NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 4 min ago

How right-wing nerds are ruining our state

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 08:03
There are lots of obvious ways in which conservative ideologues are rolling back decades of progress in North Carolina. From taxes to guns, clean water to abortion rights, school privatization to voting rights, Medicaid expansion to predatory loans, the list of high-profile issues is a long one. What’s more, it is not exhaustive. A lot ...

Common core critics: NC needs to completely rewrite standards

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 15:53
Members of a review commission tasked with vetting the Common Core met Monday to hear from nationally known critics of the standards who advocated for their complete rehaul. WUNC’s Reema Khrais has the rundown here: Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram both served on the Common Core Validation Committee from 2009-10 and refused to sign off ...

Advocates: Fracking won’t start in North Carolina without a fight

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 15:37
On the day it has become legal under state law to apply for a fracking permit in North Carolina, advocates at Environment North Carolina joined with a group of state lawmakers at the Legislative Building this afternoon to make clear that the controversial drilling procedure will not commence in the Tar Heel state without a ...

States’ progress on making higher education accessible to all

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 13:25
A new report by the Center for American Progress highlights state actions that have increased access to post-secondary education for all students regardless of immigration status.  The report outlines the importance of state legislation on tuition equity given the lack of federal progress on the issue.  But it also highlights the differences in experiences for ...

Fracking becomes legal in NC today. Now what?

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 09:26
The Fayetteville Observer gets it right this morning with this editorial on the future of fracking in North Carolina — which becomes legal in the state today. After noting how the plummeting price of natural gas has slowed the fracking boom and may keep drillers away from North Carolina, the editorial puts it this way: ...

New report: Minority working families in NC worse off than average

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:30
One of the great myths of the American policy debate is that poor people are poor because they don’t (or won’t) work. While it’s true that unemployment is still a huge problem in many places, it’s also true (and increasingly so) that work is no panacea — especially for people of color.  This is especially ...

Just in: Three-judge panel says state lawmakers overstepped with commission appointments

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 16:16
According to WRAL, a three-judge panel ruled this afternoon that state lawmakers exceeded their authority when appointing members to coal ash cleanup and fracking commissions. The ruling, coming from a panel composed of two Republican judges and one Democrat — as noted below by the News & Observer’s Craig Jarvis — is a victory for Gov. Pat McCrory, who filed ...

The governor’s stand pat budget

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 15:52
Be sure to check out Tazra Mitchell’s excellent essay over on the main Policy Watch site this afternoon: “Governor McCrory’s flat budget proposal ignores research and reality.” As Tazra explains, the state is cutting essential services to provide enrollment growth increases in education and health care. As a practical matter, everything else remains frustratingly and ...

Today’s must read: New report highlights North Carolina’s ongoing “growth without prosperity”

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 14:08
Budget and Tax Center economist Patrick McHugh is out with a powerful new report entitled “Growth Without Prosperity: Seven years After the Great Recession Started, Recovery Still Eludes North Carolina.” This is from the release that accompanied the report: The worst of the Great Recession is behind us, but the damage lingers, weighing down communities ...

Five events to have on your radar this week

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:09
Common Core replacement experts – This afternoon the North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC) will hear testimony of three educators experts as the commission continues to develop a plan for replacing the Common Core State Standards. On tap at today’s meeting is Common Core Validation Committee members, Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram, ...

$45 for 31 years of wrongful imprisonment

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 11:05
More lousy national publicity for North Carolina today and its political leadership. The New York Times has joined the list of media outlets to report on the Governor’s failure to grant a pardon to two men (Henry McCollum and Leon Brown) who were wrongfully imprisoned for more than three decades for a crime they did ...

To seem rather than to be: McCrory and open, transparent government

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 07:18
In case you missed them over the weekend, there were at least two worth-your-time reads that raised more questions about the openness and transparency of a Governor who had promised to set new standards in those areas. Number One is a fine essay by Ned Barnett of Raleigh’s News & Observer entitled “McCrory’s blind spot ...

Renee Ellmers on data-driven policy solutions to poverty

Sun, 03/15/2015 - 15:34
Rep. Renee Ellmers showed up to a panel at the South By Southwest conference Sunday to talk about how big data can transform poverty policy. Ellmers, who was also here on Saturday to talk about broadband competition in the communications space, appeared at this panel in place of Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), who sponsored a ...

Students petition UNC Board of Governors to rethink financial aid cap

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 14:42
Two students who attend colleges in the UNC-System have created an online petition asking the UNC Board of Governors to rescind its financial aid cap and instead cap student loan debt for low and middle-income families. In August 2014, the Board of Governors voted unanimously to cap the tuition revenue used towards need-based aid at 15 ...

UNC Board of Governors explain themselves

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 12:42
John Fennebresque, a Charlotte attorney who serves as chair of the UNC Board of Governors, responded this week to criticisms of recent decisions  to raise tuition, close three academic centers and get rid of its much-respected system president, Tom Ross. In an editorial published Thursday by the Charlotte Observer, Fennebresque said the board was happy ...

Conservative opposition to Loretta Lynch breaks new boundaries

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 10:41
It’s no particular news that conservatives in Washington continue to raze basic rules and traditions of American governance. When a block of U.S. Senators starts trying to seize authority to conduct U.S. foreign policy from the chief executive, you know things have hit a new low. Still the ongoing stonewalling of Attorney General nominee and ...

More tax cuts the wrong medicine for what ails the NC economy

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 09:32
On Wednesday, the Senate Finance committee heard presentations that made the case for more changes to the state’s tax code. While beginning with many of the economic realities in North Carolina—stagnant and falling wages, persistently high poverty, and slow growth— the presentation prescribes the wrong medicine: more cuts to the income tax in favor of ...

We told you so: The amazing accomplishments of the 2013 GOP tax cuts

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 07:42
Not to say “we told you so,” but…we told you so. Two years ago, when the conservative leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly pushed through a state tax overhaul, experts at the N.C. Budget and Tax Center explained that it was about to bring about two fairly amazing (and, one would have thought, mutually ...

Better late than never: Montel Williams to stop endorsing payday loans

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 14:00
There is another small ray of good news today in the long-term battle to rid the nation of the predatory scalawags in the payday loan racket. After years as serving as the well-compensated barker for the sharks at MoneyMutual, TV pitchman Montel Williams has announced that he will stop endorsing the company. The announcement came ...

Sen. Tillman files bill to eliminate Personal Education Plans (PEPs) in public schools

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 13:06
Senator Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) filed a bill Wednesday that would eliminate the requirement for public schools to offer Personal Education Plans (PEPs), which provide academically struggling, at-risk students with strategic interventions to bring them up to grade-level proficiency. “Personal education plans are just a lot of paperwork for a lot of students who really just don’t ...

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