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Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

Tipping their hands on same-sex marriage?

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 12:38
This morning, a majority of the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block same-sex marriages in Alabama pending the high court’s decision on the constitutionality of similar marriage bans in other states — making Alabama the 37th state in which such marriages are permitted. The court is scheduled to hear cases out of Michigan, ...

Teach for America now has a recruitment problem

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 11:40
Fewer college grads are flocking to Teach for America. The New York Times reported last week that the embattled teacher training program, to which the North Carolina General Assembly has chosen to funnel millions of taxpayer dollars at great expense of the soon-to-be-defunct yet highly praised N.C. Teaching Fellows program, saw a ten percent drop in ...

Rep. Stam admits he doesn’t understand Medicaid expansion that he opposes

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 09:30
Rep. Paul Stam was bellowing about the evils of expanding Medicaid on WRAL-TV’s On the Record this weekend. He claimed that every dollar the federal government spends on expansion is being borrowed from the Chinese, which a WRAL fact check story showed to be ridiculous. He also said that we don’t need to expand the ...

Senator Phil Berger: Taking hypocrisy to new levels

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 07:50
In case you missed it over the weekend, Charlotte Observer editorial page editor had a scathing and excellent essay taking Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger to task for his downright embarrassing hypocrisy on the issue of redistricting reform. As Batten points out, Berger was sponsored at least five reform bills over a period of eight ...

North Carolinians honor the legacy of Dean Smith

Sun, 02/08/2015 - 20:40
North Carolinians are remembering the life and legacy of former University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Dean Smith, who died Saturday evening in Chapel Hill at the age of 83.  A small sampling of those statements are listed below. For more on Smith as an advocate for social justice, click here. “Over the next ...

Reaction to A-F school grades: “you’re just grading poverty.”

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 16:03
Cabarrus County Schools’ Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Jason VanHeukelum, is not happy with the state’s new A-F school grading system. “More than 90 percent of our teachers met or exceeded growth targets in 2013—yet 20 percent of our schools received Ds,” said VanHeukelum in an interview with N.C. Policy Watch. “Those figures just don’t ...

Pew Report Highlights Importance of Evaluating Tax Code Spending for Economic Development

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 15:40
A report released this week by Pew Charitable Trust provides new insights into how states can regularly evaluate their use of economic development tax expenditures to ensure that the intended outcomes are being achieved and inform decisions about ongoing commitment of public dollars to those efforts. Just this week the Budget & Tax Center highlighted ...

Nearly 480,000 North Carolinians sign up for coverage through

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 14:46
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that 479,748 North Carolina consumers have selected a health insurance plan (or were automatically re-enrolled) through the website. With just a handful of days left in this year’s open enrollment period, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell visited Raleigh Friday to promote the affordability of marketplace ...

State dollars to teach creationism? Luncheon to explore whether State Supreme Court will give its approval

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 13:55
If it strikes you as odd and troubling that North Carolina has started bestowing “failing” grades on public schools even as it writes checks to unaccountable private schools which teach that humans and dinosaurs coexisted on the planet at the same time, you’re not alone. The idea of school vouchers remains enormously controversial in our ...

The REAL worker’s compensation fraud Gov. McCrory should be worried about

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 11:07
Employers reduce labor costs by misclassifying workers who should be on their payroll as employees, and instead calling them independent contractors. This employer payroll fraud was exhaustively documented by Mandy Locke and her team of reporters in the News & Observer’s series “Contract to Cheat” last fall. It costs the state millions of dollars in ...

Was this the most offensive part of the State of the State speech?

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 10:47
As we noted in this space yesterday morning, there were some things to like in Gov. Pat McCrory’s State of the State speech Wednesday evening. For the most part, the Governor sounded more like good ol’ Moderate Mayor Pat rather than the champion of reactionary change who signed some of the nation’s most extreme legislation ...

Why one A-F grade for a school makes about as much sense as one A-F grade for your child

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 07:23
Yesterday, North Carolina took the latest in an series of steps cooked up by conservative advocates and ideologues to demoralize and depopulate our public education system (what they call “government schools”) — the release of the  much ballyhooed A-F grades for individual schools. As we’ve quickly learned — surprise!! — schools with lots of poor ...

Tom Ross’ inbox the day he parted ways with UNC

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 16:00
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently requested and reviewed hundreds of emails that UNC President Tom Ross received Jan. 16, the day he was forced out of his job by the UNC Board of Governors. Ross, who had been the head of the UNC system since 2011, has said he hoped to stay on with ...

Virtual charter schools get go-ahead from NC education board

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 15:09
As expected, the State Board of Education gave its blessing Thursday to two virtual charter schools applying for a new pilot program set up by the state legislature. The new public schools will allow students to take their entire course loads remotely, and stand to send millions in public education dollars to two companies that ...

High poverty schools receive vast majority of state’s D and F grades

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 14:30
Of the nearly 30 percent of North Carolina’s schools receiving letter grades of D or F from the state, almost all of them are designated as high poverty schools with at least 50 percent of their students receiving free or reduced lunch. “The only thing these grades tell us is where our poor children go ...

DOT Secretary Tata might need to take command of his own tweets

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 13:59
As political observer Gary Pearce first pointed out on Twitter last night and again on Talking About Politics this morning, it was downright strange that North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata was tweeting out promotions of his new novel during Governor McCrory’s State of the State speech last night. I mean the speech did go on ...

ICYMI: The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart washes his hands of Senator Thom Tillis

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 10:27
North Carolina has landed on The Daily Show again – this time over handwashing. Click below to watch the segment from Wednesday’s show: The Daily ShowGet More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook,Daily Show Video Archive

Obamacare subsidies battle heading to the Supreme Court

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 10:15
In case you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out this article by NC Policy Watch’s Sharon McCloskey about North Carolina’s support for the provision of subsidies to low-income residents purchasing Obamacare. Last week, Attorney General Roy Cooper signed on to a brief, on behalf of North Carolina, supporting these subsidies for low-income enrollees on the federal exchange. ...

Taxpayers subsidizing a bad deal for students at for-profit post-secondary institutions

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 08:47
This year’s Super Bowl Sunday shed new light on the for-profit college industry after advocates took to twitter to share the latest disturbing facts about the industry’s practices. The Super Bowl was held in the University of Phoenix Stadium, which is named for the largest for-profit college in the country. The university agreed to pay ...

The good, the bad and the ugly of the Governor’s State of the State speech

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 07:00
Be sure to check out today’s Fitzsimon File for a more thorough reaction to last night’s State of the State speech. For now, however, here are few preliminary observations: The good: Pat McCrory can display a winning personality and there’s a reason he’s won a lot of elections. Even with all the mispronunciations and malapropisms, ...