100,000 public school teachers across the state Thursday morning and received more than 19,000 responses in the first 24 hours.

boy holds gun control sign
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

 

Thousands marched in Raleigh Wednesday night to remember the people killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Students took center stage as they called for North Carolina elected officials to toughen gun restrictions.

A class of West Lumberton Elementary kindergartners meets in their temporary building at Lumberton Junior High. The school's enrollment is down from 150, pre-Matthew, to 90.
Lisa Philip / WUNC

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore is expected to form a new House committee on school safety on Tuesday. That comes days after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead.

Students wearing yellow scarves for National School Choice Week
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

The General Assembly passed a bill Tuesday primarily to address issues with a prior law that reduces class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. While the measure to phase in and better fund those reductions had bipartisan support, Democrats have criticized the bill for tacking on a number of other provisions.

N.C. Supreme Court Building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The North Carolina Supreme Court will hear a case Wednesday over a power struggle between Republican State Superintendent Mark Johnson and the Republican-led State Board of Education. Shortly after Johnson's election in 2016, the General Assembly passed a law to shift powers from the governor-appointed board to the superintendent.

File photo of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. The governor addressed the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 at North Carolina State University.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper is urging business leaders to pressure the General Assembly to make funding for education a higher priority.

Children in a small class size at The Piedmont School in High Point.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

The Education Savings Account is a new state program that allows families of qualified children with disabilities to apply for a taxpayer-funded account to pay for educational expenses while attending a private school.

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