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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Passage of HB 13 Would Lower Wake Schools’ Funding Request by $12 Million

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 9:43 PM

Wake County schools’ request for local dollars in the 2017–18 school year will shrink to $45.4 million from $56.6 million if the General Assembly passes the class-size bill called HB 13. That was the word from Superintendent Jim Merrill to Wake County Board of Education members at a work session Tuesday. The bill, which was amended Monday night to loosen a state mandate to shrink class sizes in the school year that starts in July, passed the Senate Tuesday and will return to the House. Although HB 13 now offers Wake schools a significant breather, many pieces of the budget...

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Monday, April 24, 2017

HB 13, Bill That Addresses Class Sizes, Moves Forward

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 9:05 PM

In a response of sorts to concern about possible repercussions of state-mandated K–3 class-size reductions, a Senate committee on Monday night rapidly moved forward a modified bill designed to phase in smaller classes. The bill, an altered version of HB 13, gives systems more flexibility in reducing classroom size and paying specialties teachers in the school year that begins in July. In presenting the bill, Senator Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, said that the General Assembly will create an additional allotment for music, art, and physical ed teachers in the 2018–19 school year, after the state Department of Public Instruction satisfies legislators that money sent to districts is being...

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Guy Who Thinks Blacks Are Intellectually Inferior Is Speaking At Duke Tonight, Who's Coming With Us?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 1:56 PM

Social scientist Charles Murray, a man classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist, will speak at Duke University tonight. According to The Chronicle, Murray is expected to speak about his 2012 book Coming Apart: The State of White America, in an event cosponsored by the Duke College Republicans and the Duke contingent of the American Enterprise Institute, where Murray is the W. H. Brady Scholar. The discussion begins at six p.m. at the Doris Duke Center, 420 Anderson Street.  The "secure location" was chosen after protests erupted during an appearance by Murray earlier this month at Vermont's Middlebury...

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Racially Charged Incident Videotaped in Wake School

Posted By on Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 6:05 PM

Two incidents of racial violence that have unfolded in a single week in Wake County Public Schools—both videotaped and widely circulated on social media and one including a chant of “KKK!”—have administrators seeking ways to stop such incidents from occurring in the system. But whatever next steps Wake County officials undertake will come in addition to the current practice of cautioning students in their code of conduct and elsewhere against racist conduct and bullying. (Students already receive training that forbids the use of the racially derogatory language heard in a video made by Leesville Road Middle School students and another shot at Wake Forest High...

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wake County Residents: Make Schools Safe Zones for Undocumented Children

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 8:31 AM

Several people spoke out Tuesday to urge members of the Wake County Board of Education to make every county school a safe zone for undocumented children. But Martha Hernandez's remarks seemed to hit the hardest. Hernandez, whose daughter, Alejandra, attends Centennial Middle School, spoke in Spanish, her words repeated in English by Angela Mills, an interpreter provided by the school system. Hernandez told the board she appeared not only as a mother of her child, but as a resident who's concerned about all children. "I would like you to understand that children cannot focus on their education and their future when...

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Activists Urge Wake Schools to Become Safe Zones for Undocumented Students

Posted By on Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 5:26 PM

A far-reaching coalition of activists will urge Wake County school board members at a Tuesday meeting to make each of its schools a “safe zone” for undocumented students. Board members received notification in a Friday email from than two-dozen social justice and immigration rights groups including El Pueblo, Great Schools in Wake, and the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children. School board member Jim Martin said Friday that he was aware of the fear many undocumented families are experiencing but added that the protections the coalition requests are covered under school board policy, federal guidelines, and Supreme Court...

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Protest Planned for Tonight at Duke

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 10:45 AM

More than three hundred people have, via Facebook, expressed interest in attending a "No Wall, No Ban" rally on the steps of the iconic Duke Chapel this evening—the latest in a series of gatherings that have unfolded locally in response to President Donald Trump's rhetoric and executive orders. Here are all the details, in case you'd like to be there: Organizers of the event say it is part of "Resist Trump Tuesday," which, frankly, has a nice ring to it. Here is a description, in the group's own words: See you there....

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

UNC Students Walk Out in Inauguration Protest

Posted By on Sat, Jan 21, 2017 at 10:58 AM

Yesterday, Donald Trump placed his (tiny) hand on the Bible and became the forty-fifth president of the United States. It was a celebratory moment for the historically small crowd that gathered to see it, an ominous and foreboding day for just about everyone else. Trump painted a bleak picture of the United States in his inaugural address, at one point vowing to put an end to "American carnage." Not long after the inauguration, clashes between protesters and police broke out in downtown D.C. Windows were smashed; tear gas dispatched. By six p.m., more than two hundred people had been...

