NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 53 min ago

In post-Teaching Fellows N.C., Wake County training its own future teachers

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 10:39
Today’s News & Observer offered an interesting report from T. Keung Hui on a fledgling Wake County initiative that provides training and contracts to college students planning on entering the teaching profession. In a post-Teaching Fellows North Carolina, some education advocates say this type of locally-geared effort is what’s left for addressing crippling teacher shortages. Policy Watch ...

Coal ash: The chorus exposing and opposing Duke Energy grows

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 08:10
Be sure to check out a couple of excellent new opinion pieces on Duke Energy’s coal ash mess in two of the state’s major dailies this morning. The first, which isn’t yet online for some reason, is letter from Amy Brown — a woman who lives near a Duke Coal Ash site in Belmont — ...

Remarks by Rep. Paul Luebke on the House budget

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 15:25
The full transcript of the remarks by Rep. Paul Luebke today during the House debate on the budget. (Watch his remarks beginning at the 16:30 mark.) My concern looking at this bill is that it’s not placed in the proper context. And the context is the needs of the state and decisions that have been ...

USDOL’s new overtime rule restores overtime protections to middle class workers

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 15:11
Yesterday the US Department of Labor published a long overdue update to the salary threshold for overtime exemption.  The simplified explanation of the new rule is this: if you are paid on a salary basis and make less than $47,476 per year or $913 per week your employer has to pay you overtime in addition ...

Affordable higher education should be a priority for North Carolina

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 14:38
As state support for higher education has eroded, North Carolina students and families have shouldered more and more of the cost of a post-secondary education. A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlights how years of reduced investment by North Carolina in higher education has helped drive up tuition at public ...

House budget, including modest teacher raises, advances to the state Senate

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 11:58
As expected, leaders in the N.C. House have overwhelmingly approved a $22.2 billion spending plan for the coming year that includes modest teacher pay raises for some. The House plan passed with some opposition from Democrats in the chamber, but as the N.C. Justice Center’s Tazra Mitchell points out, it comes with many missing progressive ...

More on Itzhak Perlman’s courageous and inspiring stand against “ugly and hostile” HB2

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:43
In case you missed it, WUNC radio reporter Anastasia Tsioulcas posted a fine story yesterday afternoon that includes an interview with world famous violinist Itzhak Perlman in which he sheds more light on his decision to cancel his planned concert last night in Raleigh in protest over HB2. This is from the story: “One of ...

Attacks on renewable energy continue in Raleigh

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 07:15
Reporter John Murawski of Raleigh’s News & Observer has another story this morning on the latest conservative attack on renewable energy in the General Assembly. Here’s the introduction: “Green energy advocates are aghast at the latest energy proposal in the state legislature to regulate wind farms and solar farms, a bill they say would turn North ...

The Obama administration just helped out 425,000 working North Carolinians

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 15:32
A statement from the Justice Center summarizes: In a huge win for workers, new federal overtime rule raises wages for 156,000 salaried North Carolinians New USDOL rules raises overtime threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, covers 425,000 workers The U.S. Department of Labor released long-awaited rules today that will allow 425,000 salaried workers in North Carolina ...

New report says high-poverty, racially-isolated schools on the rise nationwide

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 13:03
In March, we reported on the growing racial divisions in some of North Carolina’s largest school districts. It seems the problem is not limited to North Carolina. A new report from a federal government agency says racially-polarized, economically segregated schools are on the rise nationwide. As Education Week reported Tuesday, the percentage of schools primarily serving ...

Missed Opportunities: Investments that are MIA in the preliminary House budget

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 11:58
Deep tax cuts, the pursuit of additional costly tax cuts, and an arbitrary spending limit are preventing House leadership from proposing a bold, visionary state budget for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year, as I explained yesterday. Once accounting for these three limitations, there are few public dollars available for anything else after the House budget ...

The “genius” of the market: For-profit colleges are ripping off NC students, targeting African-Americans

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 10:26
In case you missed it, the good folks at the Center for Responsible Lending released a powerful new report recently highlighting the destructive impact that scammers in the for-profit college industry are inflicting on thousands of students they’re supposed to be helping. This is from a summary prepared by co-author Whitney Barkley: High costs, low ...

HB2 update: Still more cancellations and more details on the law’s disturbing reach

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 07:30
The toll taken by HB2 continues to grow and radiate destructively through North Carolinas’s already fragile economy. One of the world’s greatest musicians added his name to the list of people who could not in good conscience perform in our increasingly isolated and ostracized state yesterday. This is from the statement issued by violinist Itzhak ...

House budget proposal would reduce residency requirements for teachers in state’s virtual charters

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 16:00
Last week, we wrote about one key provision in the N.C. House budget proposal which would ease dropout requirements for virtual charter schools, online schools run by for-profit operators that have been besieged by withdrawals in their opening months this year. The special provision (which you can find on page 18 of the House education committee’s ...

House education budget, including modest raises for most teachers, getting a tepid reaction

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 14:55
Throughout the day, leaders in the House budget committee have been hammering out the details of their proposed $22.2 billion spending plan that, notably, includes a revised salary schedule directing raises toward some of the state’s more experienced teachers (see page 31 of these proposed committee substitutes here). The News & Observer‘s Colin Campbell offered a pretty thorough explanation ...

NC’s middle class shrinking faster than all but two states; metro areas tell the tale

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 13:47
State leaders and their apologists/enablers in the right-wing think tanks keep trying to spin the tale of a “Carolina Comeback,” but the data (along with the eyes and ears of anyone who will use them) tell a vastly different story. As the latest edition of Prosperity Watch from the Budget and Tax Center reports: The ...

Editorial: Guv needs to put clean water and public health first for families affected by coal ash chemicals

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 12:29
In case you missed it, this morning’s lead editorial in the Greensboro News & Record hits a home run with its take on the abysmal ongoing performance of the McCrory administration in protecting citizens from water polluted with coal ash chemicals — a take that echoes the conclusions in this morning’s edition of the Weekly ...

Follow the money: The House’s budget doubles down on tax cuts and leaves nearly $127.4 million on the table

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 09:51
The $22.225 billion budget proposal that the state House of Representatives released for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year reflects the limited aspirations for North Carolina that the House and Senate leadership have agreed on. Legislative leadership used a flawed formula to set a low budget target — even lower than the Governor’s $22.33 billion proposal ...

The truth about Pat McCrory and “dialogue”

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 08:09
If there’s been a most maddening aspect to the debate surrounding HB2 over the last two months, it has to be the repeated calls from Gov. Pat McCrory for “dialogue and discussion rather than protests.” It’s hard to know where to begin in responding to such an inane stance, but here are a few points ...

Statement on House Budget from Alexandra Sirota, Budget and Tax Center

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 20:45
When it comes to building prosperity in North Carolina, the House has sets its sights even lower than the Governor’s already limited budget. The House decision to use an arbitrary, flawed formula to determine spending won’t meet the needs of communities and families across the state. The phase-in over the next three years of another ...

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