HCC leaders talk vision

fr hccHaywood Community College is entering phase two of a process it started last spring when trustees decided it was time to clean up the college’s mission statement and come up with some focused goals for the future. 

Vouchers are just bad education policy

op frThe Smoky Mountain News published an excellent analysis of the controversy centered on the current legislation called the “Opportunity Scholarship Program” in the Jan. 29 issue (www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/12377). SMN Staff Writer Holly Kays presented this material in exemplary form. 

I was particularly struck by the quote that is attributed to Rep. Roger West, our elected official from Marble. He said, “I think anybody that wants to make a decision to go to a private school, they ought to be able to do it, and they ought to be able to recoup what the state allocates for each student.” This seems like a strange system of reasoning to come from a representative who has sworn to uphold the laws of North Carolina (based on our constitution). Since 1789 North Carolina has provided public education opportunities for all of her citizens. Few would claim that the system has been perfect. Few would claim that our elected officials have acted perfectly all of the time. This, unfortunately, is one of those times when a group of elected officials has used very poor judgment. This will entangle state/local agencies and organizations in a costly legal battle to overturn this bad legislation.

Plan for teacher raises a bone of contention

op frThe ramifications of one particularly disturbing directive passed in the last session of the General Assembly is unfolding right now in every county in North Carolina, and it promises to provide some spirited political drama that just about no one saw coming when it passed.

Legislative leaders decided they would provide meager pay raises of $2,000 over four years — yes, a whopping $500 a year — to 25 percent of teachers in each of the state’s school systems. The lawmakers decided it was best to leave it up to each school system to decide how to conjure up a fair formula to decide which teachers would get a raise and which wouldn’t.

Righting what’s wrong means making changes

op frWe are now — officially — barreling into the holidays. Thanksgiving is already a fading, drowsy memory of turkey carcasses and piles of dirty dishes. As we march onward toward Christmas and the new year, my mind always goes into the same pattern, one I can’t shake: I think of blessings and shortcomings, wondering why the things that aren’t right can’t be righted. 

And so a couple of recent articles about opportunity in this country and how those who come from wealth are more likely than ever in recent history to remain in the upper income brackets hit home. In order to change this, we need to do more for children, especially those who haven’t reached what we have traditionally deemed “school age.”

Coding for the rest of us

If the very thought of trying your hand at computer programming or writing software code is intimidating, Dr. Jonathan Wade has got an event for you.

There’s an app for that: If not, a growing number of students are learning to create one

coverImagine you’re a college student in the summer of 2010. One of your professors offers you a job. He has just acquired 30 of the newest android phones. Your assignment? Just fool around with them. See what they can do. Sweet.

That’s what happened to Chris Blades the summer before his senior year at Western Carolina University.  

SEE ALSO: At WCU, an app to keep students out of the rain
SEE ALSO: Student profiles
SEE ALSO: Coding for the rest of us

 

Community help needed to save education

op frI’ve heard all the speeches and read all the legislative fantasies, and I’m still not satisfied with what I’ve heard about the state of the schools. The stories don’t match.

One question I cannot get the answer to is this: is the figure used by the state legislature for school budget before or after the reversion monies? When did the reversions start? Why? 

Swain targets education, infrastructure and high tech with $2 million grant

Swain County residents have finally learned where exactly its $2 million in grants from the Golden LEAF Foundation will go — to schools, job training and infrastructure.

The face of the shutdown: Local childcare centers teetering as shutdown interrupts funding

coverAll Nicole Smith could do last week was try to keep the doors open.

Either the shutdown of the federal government would end, or North Carolina officials would tell her they don’t have the million of dollars necessary to cover childcare costs for needy infants and toddlers in the state, some of whom spend their days at her small center in Waynesville.

Raising the bar: Tougher curriculum + tougher testing = lower scores ahead

fr stateboardSchools are bracing for a precipitous drop in student test scores coming down the pike next month — the result of a new, more rigorous curriculum and testing standards implemented statewide last year.

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