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Updated: 2 hours 27 min ago

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, ...

Statement on Governor McCrory’s State of the State Address

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 20:58
Governor McCrory’s talk about efficiencies, investments and customer service is likely to fall on deaf ears throughout North Carolina. The evidence is clear at this point that we can no longer “do more with less.” We are doing less with less. And we are not seeing our economy strengthen or well-being improve for most North Carolinians. Job growth is ...

McCrory: North Carolina can be a “teaching destination” (video)

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 20:34
Governor Pat McCrory laid out his vision Wednesday night for building a stronger North Carolina. During his State of the State address, McCrory praised James Ford, North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year for 2014, and pledged that his administration was committed to building an education system that will make North Carolina “a teaching destination, not ...

State Superintendent: Parents need to “go beyond” A-F school report cards (video)

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 16:16
North Carolina educators, lawmakers, and parents are anxiously awaiting the Department of Public Instruction’s Thursday release of  A-though-F report cards, grading each public school in the state. Proponents say the new measure will increase accountability and paint an accurate picture for parents. But it’s worth noting 80-percent of a school’s grade will be based on ...

Unemployment rates still high in many North Carolina counties

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 15:42
While it is positive news that fewer North Carolinians were unemployed in 2014 than in 2013, the reality is that we are still far from pre-recession employment rates. As the Budget and Tax Center pointed out a in a release today: Despite the decline in metro area unemployment year over year, there were still more ...

McCrory: “Marketability” of skills should be factor in teacher pay

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 14:40
Raleigh’s News & Observer has obtained a recording of a virtual, two-minute talk that Gov. Pat McCrory gave in January to GOP legislators (the Guv was apparently fighting a cold — what he called the “Carolina Crud” — which may explain why he wasn’t there in person). The talk was about the Guv’s education agenda ...

Introducing NC Left Me Out: Putting a face on the Medicaid coverage gap

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 13:34
A group of coalition partners working in North Carolina to close the Medicaid coverage gap has launched a new website called NC Left Me Out to collect stories of people who make too much for Medicaid and too little for private insurance. As the website explains, the Affordable Care Act specifically allocated funds to provide ...

What I want to hear in the State of the State

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 12:29
Tonight Governor McCrory will lay out his vision for North Carolina and his policy ideas for getting us there. He is also likely to give us a glimpse into his view of current economic, fiscal and social conditions in the state. At the Budget & Tax Center, we have noted that the central challenge for ...