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New report: Hard facts about NC teacher pay, who’s really underpaid and what we need to do

Wed, 10/19/2016 - 14:04

Be sure to check out the latest installment in the NC Justice Center’s special “How to build an economy that works for all” series. Today’s special report is entitled “Attract–and keep–high quality teachers in the classroom with competitive pay.” Among other things, the report explains why North Carolina teacher salaries are “extremely un-competitive” — especially ...

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Fast-growing numbers show that Asian Americans will be a key swing vote in NC

Wed, 10/19/2016 - 09:53

The good people at North Carolina Asian Americans Together and a collection of good government groups have released a new report on the growing role that Asian Americans will play in the election here in North Carolina. Here’s the release that accompanied it: New report highlights how Asian Americans, the fastest growing racial demographic in ...

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Coal ash on the water and trees: “The area looks like a winter wonderland”

Wed, 10/19/2016 - 08:00

For the past week Matthew Starr, the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper, has been surveilling the water near Duke Energy’s H.F. Lee facility, assessing flood damage from the hurricane. First, he noticed that the river waters, he told NCPW last week, “were chewing away at the [coal ash] dam.” Now the riverkeepers and Waterkeeper Alliance — the same ...

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WATCH: McCrory, Cooper spar over abortion restrictions in final debate

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 22:57

Hurricane relief, the Carolina Comeback, HB2 and coal ash were just some of the topics the three men vying to be North Carolina’s governor covered in their final debate. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory found himself having to revisit a 2012 debate answer, in which he vowed that he would not enact any additional restrictions on ...

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For many low-income North Carolinians, Matthew’s damage is deeper than broken buildings

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 16:02

As the state begins recovery efforts following hurricane Matthew, we begin to see unexpected damages. These damages are beyond the ruin of physical structures. These damages are not the effects of harsh winds and high waters. Instead, they are the years old damages of persistent poverty, underinvestment, and systemic neglect. But what does poverty have ...

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North Carolina lawmakers ponder later start times for middle and high school students

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 15:15

Later start times for middle and high school students may improve grades, truancy and attendance, particularly for low-income students, a pair of UNC researchers told members of a key North Carolina legislative panel Tuesday. Tuesday’s presentation to the House Select Committee on Education Strategy & Practices factored in a growing library of evidence nationally that shifting ...

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Why mass deportation would cause a $10.6 billion loss for NC industries (graph)

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 14:20

In case you missed it, the Budget and Tax Center is out with a powerful new installment in its Prosperity Watch series — this one on the massive beneficial impact of immigrants to the North Carolina economy and what it would mean if we embarked upon the kind of mass deportation policies advanced by some ...

The post Why mass deportation would cause a $10.6 billion loss for NC industries (graph) appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

Small bit of hurricane good news: 2007 law facilitates easier prescription drug refills for those impacted

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 09:35

As almost everyone is aware by now, Hurricane Matthew has triggered disastrous flooding throughout much of North Carolina. With the waters not expected to completely recede until at least October 26 and with an estimated $1.5 billion in damages to homes, businesses, and infrastructure, many counties are facing a long road to recovery. Further, there ...

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John McCain: Republicans will block any Clinton Supreme Court nominee

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 07:14

Just when you thought the gridlock in Washington couldn’t get any worse, a supposedly moderate “maverick” has indicated it will. Ian Millhiser at Think Progress reports: “Almost immediately after news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death broke, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proclaimed that ‘this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new ...

The post John McCain: Republicans will block any Clinton Supreme Court nominee appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

How lawmakers undermined Durham’s plan to get people out of their cars

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 16:15

The next time you’re stuck in traffic on I-40 between Raleigh and Durham, you can blame, at least in part, the state legislature. (If you’re driving alone in a car, you also have to blame yourself.) Even 16 years ago, Durham County government could read the tea leaves that forecast a traffic daymare on the main drag between the two ...

The post How lawmakers undermined Durham’s plan to get people out of their cars appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

State report on controversial virtual charter schools due in the coming days

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 15:21

A state report on the first year of operations for North Carolina’s controversial virtual charter schools is likely to wrap in a matter of days, according to a top state consultant. Deanna Townsend-Smith, a consultant for N.C.’s Office of Charter Schools, told Policy Watch that she expects the report will, at the latest, be ready for ...

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What headlines are missing about Blue Cross’ premiums in 2017

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 12:35

Premium tax credits will lower sticker prices for most North Carolinians Late last week, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that its requested Marketplace premium increases had been approved. The plans it will sell on the Marketplace in 2017 will see an average increase of 24.3% in premiums. However, media headlines like this one ...

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Five fast facts about the Wake County Transit Referendum

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 12:11

With early voting beginning this week, Wake County voters will have a chance to decide on a $2.3 Billion transit plan to relieve congestion and dramatically improve public transportation over the next decade. Here are five fast facts about the initiative from the good folks at Moving Wake County Forward: #1 – Wake County grows ...

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Another important gay rights case that could set the table for ending discrimination in employment

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 08:54

Here’s a bit of hopeful news to start your week: A federal appeals court in Chicago appears poised to extend a federal bar on employment discrimination to LGBTQ Americans. Ian Millhiser of Think Progress reports in “The most important gay rights case since marriage equality was won”: Americans enjoy a fundamental right to marry, regardless of ...

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Last Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 05:00

1. McCrory administration asks schools to submit plans for $173 million budget cut: Request comes despite large state surplus and big unmet education needs After years of complaints of paltry spending on public education in North Carolina, public school leaders say they may soon be facing another round of devastating cuts. School officials say a ...

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A sobering look at health – and health care – in North Carolina

Fri, 10/14/2016 - 15:58

As part of the News & Observer & Charlotte Observer’s look at how the state is doing heading toward the Nov. 8 election, the papers are doing great work looking at health issues in the state. From today’s piece on the thousands of North Carolinians who lack health insurance:   North Carolina is below the ...

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This Week in Pollution: coal ash, wastewater, dead animals

Fri, 10/14/2016 - 15:06

Reason No. 42,098 not to enter flooded areas: The historic high water that has inundated eastern North Carolina is a toxic vichysoisse of sewage, animal waste, coal ash and carcasses from the thousands of industrialized farms — all of which threaten the health of people living in that area. The state agriculture department estimates that at least 2 million dead ...

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NC Democratic Party suing State Board of Elections to extend voter registration deadline

Fri, 10/14/2016 - 14:31

The North Carolina Democratic Party filed a lawsuit today against the State Board of Elections to extend voter registration by five days. The deadline for residents to register is at 5 p.m., but many counties are experiencing significant flooding in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. The suit, which also names Kim Strach, Board of Elections executive ...

The post NC Democratic Party suing State Board of Elections to extend voter registration deadline appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

Roy Williams’ inspiring stance on the National Anthem controversy

Fri, 10/14/2016 - 11:58

In case you missed it in all the hubbub this week (or just never received your newspaper, as has happened to a lot of folks), one of the most encouraging North Carolina political stories emanated from the world of sports. As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported Wednesday, UNC basketball coach Roy Williams has had some ...

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Editorial: Extend voter registration deadlines in aftermath of deadly storm

Fri, 10/14/2016 - 07:31

With Hurricane Matthew’s flood waters not yet receded, it’s pretty obvious that a lot of people in our state are not in a position right now to get the details of their lives fully in order. This would clearly include registering to vote. While the recent action of the federal Court of Appeals striking down ...

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