Back to school with new budget, but fewer teachers: 2021 in education in North Carolina
In 2021, WUNC reporters covered stories like the release of a COVID-19 vaccine, the emergence of two variants, and the end of the country’s longest war, to name a few.
As the year draws to a close, WUNC reporters review some of their beats’ biggest stories in 2021. WUNC education reporter Liz Schlemmer looks back on the year in classrooms from North Carolina:
On Kindergarten to Grade 12 students returning to school in person:
â2020 and 2021 are so falling out together that I had to go back and realize, oh, yeah, it was just last year that students were going back to schoolâ¦ So for students all over the state who could have returned to school in person for the first time, they hadn’t been in a traditional school setting for about two years, so they lost critical time on socialization and just class time … Meanwhile, K-12 schools have had significant vacancies, especially in high-need areas like math and special education, for support staff like bus drivers and cafeteria workers. .
On how a national racial calculation plays out in North Carolina schools:
âWe have seen new initiatives like renaming buildings on college campuses for the underrepresentedâ¦ There has been a new national fight against critical race theory in schools, and in North Carolina in particular. on the new Kindergarten to Grade 12 social studies curriculum. Schools. The heart of it all is how schools teach children about race and racism in American history. The General Assembly passed the governor-vetoed anti-critical racial theory bill, but it was certainly an important topic of discussion for an And in higher education, one of the biggest local stories. of this year has been UNC-Chapel Hill’s handling of the planned hiring of journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and her struggle for tenure, and the local response from students and faculty who felt she failed Not having a typical tenure process was indicative of systemic racism in higher education and at UNC. She was eventually established, but was delayed and she decided to go to Howard University – an HBCU – instead. “
On the North Carolina legislature passing the state’s first budget in more than three years:
âSome of the education officials and education advocates told me they were relieved. I mean, a lot of people certainly weren’t sure a budget was ever going to passâ¦ This funding was really crucial. Primary and higher education is a huge part of our state budget. These areas have not received any new one-time funding in all this time, so they are not in a position to start new major ones. projects or there is no room to develop anything. So this budget includes funding for all states employed to get increases, including those in education and universities. There is a lot of funding federal COVID relief and there is funding for big and new initiatives. So we’ll be reporting on everything in the budget and how it’s going in the real world on the ground throughout next year. The budget was a s We have been waiting for it for so long, so now we can see what this is really going to mean for people. “