North Carolina Teacher Project

Series produced by WUNC

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The North Carolina Teacher Project is a year-long look at the teaching profession, told through in-depth feature stories, comprehensive policy discussions on The State of Things, intimate conversations between students and teachers, and multimedia presentations.

The pressure on North Carolina’s 95,000 classroom teachers is mounting. Inside the classroom, teachers wrestle with an increase in child poverty, implementing the new Common Core curriculum, and diminishing resources. Outside the classroom, teacher salaries are stagnant, tenure is gone, and teacher assistants have been laid off.

While this may seem like a bleak picture, there is plenty of evidence that public education is not “broken.” High school graduation rates are at an all-time high, and national test scores have shown improvement. And most teachers remain optimistic. They find great joy in an ever-demanding profession and are deeply invested in seeing students succeed. Teachers often dig into their own pockets to buy a child breakfast, or purchase classroom supplies.

It is also true that the teaching profession is at a historic crossroads. The North Carolina Teacher Project will spend a year telling the stories of educators from across the state, covering related news as it breaks and investigating how the significant reforms put into place by the General Assembly in 2013 will impact the state’s 1.5 million students.

Along the way, we’ll ask the important questions often lost in discussions of policy and political battles, such as:
• What makes a good teacher?
• How do we reward the best teachers?
• How do we train, recruit, and retain effective educators?

The North Carolina Teacher Project will include dozens of in-depth radio stories, including investigative and enterprise features and series. Some of those already in the works are:
• The Past, Present and Future of Teaching
• Training Teachers: Where Will NC’s Educators Come From?
• Testing Teachers: Rewarding Our Best Educators

The Project will also include Story Corps-style reminiscences of students and their teachers and a video series featuring some of North Carolina’s most effective educators.

These reports are part of American Graduate - Let’s Make it Happen! - a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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The pressure on North Carolina’s 95,000 classroom teachers is mounting. Inside the classroom, teachers wrestle with an increase in child poverty, implementing the new Common Core curriculum, and diminishing resources. Outside the classroom, teacher salaries are stagnant, tenure is gone, and teacher assistants have been laid off. While this may seem like a bleak picture, there is plenty of evidence that public education is not “broken.” High school graduation rates are at an all-time high, and national test scores have shown improvement. And most teachers remain optimistic. They find great joy in an ever-demanding profession and are deeply invested in seeing students succeed. Teachers often dig into their own pockets to buy a child breakfast, or purchase classroom supplies. It is... Show full description


14 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: William Campbell on his first day integrating Raleigh City Schools. , Credit:  NC Museum of History
The profession of teaching has come a long way in North Carolina. From one-room schoolhouses, through segregation and integration, through economic...

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Dec 03, 2013
  • Length: 08:55
  • Purchases: 1
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2013 has been a historic year for public education in North Carolina. For one, the state achieved its highest ever high school graduation rate. Bu...

  • Added: Dec 03, 2013
  • Length: 07:42
Caption: Jim Potter, Credit: Dave DeWitt
When the North Carolina Legislature passed a comprehensive package of education reforms this past summer, teachers protested in the streets. Earlie...

  • Added: Dec 03, 2013
  • Length: 07:15
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Educators, reformers, and lawmakers all say the same thing: putting a talented, effective teacher in every classroom is a priority. Research shows ...

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Dec 13, 2013
  • Length: 04:04
  • Purchases: 1
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North Carolina teachers come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Many are trained in one of the state’s two-dozen or so university unde...

  • Added: Dec 13, 2013
  • Length: 03:51
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Teach For America core members make up less than one percent of North Carolina’s 95-thousand or so teachers. But the organization has filled a cruc...

  • Added: Dec 13, 2013
  • Length: 05:30
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Teach For America began as a Princeton student’s undergraduate thesis – to train high-achieving college students to teach for two years in classroo...

  • Added: Dec 13, 2013
  • Length: 04:12
Caption: The public hearing on the proposed teacher contracts did not draw a large crowd., Credit: Dave DeWitt
Teachers in North Carolina are fighting back against lawmakers who eliminated tenure and are replacing it with a merit-based pay system.

  • Added: Jan 23, 2014
  • Length: 03:42
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As part of the North Carolina teacher Project, Dave DeWitt takes a look at how we evaluate the state’s 95,000 public school teachers.

  • Added: Apr 10, 2014
  • Length: 06:56
Caption: The North Carolina Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force., Credit: Dave DeWitt
Dave DeWitt reports on North Carolina moving to a "value-added" stats model to evaluate and compensate teachers.

  • Added: Apr 10, 2014
  • Length: 06:38
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Dave DeWitt explores the many ideas floating around North Carolina on how to pay the best teachers more money.

Bought by WAMC


  • Added: Apr 10, 2014
  • Length: 06:45
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Teacher Julie Reeves and her daughter, Abby., Credit: Dave DeWitt
Dave DeWitt profiles a virtual teacher in North Carolina.

  • Added: Apr 10, 2014
  • Length: 04:33
Caption: Carice Sanchez, Credit: Dave DeWitt
Dave DeWitt profiles Eric and Carice Sanchez, co-directors of Henderson Collegiate, a charter school in North Carolina.

  • Added: Apr 10, 2014
  • Length: 04:06
Caption: A student outside a teacher protest at EK Powe Elementary School in Durham, NC. , Credit: Dave DeWitt
This is The Year of the Teacher, a documentary from North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC looking back at an extraordinary year in public education in...

  • Added: Aug 13, 2014
  • Length: 50:28