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Top 10 features of 2015

At EdNC we are wrapping up our first year with a look back at the articles our readers found most interesting. These are the articles you read the most, shared on social media, and emailed to friends and colleagues. They are the articles that got you talking about education in our state.

Over the next three days we will be featuring our most read news, perspectives, and featured stories from 2015.

Yesterday, we looked at the top-10 news items from the past year. Today, we review our top-10 most read featured stories.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Out you go?

“One bill filed this session would scrap the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education, and replace them with a Secretary of Education appointed by the governor.

‘You want one spokesman for the schools,’ Republican Sen. Jerry Tillman said. ‘Right now, you got the state elected School Superintendent, State Board trying to run it, you got the legislature trying to run it, you got the governor trying to run it with his advisor. You can’t run the schools like that.'”

Read the full article.

Consider it Mapped: School Report Cards

Emily Antoszyk/

“Earlier this year, the state of North Carolina changed the way that overall school performance is reported by assigning an A-through-F letter grade for every school across the state, and many school administrators, teachers, parents, and students were left with those same feelings of pride or frustration. For an example of both, look no further than this account from Durham. Eighty percent of the school performance score is based on school-wide achievement, which includes scores from several measures of student progress (like End-of-Grade, End-of-Course, and ACT test results) as well as graduation rates and measures of students’ readiness for work. The other 20 percent of the score is based on school-wide measures of growth, or the extent to which students in a school met or exceeded performance expectations for that year.”

Read the full article.


Ocracoke School: An education like no other

 Alex Granados/

“It’s a small school on a small island that is part of the second smallest local education agency in the state.

Ivey Belch, pastor at the Assembly of God Church on Ocracoke, attended the school when he was a student and now has three kids that are following in his footsteps.

He points out that the teachers on Ocracoke are high caliber. But many schools have high-caliber teachers. It’s the size of the school that makes all the difference.”

Read the full article.

Problems exist with principal salary structure in North Carolina

Alex Granados/

“This is just one issue facing principals in a time when education has become one of the hottest political topics in the state. Some principals and officials are also concerned about principal retention, and unintended consequences from last session’s teacher raise that could result in some teachers making more than their administrators.

According to the state salary schedules for 2014-15, McMillan, who has 15 years of combined experience as a teacher and principal, will have to wait until her 20th year for a raise.”

Read the full article.


Nation Hahn/

“Today, I work on the issues that we both cared about as we grew up, as we lived, as we loved. I work for those issues, because I believe that service is, as one writer said, ‘the rent we pay for living.’

I work on the issues that we both cared about because nothing is more important to the future of North Carolina than education, alleviating poverty, and addressing hunger throughout our state. This work is helping me understand that our issues have to be addressed across party lines, but also across all kinds of lines — urban and rural, rich and poor, old and young, all races and ethnicities.”

Read the full article.

Reimagining school lunch

Kaitlyn Goalen/

“Historically, chefs haven’t been the most obvious people to tap as experts when it comes to politics. But the reach of a chef has changed significantly in the last decade: restaurateurs and leaders of kitchens have become celebrities, moving beyond the kitchen to write books, star in TV shows, and pen op-eds. And regardless of how you feel about the proliferation of ‘rock star’ chefs, there is a positive outcome to this newfound attention: many of these chefs are using their soapboxes for good by picking a cause to champion and speaking out on behalf of food-related issues, from hunger to food safety.”

Read the full article.

The Hoke County Way: No excuses

Mebane Rash/

“An interesting thing has happened in Hoke County. While many school districts have implemented magnet programs, year-round schools, and other choices that allow different schools to offer fit to different students and families, the Hoke County Schools have moved to equalize the offerings at each school so they can sell every school as a great school. In fact, they want to make sure that every opportunity available to a student at their early college, SandHoke, is available to each student in the district. So, next year, with a cohort of 9th graders, they will pilot a program that allows students to pursue an associate’s degree in a traditional high school.”

Read the full article.

A president enters N.C. school debate

Ferrel Guillory/

“In this era of partisan polarization, it’s highly unlikely that the super-Republican majority in the General Assembly would change course in response to ‘editorializing’’ from the Democratic president in the second half of his second term.

Still, the president’s and the governor’s remarks signal how much education policy stands at the center of political debate in this state, as it should, and how much North Carolina’s reputation revolves around the quality of its schools, colleges and universities.”

Read the full article.

Clay County centrally locates its schools on one campus to ground the community: Ag program takes root

Mebane Rash/

Rachel Roberts does not plan to be a teacher forever. Maybe that is why her energy now seems boundless. We use her planning period to go and do and see and talk.

This is Robert’s first year teaching in the Clay County Schools. She previously taught at a charter school in Cherokee. There she received a grant from the local Farm Bureau. One thing led to another.

She is teaching 7th and 8th grade agriculture, which she notes can’t be taught well without including biology, chemistry, physical science, and her list went on and on. She is teaching the Ag Science class that I attended and also Ag Production

Read the full article.

Why families choose homeschooling

Kristen Blair/

“What about the kids? Several parents said children had lobbied them to homeschool. Some siblings wanted in, too: Fisher, whose youngest attended a charter school while his brothers homeschooled, says he asked, ‘If it’s so great, why can’t I do it, too?’ He is home now. Hawkes’ older daughter told her recently, ‘I hear people asking you all the time how long we’re going to do this and you tell them you don’t know. I would like you to know that I think we have a good arrangement and there’s no reason to change it.’

In the end, families grow and reasons shift, say the Forests. But the importance of empowering parents with educational options remains. ‘I’m always clear to say homeschooling is not for everybody,’ says Lt. Governor Forest. ‘We’re big proponents of choice for parents. Let parents and students be able to choose that path.'”

Read the full article.

Tomorrow we will reveal our top-10 perspective articles for 2015.


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.