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Updated: 55 min 19 sec ago

Nip and tuck: Leadership’s financing strategy for public education

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:13
This is part of a Back to School blog series that highlight various issues to be aware of as the 2014-15 school year kicks off. (See Part 1 and Part 2) This week, more than 1.5 million North Carolina’s students headed back to school to underfunded classrooms this week. For yet another school year, teachers ...

Still think we should be executing people? NC to free another wrongfully convicted person after 20 years

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:50
In case you missed it, North Carolina is about to release yet another person who spent two decades in state prison for crimes he did not commit — thus further highlighting the absurdity of the death penalty in the 21st Century. This is from a post on the N.C. Innocence Project blog: On Monday, a ...

Thousands petition Governor to stop defending North Carolina’s gay marriage ban

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:51
Equality NC, same-sex couples and families delivered over 10,600 petitions to the Raleigh and regional offices of Governor Pat McCrory this morning, urging him to stop defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban. “We are proud to deliver this important message alongside families from all across the state who are demanding Gov. McCrory not waste one ...

Editorial highlights the miracle of public education

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 08:33
There’s a great editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer this morning that ought to be mandatory reading for every critic of our public schools — especially the ones who want to de-fund them and turn their mission over to the the “genius of the free market.” The piece is entitled “Don’t take public education for ...

McCrory donor who worked on Medicaid reform announces DHHS resignation

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 15:51
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced this afternoon that an architect of a stalled Medicaid reform plan is leaving the state agency. Margaret “Mardy” Peal, 43, was hired in August 2013 by Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos despite having been out of the work force for more than a decade, ...

Plaintiffs respond to Tillis, Berger’s plea to Supreme Court to put school voucher program back on course

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 14:49
The battle over school vouchers in North Carolina is now before the state Supreme Court, thanks to an emergency motion filed late Monday by attorneys on behalf of Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate leader Phil Berger and parents to allow the taxpayer-funded vouchers, ruled unconstitutional by a Superior Court judge last week, to be disbursed to ...

More than three dozen NC teachers opt to start the new school year in Texas

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 13:51
This week the ABC-TV affiliate in Houston, Texas has profiled some of the North Carolina teachers who took the school district up on their offer of higher pay, if they agreed to relocate more than 1,000 miles away and teach in the the Lone Star state. Here’s an excerpt from the Eyewitness News story: ‘[Brittany] ...

What was missing from the weekend News & Observer story on casinos

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 13:04
If you subscribe to or frequently check out Raleigh’s News & Observer, you probably saw the featured Sunday story that looked at casino gambling in Cherokee as well as the coming expansions and the efforts to introduce more of the same in South Carolina under the banner of the Catawba tribe. It was a good ...

Back to school series – Returning to an economic growth model that works

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:07
Cross-posted on the Prosperity Watch platform. As North Carolina’s young people head back to school this week, it is their increased educational attainment that has the greatest potential to not only generate improved earnings and provide some protection against the worst employment outcomes their lifetime but also strengthen the state’s overall economic recovery and economy. ...

Lobbyist “rankings”: A grim annual ritual

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:20
The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research is a fine and venerable organization that has done many great services to the state. Moreover, its commitment to sober and thorough research in which the focus is on getting things right more than getting them fast is a welcome departure from the norm in today’s hyper-fast-paced ...

Could renewable energy soon be reaching a tipping point?

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 08:26
A giant Swiss investment  bank thinks so. As the good folks at Think Progress point out in this story, the bank, UBS, has issued a new report in which it concludes that Europe may soon be approaching the point at which “large-scale, centralized electricity generation from fossil fuels could be a thing of the past.” The ...

NC Court of Appeals rejects state’s emergency request to allow school voucher funds to flow

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 15:49
The N.C. Court of Appeals rejected an emergency request by the state’s Attorney General and parents to allow taxpayer-funded school vouchers, ruled unconstitutional by a Superior Court judge last week, to be disbursed to private schools while a higher court decides on the fate of the program. Last Thursday, state Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood found the ...

Back to school series – What is happening in our public schools?

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 15:02
For most North Carolina public school students, the bell chimed and they will start the school year. The students will return to school this academic year after a summer break where public education discussions seemed to dominate the legislative session, the courtroom and the news. Here of a few of questions that North Carolina public school ...

UPDATED: Common Core review commission still without appointees as deadline looms

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 13:38
***See update below*** An academic standards review commission tasked with reviewing the Common Core State Standards and deciding whether or not to recommend keeping them in place here in North Carolina must hold its first meeting no later than September 1—but legislative leaders have yet to announce appointments to that commission, and time is running ...

Four reasons 2013 tax plan likely main driver of revenue shortfall

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 13:32
It hasn’t taken long for the costly tax plan passed last year to replace grandiose promises with an unfortunate reality. State officials recently confirmed that the 2013 tax plan passed by state policymakers will cost at least $200 million more each year than initially projected, with a price tag of at least $5.3 billion over ...

McCrory says he will sign bill he believes is unconstitutional; seems to contradict previous approval of anti-choice legislation

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:52
In case you missed it over the weekend, Gov. Pat McCrory told an interviewer that he plans to sign the coal ash clean-up bill even though he believes that part of it is unconstitutional. This is from a story on WRAL.com: McCrory said the bill’s creation of an independent coal ash oversight commission, appointed by ...

Numerous editorials praise voucher decision

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 07:51
The Charlotte Observer: In striking down the state’s new school voucher law on Thursday, N.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood laid out a cogent, compelling constitutional case against the bad law. “Beyond a reasonable doubt…,” he said from the bench, “the Opportunity Scholarship program funds a system of private schools from taxpayer dollars as an ...

Is help on redistricting coming from the U.S. Supreme Court?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:20
As the case challenging North Carolina’s 2011 redistricting plan languishes in state Supreme Court, two similar cases out of Alabama that may bear directly on the legality of our state maps are set for argument in the U.S. Supreme Court this fall. In Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama, parties are challenging the legality of ...

Tracking the Cuts: Jackson County drains $500,000 out of savings for its public schools; Rowan-Salisbury lays off 46 employees

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:32
The Macon County News reports that Jackson County will have to dip into $500,000 of its general fund balance in order to pay for teacher positions, teacher pay raises and teacher assistants, thanks to a state budget that disinvests in public education for another year in a row. In addition to county support, Jackson County has taken ...

Parties fast-tracking appeal of voting rights decision

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:29
The League of Women Voters and other groups and individuals challenging the state’s new voting law in federal court today appealed a lower court ruling rendering the law effective for the November elections. They’ll ask the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite the matter with a view towards a quick ruling. “We will be seeking expedited review ...

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