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Friday, December 9, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Godspeed, John Glenn

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s cold out there, so pour yourself a cup of Joe and join us for your morning primer. 1. John Glenn, American hero, RIP. The first man to orbit the Earth—not to mentioned a Marine Corps combat vet, U.S. senator from Ohio, and 1984 presidential candidate—died yesterday at the age of ninety-five. From The New York Times obit, which is worth reading in its entirety: In just five hours on Feb. 20, 1962, Mr. Glenn joined a select roster of Americans whose feats have seized the country’s imagination and come to embody a moment in its history, figures...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who Wants to be the Next Durham School Board Member? One of These Eleven People

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 10:45 AM

With the resignation of Sendolo Diaminah in August the Durham Public Schools Board of Education must fill a vacant position, and there's no lack of interest with thirteen applicants vying for the spots. However, two of the applicants—Florida DeVaul Dudley an Shonda Wilson—were removed from consideration because they do no live within District 2.  Diaminah resigned after his attendance at meetings was called into question (he'd reportedly missed at least nine out of sixteen meetings). Now, the board is charged with appointing someone by October 24—sixty days after Diaminah resigned.  The eleven candidates include two familiar faces—Frederick Davis, who Diaminah was...

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Margaret Spellings Installs AEI Conservative as UNC Senior Vice President

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 7:49 AM

So it begins: Yesterday, new UNC president Margaret Spellings announced the appointment of Andrew Kelly to a newly created position called "senior vice president for strategy and policy." The school will pay him $245,000 a year.  A UNC release notes that Kelly was a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute from 2002-2005, and returned to AEI in 2009 as a research fellow in education policy studies. He is also the founder and director of AEI's Center on Higher Education Reform.   The American Enterprise Institute: Why does that ring a bell? Oh, right: It's a big, conservative think tank...

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Friday, April 29, 2016

The Morning Roundup: McCrory Can’t Believe We’re Talking About This

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 8:16 AM

Beleaguered by the still-mounting HB 2 backlash, Governor McCrory sought out some friendlier quarters, this time Fox News’s The Kelly File. As has become Republican practice, host Megyn Kelly didn’t talk about all the controversial things HB 2 did—eliminating workplace discrimination lawsuits, overriding living wage ordinances, etc.—instead choosing to focus on the only issue they think matters (and have not-terrible polling on): which bathroom transgender people decide to use.  Kelly pressed McCrory several times on the rhetoric surrounding HB2. "What is the fear about the transgender situation in the bathrooms?" she asked. "Mine is not a fear," McCrory responded....

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Plea to Prioritize Sustainability in Durham Schools—from One of Its Students

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 5:11 PM

Senith Berhane, an eleventh-grade student at Riverside High School, in Durham, says she became interested in environmental issues after viewing An Inconvenient Truth a few years ago. “I legitimately could not sleep at night,” Berhane tells the INDY. “I realized, around the world and within my community, how rapid and extensive climate change was negatively impacting the environment. And I knew I needed to be a part of the change.” Riverside’s engineering department coordinator told Berhane about the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), an organization that educates youth about climate change and gives them opportunities to take action to slow it....

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Charlie Rose To Receive Honorary Degree from Duke

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 2:33 PM

Charlie Rose, whose Henderson, North Carolina, accent is perceptible every evening on his eponymous PBS interview program (or pro-gruhm, as Rose says), will receive an honorary degree from Duke University this May, the school announced today. "As we celebrate the achievements of our graduates, Duke also has a tradition of conferring a small number of honorary degrees at commencement," Duke president Richard Brodhead says in a release. "These degrees honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions in diverse fields. We lift them up as inspiring examples of how today’s graduates might use their talent and education to make their own...

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Duke Adjuncts Take Union Fight to Durham City Council

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 3:06 PM

Contingent faculty at Duke — that is, adjunct and non-tenure-track instructors — have been organizing in support of a union since last year. In January, their cause won the support of the Durham People's Alliance, the influential local political group. Today, they brought their arguments to the Durham City Council in the form of a proposed resolution.  Councilwoman Jillian Johnson opened this afternoon's council work session by reading aloud the proposal, which ticked off facts about the university: 35,000 employees, 3,300 faculty members, $8 million in property taxes exempted in the most recent tax year. It noted that Duke (and,...

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Interesting morning in Chapel Hill! Four arrested in protest of Margaret Spellings

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:52 AM

Margaret Spellings doesn't even start as UNC system president until March, but calls for her head continue apace.  Why all the Spellings hate?  "Faculty are dissatisfied with the current state at UNC and have no confidence that Spellings will move the system in the right direction,” says Zach Robinson, a faculty member at East Carolina University and a member of the Faculty Forward Network. “Her past actions have shown that she does not have the leadership to lead a world class public system facing a diverse student body, decreased funding and skyrocketing tuition." Spellings' past actions include serving as secretary of...

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

North Carolina charter school lifts club suspension after LGBTQ group complaints

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 11:33 AM

A western North Carolina charter school has lifted its temporary ban on clubs after some parents called for it to bar an LGBTQ support group last month.  Leaders at the Lake Lure Classical Academy, a K-12 school in Rutherford County, responded to a strong warning letter from the ACLU of N.C. by voting Monday night to resume student-led clubs, although a new policy will require parental consent for children to join clubs at the K-8 level.  The academy was heeding the complaints of some parents when they temporarily suspended clubs last month.  But as the ACLU and the Indy...

