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Updated: 57 min 18 sec ago

Poll indicates teachers are warming up to Common Core

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 13:38
In case you missed it, the Education Writers Association blog has an interesting story about teacher attitudes toward Common Core. Here is the opening: In a new survey, teachers say they’re feeling more confident about using the Common Core State Standards in their classrooms — an optimistic finding that comes even as recent polls suggest ...

Editorial boards across NC: Let Fourth Circuit ruling stand, Justice Roberts

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 11:02
At least eight of North Carolina’s leading newspapers have now published editorials in support of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent ruling that the November election should go ahead without the voter suppression bans on same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. The Asheville Citizen-Times, the Burlington Times-News, the Charlotte Observer, the Greensboro News & Record, ...

Still no word from the Supreme Court on voting rights?

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:11
It’s now been three days since the U.S. Supreme Court received the briefing it requested from the parties in the state’s voting rights challenge. And while attorneys have continued to advise the justices on activity here, there’s been no ruling from the high court on the state’s emergency application. What’s going on? Election law expert ...

Charlotte Observer on battle to stop marriage equality: “Write the check, Mr. Tillis”

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 07:58
In case you missed it, this Charlotte Observer editorial puts things very succinctly and accurately when it comes to the narrow-minded, wasteful and just plain pigheaded stances of North Carolina’s House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem on the inevitable and impending  legalization of same-sex marriage in North Carolina: Write the check, Mr. Tillis. If ...

Tillis, Hagan lock horns over Common Core, teacher pay, and per-pupil spending (video)

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 21:24
Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis faced off Tuesday night in their second senatorial debate prior to the the Nov. 4 election. Just like their first debate, the two were quickly at odds over education spending. Watch an excerpt of their hour-long debate below: To watch the entire debate, click here.

State tells federal court no difficulties restoring same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 18:58
Contrary to arguments it made at various stages of the voting rights cases here, the state today told U. S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder that implementing the Fourth Circuit’s order restoring same day registration and out-of-precinct voting would be “simple.” That representation came as the parties awaited a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on ...

Federal court strikes Virgina congressional redistricting map

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 16:41
In a 2-1 decision, a federal court in Virginia today rejected part of that state’s congressional map, saying that it amounted to an impermissible racial gerrymander. Here’s election law expert Rick Hasen on the decision: The majority ruled that the redistricting involving a majority-minority district violated the equal protection clause as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander (a Shaw ...

Environmental group questions why NC DENR calls Wilmington coal-ash site a “low” hazard

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 16:20
An environmental law firm says the state agency tasked with protecting natural resources downplayed the dangers of toxic coal-ash storage ponds in Wilmington by ranking dams there a “low hazard.” The Southern Environmental Law Center sent a letter Thursday to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources refuting the state agency’s 2013 assessment that ...

Public University an Anchor for Economic Development and an Educated, Engaged Citizenry

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 15:39
This is the fourth post in a series that takes a detailed look at the final budget passed by North Carolina lawmakers during the 2014 legislative session. The first post provided an overview and examined how North Carolina’s investments post-recession have not bounced back nearly as much when compared to previous recessions. The second post ...

Today’s amazing inequality facts

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 14:46
The good people at have stashed several nuggets of powerful information in today’s edition of Too Much: An online weekly on excess and inequality that will make you want to pound the table, but the story on the newest edition of Forbes magazine’s richest 400 gazillionaires is perhaps the most amazing — especially this ...

State budget takes wrong turn on economic development

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 13:22
This is the third post in a series that takes a detailed look at the final budget passed by North Carolina lawmakers during the 2014 legislative session. The first post provided an overview and examined how North Carolina’s investments post-recession have not bounced back nearly as much when compared to previous recessions. The second post ...

Could this be the most absurd and cynical anti-Obamacare argument yet?

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 12:23
There’s very little that right-wing opponents of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act aren’t willing to claim in public about America’s increasingly successful and transformative health care law. From “death panels” to imaginary massive tax hikes to allegations about global conspiracies and plots to impose martial law and suspend the Constitution, the loony conspiracy ...

Increasing income inequality not a recipe for an economy that works for all

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 09:14
New data released by the US Census highlight the pervasiveness of poverty nationally and in North Carolina. In 2013, one in six North Carolinians lived below the federal poverty rate – less than $24,000 a year for a family of four and  $12,000 a year for an individual. For communities of color, the poverty rate ...

Editorial critical of latest DENR-Duke shenanigans

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 08:00
As noted in this space yesterday morning, federal regulators have been forced in recent days to put the kibosh on yet another sweetheart arrangement between Duke Energy and the McCrory administration that would have allowed the company to begin to address some of the problems in its coal ash “ponds” by draining the toxic liquid ...

McCrory, Tillis, Berger vow to continue defending Amendment One

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 17:55
Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court’s not to review the appeals court rulings striking down state bans on marriage for same-sex couples, has garnered this response from House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger: “The people of North Carolina have spoken, and while the Supreme Court has not issued a definitive ruling on ...

Court taking a deliberate path to same-sex marriage in North Carolina

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 16:49
The judge in two of the same-sex marriage cases pending in North Carolina  issued an order this afternoon requiring the parties to file reports within 10 days, detailing how the court should proceed in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to review a Fourth Circuit decision rejecting Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. Saying that ...

Widespread poverty persists, work and income supports help offset economic pain

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 14:04
This is the eighth post in a series that takes a detailed look at the 2013 US Census Bureau poverty data released on September 18th. Previous posts examined: 1) how North Carolina is faring overall; 2) how poverty varies by race, 3) poverty by County; 4) child poverty; 5) the impact, or lack thereof, of ...

Still time to catch the “Nuns on the Bus”

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 13:58
They’ve been in Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Greenville, but there’s still time to catch the “Nuns on the Bus” get-out-the-vote tour today or tomorrow if you’re in Asheville or Charlotte. To learn more about the tour, read here, or listen to NOTB Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell in her radio interview with Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon ...

And same-sex marriage is now officially legal in Virginia

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 13:14
The Fourth Circuit has issued its mandate:  

What the Supreme Court’s inaction on marriage equality means

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 12:11
As reported, the ACLU will immediately file papers asking the federal judge handling same-sex marriage cases here to invalidate the state’s ban and allow marriages to go forward. For quick context on the the Supreme Court’s inaction today and what it means in North Carolina and elsewhere, see this VOX explainer. And for more detail, read ...