NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

Assessing fines based upon income?

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 10:45
For years, Finland’s public education system has served as the exemplar against which schools in other countries should be measured. By elevating the status of teachers to “professionals” and minimizing testing in favor of personal attention, the Finns have a proven track record. As LynNell Hancock reported in this 2011 Smithsonian piece: Educators had little idea it ...

Deeper look into governor’s proposed budget highlights inadequate support for public education

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 09:17
As my colleague highlights in a recent blog, the governor’s proposed budget for the next two years fails to meaningfully reinvest in critical public structures, such as public education, that drive the state forward. This reality becomes much clearer when placing the governor’s budget into broader context. Consider state funding for textbooks and other classroom-level resources ...

Conservative NC lawmakers: Denying climate change but at least willing to address one symptom

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 07:59
It’s become a bizarre article of faith on the modern American Right that climate change and the science demonstrating the human role in bringing it about are all part of some diabolical plot by liberal academics and activists bent on limiting “freedom” and obtaining more funding. Things have gotten so bad that it’s practically forbidden ...

Senate advances plan to redraw Wake Commission, voters denied chance to decide (video)

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 06:21
A final vote is expected today in the state Senate on a measure that would redraw the Wake County Board of Commissioners district boundaries. Sen. Chad Barefoot told his colleagues Wednesday the new plan outlined in Senate Bill 181 would give small towns a greater voice at the local level. But opponents say the bill ...

Lawmaker wants to make some N.C. Port Authority records off-limits to the public

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 14:32
A state Senator who previously chaired the N.C. State Port Authority wants to make contracts the state port authority enters into with carriers a secret. If passed, the bill would carve out an exemption to the state public records law for “usage” contracts the state port enters into with carriers. The contracts generally detail the ...

New study shows that vast majority of Teach for America teachers plan to leave the classroom

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 14:14
A new study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research indicates that the much-debated Teach for America program (TFA) is not creating more effective or successful teachers. The study shows that test scores for students taught by TFA teachers in their first or second year of teaching  are on par with those taught by traditionally certified teachers. ...

Trending today on Jones Street – #SB181, #fracking, #taxreform, and #MoralMondays

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 12:38
Two controversial redistricting bills, a last-minute fracking maneuver, the shifting budget outlook, and the return of Moral Mondays highlight the top tweeted stories at the legislature this afternoon: If you can't beat 'em, cheat 'em: The Republican plan to retake Wake County. By @rjgeary #ncpol #ncga #gerrymander http://t.co/oEEcytd6o1 — Indy Week (@indyweek) March 11, 2015 Senate ...

The Tax Shift: Share your story on how tax changes have affected your quality of life

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 12:20
State legislative leaders said tax plan changes were supposed to help most North Carolinians, while groups like the Budget & Tax Center cast skepticism at those claims, predicting that the average North Carolinians would see their share of the tax load increase as the richest in the state enjoyed tax breaks. So what happened in ...

State House rams through fracking amendment

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 12:09
When state lawmakers passed a law to allow the introduction of fracking into North Carolina a couple of years ago, proponents promised the public that the state would have the strongest possible environmental protection rules. Today, the state House took one of what will undoubtedly be a repeated series of steps to walk away from ...

The shifting foundation for the budget debate

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 11:51
When putting together a budget, the debate typically entails where funding has expanded, what new initiatives have been introduced, and how much funding has been cut. However as North Carolinians are learning, when the baseline for comparison changes, spending that was once guaranteed may go away and new initiatives may only serve to undercut other ...

State lawmakers get ready to choose new members for UNC Board of Governors (with lists)

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 09:00
The lists of nominees for a combined 16 seats on the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors are out. Lawmakers in both chambers of the legislature are expected to hold elections by March 19 to choose 16 of the board’s 32 members who oversee the 17-campus UNC system. The House and Senate will select ...

McCrory’s latest ethics challenge raises questions of competence

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:54
Gov. Pat McCrory’s hometown newspaper is out with another blistering editorial directed at the man whose campaign it endorsed in 2012. Today’s subject is the Guv’s inexplicable difficulty in filling out state ethics forms. In an editorial entitled “Those baffling ethics N.C. forms,” the Charlotte Observer puts it this way: “What is going on in ...

Duke fined more than $25 million for coal ash contamination near Wilmington

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 20:04
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has slapped Duke Energy Progress with a $25.1 million fine for groundwater contamination caused by coal ash at the Sutton Plant near Wilmington. The agency describes the fine as the state’s “largest-ever penalty for environmental damages.” Here’s more from the state agency’s release: “Today’s enforcement action continues ...

State-mandated pilot programs would be subject to evaluation standards under proposed law

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 16:22
Members of the House Education – Universities committee discussed draft legislation Tuesday that would require the UNC School of Government to develop evaluation standards for state agencies to use when implementing pilot programs enacted by the General Assembly. The impetus for the bill stems from the failure for state agencies to properly manage and assess pilot ...

More NC students arriving to class fed, ready to learn

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 15:44
Students in high-poverty schools across North Carolina are showing up to class each day with food in their stomach and ready to learn thanks to an initiative known as Community Eligibility.  As part of the nationwide Community Eligibility Program (CEP), schools within 54 school systems across the state are providing breakfast and lunch to all students ...

Seeing the forest for the trees: Entire year-to-year spending increase in Governor’s FY2016 budget proposal goes to enrollment growth

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 14:36
Last week, Governor McCrory unveiled his two-year budget proposal for July 2015 through June 2017. He has since touted how his plan reinvests in the public services and programs that are essential for economic opportunity and quality of life. However, a close look at his 2016 fiscal year (FY2016) spending plan reveals that he fails ...

Governor brags of pardon while request from exonerated brothers languishes

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 14:00
If you’re like most people, you probably missed Governor McCrory’s announcement yesterday touting a new state plan to help a peanut operation create 78 jobs over three years in Chowan County. Though all well and good as far as these announcements go, what really stands out about this one was its inclusion of the Governor’s ...

New McCrory administration permits for Duke Energy include a massive loophole

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 10:01
The Fayetteville Observer has a fine editorial this morning taking the McCrory administration to task for the latest lame plan to deal with coal ash pollution and the ongoing discharges into our drinking water supplies. As the paper notes, the plan features a loophole the size of a coal fired power plant: it has no ...

Delay on incentives another reminder that McCrory’s not in charge

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 06:56
Governor Pat McCrory was clear two months ago about what he wanted the General Assembly to do as soon as the session convened–pass business incentive legislation. Here’s what he told the N.C. Chamber in early January. Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday that the state legislature must fund incentives “in a matter of weeks” or North ...

Why is it “entirely appropriate” for corporations to wine and dine Governor McCrory?

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 13:46
Governor McCrory amended his state ethics report today even as advocates at Progress NC blasted his previous failure to submit accurate reports as required by state law. In submitting the new and improved disclosures about the Guv’s trips to corporate-sponsored confabs of various governors’ associations, McCrory’s lawyer Bob Stephens — who sure seems to be ...

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