Seminar Agenda: Chapel Hill, NC
Jan. 12, 2015 – UNC–Chapel Hill

Seminar Program
(Presentation slides are linked to the presenter’s name)

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Welcome & Introductions

  • Caroline Hendrie, EWA
  • Susan King, UNC School of Journalism & Mass Communications
  • Bill McDiarmid, UNC School of Education

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Taking Political Stock of the Common Core

It’s no secret that the standards and forthcoming tests have drawn increasingly strong criticism over the past year. Why has the Common Core become so controversial, especially in the South? What do the midterm election results mean for implementation and state support? And what happens in states that have called for a review or even rescinded the standards?

  • Beverly Perdue, former North Carolina governor
  • Dan Forest, N.C. lieutenant governor
  • John Legg, Florida state senator
  • Michael McShane, American Enterprise Institute
  • Erik Robelen, EWA (moderator) 

10:00 – 10:20 a.m.
Common Core in the Southern Political Context

How are policymakers and politicians confronting the pushback against the new standards? And what are the potential implications for their support – or opposition – in the next election cycle?

  • Ferrell Guillory, UNC School of Journalism & Mass Communications
  • Jane Stancill, Raleigh News & Observer (moderator) 

10:20 – 10:30 a.m.

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Making Sense of the Evolving Assessment Landscape

This school year marks the first time that most states will test students on the Common Core. At the same time, many states have backed away from their plans to use shared assessments and are choosing their own tests. Where do the states stand? How different will their new exams be from prior tests? And what are key questions reporters should keep in mind as they cover the first round of test results?

  • Gregory Cizek, UNC School of Education
  • Scott Norton, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Jeffrey Solochek, Tampa Bay Times (moderator) 

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Surveys: What Educators and the Public Are Saying About Common Core

Lots of recent surveys have sought to gauge support by educators and the public for the standards and testing. Learn what the sometimes conflicting results reveal. And find out where district-level implementation of the Common Core stands, based on extensive national polling of school district officials.

12:15 – 1:00 p.m.

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Common Core in Action

Educators talk about their on-the-ground experiences with the Common Core standards and the impact on students of applying them in the classroom.

  • Stefanie Buckner, Buncombe County (N.C.) school district
  • Sandy Chambers, Wake County (N.C.) school district
  • Vicki Kirk, Greene County (Tenn.) school district
  • Liana Heitin, Education Week (moderator)

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
How They Did It: Journalists Share Their Stories

National news outlets are diving deeply into the Common Core. Learn more about their strategies for bringing the rollout of the standards to life, from covering debates over textbooks to the special challenges for rural school districts and how to creatively cover the math Common Core.

  • Liana Heitin, Education Week
  • Jackie Mader, The Hechinger Report
  • Cory Turner, NPR Education
  • Denise Smith Amos, Florida Times-Union (moderator)

3:00 – 3:15 p.m.

3:15 – 4:00 p.m.
Scenarios for Covering Standards and Testing

Reporters team up in small groups to strategize on the most effective ways to cover a set of news developments related to the Common Core standards and assessments.

  • Emily Richmond, EWA

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Your Turn: Brainstorming Story Ideas

EWA leads an interactive session in which participants work together to develop a list of compelling and consequential stories on standards and testing to produce for their audiences in the months to come.

  • Caroline Hendrie, EWA

Seminar hosted by UNC School of Education and UNC School of Journalism & Mass Communications.