NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 49 min ago

Public School Forum’s new study group to seek solutions to racial inequity in schools

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 15:51
The Public School Forum of NC announced Wednesday it’s forming a new study group — and, possibly, a new center — to seek solutions to racial inequities and unfair funding formulas found in North Carolina’s schools. Using the following question as the foundation for its work, “what would it take to provide every child in North Carolina ...

Just in: House, Senate reach deal on teacher & state employee pay raises

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 14:59
The News & Observer is reporting that House and Senate leaders have reached an agreement on how much to pay teachers and state employees next year. Making good on last year’s promise, beginning teachers will see their base pay rise to $35,000 per year, up from $33,000 that was enacted last year. All other experienced ...

Medicaid expansion: the state-by-state picture

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 14:08
The legislative debate over Medicaid reform over the last two weeks once again revealed the Senate’s misplaced priorities – profits over people. The health of North Carolinians was not only compromised by pushing reform that employs commercial insurers and dismantling Community Care North Carolina (CCNC), but also by failing to expanding Medicaid to the half ...

Actual North Carolina unemployment still in double digits

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 13:37
As state leaders deride the unemployed as lazy good-for-nothings and slash their insurance benefits, the news about finding a job job remains discouraging for a large swath of North Carolinians. Here’s the latest sobering news about the “Carolina Comeback” from economist Patrick McHugh: “Unemployment is still a major problem in North Carolina. The headline unemployment ...

New video explains destructive impact of wood pellet industry in eastern NC

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 11:02
This new video from the folks at the Dogwood Alliance is worth four-plus minutes of your time: Read more by clicking here.

The terrorism that actually threatens America

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 09:23
[This post has been updated to correct a duplicate link.] The gun insanity continues. Another average morning, another whirlwind of horrific stories about innocent people in and around us dying (or having their lives endangered) senselessly because criminals and crazy people have easy access to killing machines: In Virginia, two young journalists gunned down in ...

Veteran reporter blasts Guv, lawmakers over unemployment insurance cuts

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 08:20
Veteran Raleigh News & Observer political reporter Rob Christensen, a confirmed centrist who has sometimes frustrated progressives down through the years with his extremely high tolerance for conservative policy blather, is right on the money this morning with a new and powerful takedown of the state’s Scrooge-like unemployment insurance policies. In addition to explaining and ...

Minority leader: Ongoing budget delays will cost North Carolina qualified educators (Audio)

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 14:31
Could a third continuing budget resolution be on the horizon? Some of the state’s top budget negotiators acknowledge they may not have the budget finalized by their August 31st deadline, prompting lawmakers to pass a third continuing resolution. House Minority Leader Larry D. Hall of Durham tells NC Policy Watch some have suggested that school ...

North Carolina’s waning support extends to both ends of education pipeline

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 13:03
As North Carolina students embark upon a new school year, lots of media coverage has focused on waning state-level support for public schools. This waning support extends beyond public schools to both ends of the education pipeline – early childhood and higher education. Whereas North Carolina should be boosting investments in its entire education pipeline ...

The latest through-the-looking glass take on higher education from the Pope empire

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 11:00
The Pope Center for Higher Education is out with a new article in which it laments the fact that student loan debt and loan defaults are both up in North Carolina.  This is obviously not an unimportant problem and so good for them for raising it. As one might have suspected, however, the group’s conclusion ...

Raleigh’s disastrous attack on NC’s natural environment

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 09:12
In case you missed it Sunday, the editorial page of the Greensboro News & Record did a great, if sobering, job of summing up the ongoing war on North Carolina’s natural environment that’s being waged by the state’s conservative political leadership.The editorial — “A toxic wish list,” begins this way: “Don’t look now, but planet ...

Halifax County Board of Commissioners sued for failing to provide students with a “sound basic education”

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 15:04
Parents, grandparents and local community groups in Halifax County filed a lawsuit today in Superior Court against the County Board of Commissioners, contending that the board has failed to provide public school students with the “sound basic education” required under the state constitution. The parties challenging the school districts allege in the Complaint that county schools ...

Majority of public school parents don’t support linking teacher evals to student test scores

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 11:50
An annual poll surveying the public about American education found that the majority of public school parents aren’t a fan of the idea that teachers should be evaluated on the basis of their students’ standardized test scores. From the Associated Press: The Gallup Poll released Sunday found 55 percent opposed linking teacher evaluations to their ...

Voter ID case back in state court this morning

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 08:46
The state court challenge to the 2013 voter ID provisions of the monster voting law is set for a hearing this morning at the Wake County Courthouse on the state’s request to dismiss the case. That request comes on the heels of the recent amendment to the law providing that voters lacking an acceptable photo ...

Editorials blast ideological attacks on public education

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 08:15
Today is the first day of the 2015-16 school year in lots of places throughout North Carolina and editorial pages across the state this past weekend welcomed back the return of teachers and students with some harsh words for the political powers that be. The Winston-Salem Journal minced no words in an editorial entitled “Teacher ...

Amid budget uncertainty, McCrory praises teachers, pledges to continue working on pay (video)

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 06:11
With the state budget nearly eight weeks overdue, Governor Pat McCrory took to You Tube Sunday to praise teachers and reassure them his office was continuing to work to raise their salaries: “I want to let you know I’m doing my best, working very, very hard with the legislature to continue the pay raises,” said ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 15:00
1. NC classrooms brace for teacher shortage In some areas, unusual reports of elementary classrooms hardest hit Mirroring a national trend, some North Carolina classrooms are bracing for a teacher shortage next Monday, the first day of the traditional school year. “It’s a perfect storm,” said Guilford County Schools Chief of Staff Nora Carr about ...

More sobering state economic news

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 14:36
The latest from analysts at the N.C. Justice Center: July Jobs Figures Show NC Falling Behind the Nation RALEIGH (August 21, 2015) — The July labor market data released this morning show North Carolina continues to lag behind the nation in a few vital ways. Wages in North Carolina are not growing as fast as ...

Editorial: Senate’s Medicaid privatization plan “making less and less sense all the time”

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 10:40
Today’s Fayetteville Observer hits the nail on the head with this editorial condemning the state Senate’s plan to turn North Carolina’s Medicaid program over to giant, for-profit insurance corporations: “The N.C. Senate’s drive to restructure the Medicaid program is making less sense all the time. We understand lawmakers sometimes succumb to the urge to fix ...

TABOR will make North Carolina’s bleak teacher pay situation even worse

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 08:19
In case you missed it the other day, the Charlotte Observer ran one of the best essays yet on the disastrous consequences that North Carolina can expect if the ALEC-inspired “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” becomes embedded in the state constitution and what we ought to do instead. Increase teacher pay without TABOR By Leslie Winner ...