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Monday, November 30, 2015

North Carolina charter school, following complaints over LGBTQ club, to consider school club policy today

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:29 PM

It should be noted anti-LGBTQ activists have tried this before. It doesn't work. A group of parents who fear the consequences of allowing gay-friendly clubs in their schools have called on the leaders of a western North Carolina charter school, Lake Lure Classical Academy, to shut down a support club for LGBTQ students.  This month, following complaints from some in the Rutherford County town of Lake Lure, leaders at the public charter temporarily suspended all clubs while they considered their options, The Daily Courier in nearby Forest City reported. Today, members of the school's board of directors will hold...

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Monday, September 21, 2015

With the election looming, Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town shuns incumbents in its endorsements

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 4:06 PM

No big surprises today, as the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, better known as CHALT, announced its formal endorsements in the town's races this fall.  The grassroots group, which has hinged its platform on criticism of the Town Council and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, endorsed a spate of challengers for the November election, shunning incumbents altogether.  The organization chose Pam Hemminger, a former county commissioner and school board member, in the race for mayor. Hemminger is running against Kleinschmidt and challenger Gary Kahn, who the Indy profiled this month, for the mayor's seat. CHALT has focused its outreach on...

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Friday, July 10, 2015

National LGBT group to release report on states' anti-bullying policies

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 12:39 PM

Creative Commons LicenseThis probably won't be kind to North Carolina. The national nonprofit, Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), is expected to release a report Wednesday that will review the anti-bullying policies of more than 13,000 school districts across the country, including districts in North Carolina. The report, "From Statehouse to Schoolhouse: Anti-Bullying Policy Efforts in U.S. States and School Districts," will examine whether states' anti-bullying rules are implemented at the local level, and whether educators are being trained to handle the issue in the classroom. The study will also determine whether the efforts are having an impact on...

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Carrboro's PACE Academy to protest state's decision to revoke charter

Posted By on Fri, Jul 3, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Creative Commons LicenseParents, staff and students at a troubled Carrboro charter school say they plan next week to protest the N.C. State Board of Education's decision to revoke its charter. In a statement Friday, school leaders at PACE Academy said the state board is "relying on faulty and unreliable reports" from its finance officers in recommending closure for the school this year, which has been battling to stave off charter revocation since 2013. Parents, staff, parents and community leaders will assemble to protest in front of the State Board of Education building—located at 301 N. Wilmington St. in Raleigh—at 10...

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chapel Hill library to hold public forum on gay children's book

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 11:33 AM

Photo by Alex BoernerFormer Orange County teacher Omar Currie resigned last month after reading a gay children's book in class.While Orange County Schools squirmed over third-grade teacher Omar Currie's reading of the gay children's book "King & King," the Chapel Hill Public Library saw a spike in the number of checkouts and holds placed on the controversial Dutch fable. Fittingly, library leaders say, they will hold a public forum on the book next week, part of a new event called "Between the Lines," in which local leaders and residents gather at the library to discuss hot topics in the news....

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tonight's review of gay children's book in Orange County Schools canceled

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 12:49 PM

Tonight's Orange County Schools review of the gay children's book "King & King" has been canceled after parents withdrew their district appeals complaining about the book. The parents' decision comes three days after third-grade teacher Omar Currie, who read the book in his classroom at Efland-Cheeks Elementary in late April, stepped down, along with the assistant principal, Meg Goodhand, who loaned him the book. Orange County Schools officials said the review of the book is now concluded. A committee at the school level has already voted twice to allow the book in the school, following three separate complaints from...

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Teacher, assistant principal at Orange County school step down over gay fairy tale controversy

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 2:54 PM

Photo by Alex BoernerEfland-Cheeks Elementary third-grade teacher Omar Currie has resigned.A teacher and an assistant principal at Orange County's Efland-Cheeks Elementary have stepped down following the backlash over the teacher's reading of a gay children's book in the classroom. Third-grade teacher Omar Currie and Assistant Principal Meg Goodhand confirmed their resignation to the Indy Monday. Currie sparked an uproar this spring when he read the book, "King & King," to his class following a bullying incident. The book, which was given to Currie by Goodhand, tells the story of a fictional prince who defies the pressure to marry a princess...

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Updated: State votes to revoke charter for Raleigh's Dynamic Community school

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 2:04 PM

Creative Commons LicenseCiting an "erosion of trust" and "numerous concerns," including concerns for children's safety, the N.C. State Board of Education unanimously voted Thursday to revoke the charter of Dynamic Community Charter, a Wake County school that serves only children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The state board followed the recommendation of a smaller panel of board representatives who heard Dynamic's appeal to remain open. Board members initially voted to begin the revocation process in March, pointing to the school's financial troubles, academic irregularities and improper teacher certification. On Thursday, state staff said they appeared close to resolution with the...

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