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Updated: 44 min 45 sec ago

NC Court of Appeals orders state to disburse school vouchers to current recipients while legal battle continues

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 14:00
The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled today that the 1,878 students who have already been granted school vouchers can now use those taxpayer dollars at private schools while the fate of the program is decided. Students enrolled at private schools this fall expecting to have the vouchers, worth $4,200 annually, in hand – but an ...

Obama appoints former state judge from Winston-Salem to federal bench

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 13:38
Though Senator Richard Burr continues to block his nomination of federal prosecutor Jennifer May-Parker to serve as a  U.S. District Court judge for North Carolina’s Eastern District, President Obama acted yesterday to fill another, newer North Carolina federal judicial vacancy when he nominated former state Court of Appeals judge Loretta Copeland Biggs of Winston-Salem to ...

Advocates deliver 40,000 signatures to McCrory demanding stronger coal ash action

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:05
Advocates and activists for stronger action on coal ash than is included in the new state law that officially took effect today gathered outside the Old State Capitol in downtown Raleigh this morning to deliver more than 40,000 signatures to Governor Pat McCrory. The signatures represented roughly one North Carolinian for each ton of coal ...

N.C.’s unemployment rate goes up to 6.8 percent, labor pool shrinks

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 11:22
North Carolina’s unemployment rate shot up in August, as the state’s labor force continues to shrink. The state had 6.8 percent of its labor force actively looking for jobs in August, an increase from 6.5 percent the prior month, according to the monthly jobs report released by the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic ...

Charlotte charter school shuts down, 20 days into school year

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 08:54
Less than three weeks into the school year, a new Charlotte charter school has shut down. The sudden closure of Concrete Roses STEM Academy leaves familiies for the school’s 126 students scrambling to find new schools, while taxpayers may have lost the $285,170 in funding sent to the school that went belly-up this week. The ...

Experts provide more details on devious, potentially disastrous change in school funding

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 06:57
It’s been reported previously in recent weeks, but this essay in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by veteran  education policy experts Helen Ladd and Ted Fiske provides what is perhaps the most thorough review thus far of the potentially disastrous decision by the General Assembly and Governor McCrory to alter an 80-year-old ...

USDA report: North Carolina has “critical” issues overseeing food stamps program

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 14:44
North Carolina’s food stamps program continues to face major problems in how it operates and monitors federal funds for low-income families struggling to get food on their tables, according to a recent report by federal officials. A strongly worded management evaluation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  listed ...

Number of North Carolinians living in poverty remains high, income growth not widely shared

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:28
This is the first post of a blog series that will take a detailed look at the 2013 US Census poverty data released today. Poverty remained high in North Carolina last year, according to new Census Bureau data released today. The new data highlights that many people have not benefitted from the state’s weak economic ...

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest travels the state to promote “I Support Teachers” license plate campaign, teacher endowment fund

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:33
Lt. Governor Dan Forest kicked off a statewide media tour today in Raleigh to promote his “I Support Teachers” license plates — one part of his newly minted North Carolina Education Endowment fund that is aimed at increasing the salaries of the state’s highest performing public school teachers. “We need to have the best teachers ...

Editorial: With lost tax revenue and spending cuts, North Carolina on its way to becoming Alabama

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 09:28
As Governor Pat McCrory travels the state this week touting a billion dollar bond proposal for highway improvements and transit investments over the next 25 years, the Charlotte Observer reminds readers that the state is facing a serious revenue problem. The editorial board doesn’t hold back in Thursday’s column entitled: Become Alabama in 12 easy ...

What a concept! New transportation plan calls for public investment, forward thinking

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 07:28
There are too many details to be fleshed out and examined to provide a definitive assessment of Governor McCrory’s new proposed state transportation plan that he unveiled yesterday.  For instance, the summary talks about expanding mass transit and building new light rail — both encouraging signs — but it’s too early to say whether these ...

NAACP rightfully slams new voter suppression efforts

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:59
There’s been a lot of confusion about North Carolina’s confusing and complicated “Monster Voting Law” — much of it resulting from the fact many of the law’s numerous changes designed to make voting more difficult go into effect at different times. Of course, when your overall objective is to suppress voter turnout — especially amongst ...

DHHS Sec. Wos outlines new “flattened” structure for state Medicaid program

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00
North Carolina’s Health and Human Service Secretary Aldona Wos will be at the state legislature today, rolling out her plan to restructure the $18 billion state agency as well the state Medicaid program that provides healthcare for more than 1.5 million North Carolinians. Wos, in a 14-page letter addressed to the heads of the Joint ...

Scientist: Biology book used by would-be voucher schools mixes fundamentalist Christianity with inaccurate science

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 09:33
In case you missed it, be sure to check out the lead story this morning over on the main Policy Watch site by Prof. William Snider, head of the Neuroscience Center at the the UNC School of Medicine: “Will voucher students learn biology?”  If you read through the thoughtful, detailed and quite generous essay, you’ll ...

Profile in hate: Congressman Robert Pittenger’s homophobic blather

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 07:23
An editorial in this morning’s Charlotte Observer shines a light on the noxious views of North Carolina congressman Robert Pittenger: Is it OK for a company to fire someone solely because he is gay? U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte thinks so. It’s one of “the freedoms we enjoy” as Americans, he says. Private employers ...

NC Common Core review commission finally assembled, to meet September 22

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 15:50
Final appointments have been made today to a North Carolina political commission tasked with reviewing the implementation of the Common Core State Standards—well past a September 1 deadline by which the commission was required by law to hold its first meeting. The first meeting will take place Monday, September 22. Governor Pat McCrory was one ...

Who’s up and who’s down in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race (Audio)

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 13:34
New polling data by American Insights shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan with a nine point lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis among likely voters this November. Elon University’s poll shows the race closer – with Hagan enjoying a 45 to 41 percent margin over Tillis, with nine percent of likely voters saying they would ...

Poverty rate still high, with safety-net offsetting some of the economic pain

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:19
Economic hardship persisted at high levels in the nation and North Carolina in 2013, according to new figures released today from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). The 2013 national poverty rate was 14.5 percent, down from 15 percent in 2012 but still well-above pre-recession levels four years into the official economic recovery. There ...

Disturbing economic inequality news plus a stunning chart

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 10:45
The fallout from our nation’s decades-long effort to slash taxes on wealthy individuals and profitable corporations (and the public structures those taxes once provided) continues to spread. The Washington Post reports that the growing gap between the super rich and everyone else is directly and negatively impacting state government budgets: Income inequality is taking a toll ...

Today’s shocking child abuse statistic

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 08:23
WRAL.com has a featured story this morning about the state sponsored form of child abuse known as “corporal punishment.” You know — that’s the thing the state law prohibits prisoners and animals from being subjected to, but approves for children as an a tool of “education.” The issue is in the news again these days ...

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