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Budget bill sent to Cooper puts NC’s controversial school voucher program on path to dramatic expansion

Big hike would come at same time traditional public schools are grappling with funding challenges and staffing shortfalls  State lawmakers may regret the decision to stuff millions of additional dollars into the state’s underutilized school voucher program, Rep. Rachel Hunt warned last week. The Mecklenburg County Democrat said the feeling of remorse will likely come over them in August...

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Education News Top Story

COVID cautions land NC family with truancy charge

Stanly County mom defends decision to temporarily homeschool son during spikes in the pandemic In January, when the COVID positivity rate climbed to nearly 40% in Stanly County, northeast of Charlotte, Morgan Perez made the tough call to keep her son Jaxon home from school.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Report on UNC System campus free speech provides insights into climate, student experiences

Some conservative students say they feel stifled, but generally not by faculty members When Policy Watch reported on conservative writer and podcaster Ben Shapiro’s visit to UNCG in April, it had all the hallmarks of the current debate over free speech on campuses. A highly partisan figure drawing huge crowds with divisive -- in this case, transphobic and homophobic -- language. Students protesting, holding a competing event and verbally sparring with the speaker.

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Education Top Story

State Board of Education hears sobering details of the pandemic’s impact on youth mental health

Trauma, depression, and suicide have spiked and a bill in the General Assembly could make things worse The pandemic has been unkind to America’s school children. Academically, K-12 students experienced significant learning loss while stuck at home during the height of the pandemic. The long-term impact of students falling behind in school keeps educators awake at night.

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Education News Top Story

UNC Press initiative aims to tame the soaring and burdensome cost of textbooks

This month the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics released a new edition of Contemporary Precalculus Through Applications, the popular book that is the only text in the school’s precalculus courses. But this new edition is available digitally, for free, to not just students at the elite residential high school but high school and college students all over the state.

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Education News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Kids are already struggling as ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’ head to governor’s desk

This week House Bill 755 - the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” - is headed for one more procedural vote in the N.C. House and then to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper. Cooper, a Democrat, has signaled he will veto the bill. But democratic lawmakers say tha will serve Republicans’ political purposes, letting them campaign on their opposition having killed a bill that would ban any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in Kindergarten through third grade.

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Education News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

“Parents’ Bill of Rights,” targeting LGBTQ kids, is full of wrongs, opponents say

On Wednesday night, after the state Senate voted to approve House Bill 755, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” State Rep. Cecil Brockman sounded ...
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Defending Democracy Education News Top Story

Durham GOP’s “Better Board, Better Schools” candidate slate is soundly defeated

Five Republicans vying to win control of Durham’s progressive school board were soundly defeated in Tuesday’s election. Four of the five finished last in their respective races. Durham’s progressive incumbents – Natalie Beyer, Matt Sears and Bettina Umstead – won three of the five seats up grabs.

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A look at some highlights from Gov. Cooper’s latest budget proposal

After five plus years in office, it’s obvious why North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper remains one of the nation’s more popular chief executives: the man keeps trying to make government work. In a time in which so many politicians prioritize division and controversy – think of Florida’s Ron DeSantis and his absurd and destructive culture wars – Cooper keeps trying to build bridges and find common ground.

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Education News Top Story

Demise of mismanaged charter school leaves some lamenting the loss

The state is closing Raleigh's Torchlight Academy because of repeated and serious management failures, but some of its strengths and accomplishments will be lost in the process Carla Peralta cried after getting the word that Torchlight Academy is closing due to fiscal and governance concerns uncovered during a state Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) investigation.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW special report: Low pay, high cost of living are sending UNC System grad students to food pantries

Folasewa Olatunde didn’t want to go to the dentist. But sharp pain and inflammation in her mouth told her she should. The dentist told her she needed to have a molar removed and some cavities filled. The cost: more than $3,000.

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at pre-K access in North Carolina and around the country

When state lawmakers return to Raleigh later this month for the 2022 short session, look for renewed debate regarding the state's ongoing failure to comply with court orders in the landmark Leandro lawsuit that directed it to better fund North Carolina's public education system. One important aspect of those orders involves the state's commitment to providing quality early childhood education...

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look charter schools in North Carolina

Few issues spark debate in North Carolina’s education circles like charter schools. Save for school vouchers and the state’s long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit, few topics that stir a higher level of passion. Supporters, many of whom are conservative voters, see charters as "school choice" options that help families looking to flee low-performing schools.

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Education Top Story

Present day controversies are front and center at legislative hearing on the future of public education

Committee chair challenges the relevance of state's landmark Leandro school funding case The state’s decades-old school funding case, Leandro, could become “moot," depending on decisions by a House select committee charged with “reinventing” North Carolina’s public education system, State Rep. John Torbett, a Gaston County Republican and chairman of the committee, told Policy Watch on Monday.

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Education Higher Ed News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the impact of North Carolina’s community college system

While North Carolina's economy has fully returned to pre-pandemic employment levels, concerns remain over resignations and unfilled job openings. “Our significant success increasing jobs during the pandemic shows North Carolinians are resilient," Gov. Roy Cooper said last month. "We need to focus on training workers and educating children to continue to grow our workforce.”

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Congress Education News Top Story

LGBTQ community, people of color in the crosshairs of banned book movement

Students in one Pennsylvania school district were not allowed to read a biography of the first Black President, Barack Obama. In some Tennessee classrooms, a nonfiction comic book about the atrocities of the Holocaust is banned. And one school district in Wisconsin banned from libraries a picture book about a gay rights activist who was assassinated.

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