Southern Education Desk

Kindergartner Emarie puts paint supplies away at Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina. The charter school promotes a hands-on, project-based curriculum.
Reema Khrais / WUNC

In North Carolina, students get their choice of charter schools, but those schools are increasingly divided by race. In this southern state, where some of the nation’s most noted school desegregation battles were waged, a recent Duke University study shows that many schools are either predominantly white or predominantly minority.

Lynn Hatter / WFSU

Florida has become one of the nation’s hot spots for school choice programs. While many ideas may have originated in other states, Florida has adopted them and created a massive alternative system.

WFSU-FM’s Lynn Hatter takes a look at the decades-long movement that is school choice in Florida as part of our series, Matters of Choice.

Students at ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy return to class after a morning "value summit."
Mallory Falk / WWNO

Across the country next week, schools, families and advocacy groups will host events to celebrate National School Choice Week. Most Southern states allow for some form of choice — magnet schools, vouchers for private schools, charter schools and more. How do these options affect learning, school demographics and student success?

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Voter ID Laws. Felon Rights. These topics aren’t foreign for teachers and students in Southern classrooms. But what happens when pressure to teach to the test prevents challenging conversations?

Sandra Knispel

In Mississippi, the Civil War still stirs emotions. It’s not so much that teachers disagree on how it should be taught, but that ongoing attempts by the University of Mississippi and several cities across the South to shed Confederate symbols have called up old ghosts. Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Sandra Knispel reports for the Southern Education Desk.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

What should school children be taught about Islam? In Southern states such as Florida and North Carolina, parents claim students are being “indoctrinated” with a sanitized version of the Muslim faith. One of the fiercest fights so far is going on right now in Tennessee, possibly revealing the playbook for future battles.

Usama Dakdok, a traveling speaker, addressed an overflow crowd of about 300 people recently at the Christian Life First Assembly of God in the small Middle Tennessee town of Sparta.

Dan Carsen

Teaching subjects that trigger strong emotions and political divides is challenging. In the South, many of those fault-lines -- racial, religious and otherwise -- are intimately tied to its history. This week the Southern Education Desk is exploring how teachers tackle tough topics.

Dan Carsen / WBHM

Across the South, college football is in full swing. But football is just one of dozens of NCAA sports. In any season, student-athletes are pushing themselves on the field and in class. They get scholarships and generate billions of dollars. But they also struggle with their studies on top of what's really a demanding, full-time job.

In Part One of the Southern Education Desk series "All In The Game," WBHM-Birmingham's Dan Carsen looks at tensions between sports and academics, through the eyes of the athletes themselves.

Paul Boger / Southern Education Desk

States across the US have increasingly been turning to charter schools in an effort to bolster struggling public school systems. Two of the most recent states to adopt the controversial form of education are Mississippi and Alabama. As part of the Southern Education Desk's series examining charter schools in the South, MPB's Paul Boger reports on how those states are adapting to the alternative form of public education. 

Andre Natta / Southern Education Desk

Florida has about 650 charter schools. They're part of school districts but are privately managed and largely free of many of the rules governing traditional public schools. But as enrollment in charters has increased, so has the financial cost.

WFSU's Lynn Hatter reports for the Southern Education Desk that Tennessee and Georgia are also struggling to find ways to support their charter schools.

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