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Audit: DHHS skipped child abuse registry check on adoptive parents, overpaid for many Medicaid services

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 13:59
An annual audit of North Carolina’s compliance with federal human services programs uncovered significant issues at the state’s health agency, including overpaying for Medicaid services and skipping a background check for adoptive parents. The audit found problems with nearly every program they checked at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, from administration of ...

All together now: growth without equity won’t work for NC

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 13:46
The findings keep pouring in: North Carolina won’t grow as strong or resilient an economy without taking a careful look at how it ensures everyone is included and connected to opportunity. Proven public policies and investments are needed to ensure that prosperity is broadly shared and everyone benefits from growth. It is clear that there ...

Rev. William Barber: “The ugly history behind ‘religious freedom’ laws”

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 12:59
Rev. William Barber and North Carolina Christian writer Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove recently authored the following essay on the close connection between modern “religious freedom” proposals and the dark history of racial discrimination in the U.S.  We’re delighted to publish it here. Extremists also remember Selma: The ugly history behind “religious freedom” laws By Rev. Dr. William ...

Women’s advocates release new polling numbers; will deliver petitions to Tillis this afternoon

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 09:39
Women’s advocates at NARAL Pro-Choice NC, N.C. Women United, NC NOW and Progress NC will be delivering petitions to Senator Thom Tillis’ office in Raleigh this afternoon. This is from the new release (which also includes a link to new and encouraging polling numbers — see after the page break): Thousands Demand Senators Tillis and ...

Butterfield: Further delays on A.G. nominee Loretta Lynch ‘despicable’ (audio)

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 06:22
When the U.S. Senate returns to work on April 13, Congressman G.K. Butterfield hopes the first order of business will be voting on Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch. Lynch has now waited longer than the last seven U.S. Attorneys General combined to have a floor vote in the U.S. Senate on her nomination. Butterfield says ...

Editorial highlights NC’s ridiculously underpaid teacher assistants

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 05:53
This morning’s Winston-Salem Journal provides another example of how absurdly underfunded our public education system has gotten this morning in an editorial about the pay rates North Carolina maintains for teacher assistants. Starting T.A. pay under the current state schedule works out by my back-of-the-envelope math to something on the order of around $12 an ...

States reap savings and increased revenues from Medicaid expansion

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 16:08
A new report from Manatt Health Solutions on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds that states that have tapped federal funds to expand Medicaid are seeing significant financial benefits. By the end of 2015 the savings and revenues across the eight states examined in the report are expected to exceed $1.8 billion. This is ...

Why LGBT equality and fair treatment for immigrant kids have a lot in common

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:55
In case you missed it today over on the main NCPW site, this morning’s Weekly Briefing (“The growing momentum for tuition equity”) explains why the fights for LGBT equality and fair treatment for immigrant kids have a surprising amount in common. “It may seem odd at first to compare the plight of immigrant kids with ...

Raising the bar: Talk, trends and “trajectory” in public education

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 10:20
Editor’s note: The following post By Dr. Mark Edwards, Superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District, is the latest installment in “Raising the Bar” — a new series of essays and blog posts authored by North Carolina leaders highlighting ways in which North Carolina public investments are falling short and where and how they can ...

Editorial derides hypocritical lawmakers on call for constitutional convention

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 06:43
This morning’s Greensboro News & Record lets the Tea Party wing of the General Assembly (and Rep. Bert Jones in particular) have it this morning. In an editorial entitled “April Foolishness,” the N&R juxtaposes the convention champions’ supposed fondness for limits on power with the General Assembly’s recent attacks on local government: We thought the ...

Raising the bar: The Governor’s HHS budget proposal for behavioral health

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 15:58
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment in the “Raising the Bar” — a new series of essays and blog posts authored by North Carolina nonprofit leaders highlighting ways in which North Carolina public investments are falling short and where and how they can be improved. Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget proposal for the years 2015-17 ...

Six stories to watch with lawmakers on Spring Break

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 14:59
It’s a little quiet on Jones Street this week as members of the General Assembly are enjoying their scheduled Spring Break. So, with no substantive votes on the calendar, here are six stories worth keeping an eye on: 1. Council of State to meet –  Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina Council of State ...

UNC Board of Governors moving ahead with search for new system president

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 14:54
The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors are moving forward in their search to replace UNC President Tom Ross, and have come up with tentative list of who will coordinate the search for a new president. The proposed search committee list was discussed during a four-hour public meeting Thursday in the Charlotte law office ...

Pro-school privatization group could receive $2 million taxpayer dollars to support charter school expansion in NC

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 14:00
A bill moving through the General Assembly would award $2 million over two years to Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) to help expand the number of charter schools throughout the state. Sponsored by Reps. Bryan (R-Mecklenburg), Brockman (D-Guilford) and B. Brown (R-Pitt), HB 535, “Promoting Charter School Success Pilot” would also allow ...

Shining the light on business practices of for-profit charter school management firms

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 11:43
Hats off to the Charlotte Observer’s Andrew Dunn, who published a series of stories this weekend about how for-profit education management organizations that operate charter schools in North Carolina are allowed to keep secret, to some extent, how they spend taxpayer dollars — and how that reality can ultimately contribute to the abuse of public money. ...

The proposed sales tax shift: Ignoring why things are the way they are?

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 09:26
Mooresville writer John Deem has a rock-anthem-inspired take this morning on the proposals in the General Assembly to shift sales tax revenues from urban to rural areas of the state: Sales tax redistribution: Money for nothing and your trips for free By John Deem Nearly all of the debate over Republican legislators’ proposals for redistributing ...

The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 07:15
In case you missed it, the best editorial of the weekend dealt with the most important failure of North Carolina’s political leadership in recent years. The essay in Raleigh’s News & Observer was entitled: “NC losing funding and savings with Medicaid holdout: By balking on Medicaid expansion, N.C. forgoes billions of dollars and a chance ...

Don’t miss upcoming luncheons re: “What’s the matter with Kansas?” and offshore drilling and the NC coast

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 09:26
There are now two Crucial Conversation luncheons you want to miss on the schedule for April: #1: “Can this coastline be saved? Offshore drilling and what it will likely mean for North Carolina’s beaches and wetlands. “  The event will feature one of the state’s leading experts on the topic, Southern Environmental Law Center attorney ...

Rep. Martin: Governor should clearly state he would veto ‘Religious Freedom’ bill (audio)

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 07:07
The national debate in the name of religious freedom came to North Carolina this week with Gov. Pat McCrory saying he opposes legislation in the General Assembly similar to the law in Indiana that’s drawing widespread criticism. House Speaker Tim Moore has said he would like to see how such a measure would affect North ...

McCrory tours charter school with national for-profit charter chain exec Jonathan Hage

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 16:14
Governor Pat McCrory toured a Cary charter school Thursday with the head of that school’s for-profit education management organization, Charter Schools USA. “He’s just here to highlight a good school,” said Eric Guckian, McCrory’s education advisor, when asked what prompted the Governor’s visit Thursday to Cardinal Charter Academy, which opened its doors to grades K-6 ...

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