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Flurry of House charter school bills would facilitate segregation of North Carolina’s schools

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:40

The field of education policy can be quite divided on a number of topics. But in recent years, researchers are increasingly reaching consensus on the harmful impacts of segregated schools. For example, Stanford’s Sean Reardon has found that within-district segregation is the biggest predictor of racial achievement gaps, with one-fifth of the average metropolitan area’s ...

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Despite criticism, House lawmakers approve corporate perks for charter enrollment

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 17:12

N.C. House lawmakers signed off Tuesday afternoon on a controversial Republican bill dishing out corporate perks to charter partners, setting aside half of any charter’s total enrollment for private businesses providing infrastructure, land or technology for the publicly-funded schools. Democrats complained this week that the proposal, House Bill 800, would create “de facto segregated private schools” ...

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Senate Republicans to take up flurry of bills today changing North Carolina elections

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 16:30

The Senate Select Committee on Elections will meet after session today to consider six bills that would change North Carolina elections. Lawmakers reconvene in chambers at 4 p.m. and the committee will meet 30 minutes after the session ends in room 1027/1128 of the Legislative Building. The room does not record and broadcast audio, but ...

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“Economic Terrorism” bill dies in committee

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 16:14

A bill that would have stiffened penalties for certain types of protest died in committee Tuesday. By a 6-5 vote, the members of the N.C. House Judiciary II committee chose not to send House Bill 249 – the “Economic Terrorism” bill – to the full House for a vote. The bill would have created a ...

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Senate committee passes amended hog nuisance bill but private property rights still threatened

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 14:40

A piglet’s journey from birth to slaughter to plate is short but circuitous. Over six months, she is born, weaned, grown, finished to weight, transported hundreds of miles in an 18-wheeler to the slaughterhouse, led to a kill chute, stunned unconscious and then her throat cut. Then she becomes ham or bacon or sausage. House Bill 467 has ...

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Boosting investment in early childhood development, a no-brainer for NC

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 13:21

Early childhood development programs are not typically viewed as economic development initiatives, but they should be. Extensive research in this area finds that well-focused investments in early childhood development yield positive long-term public and private benefits. Furthermore, the return on early childhood development investments to the public far exceeds the return on most other economic ...

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With thousands of teacher jobs at stake, class funding bill bound for full Senate vote

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:45

Members of North Carolina’s state Senate appear poised this week to hear a last-ditch reprieve for school districts warning of drastic consequences should a state mandate on K-3 class sizes go into effect in August. Lawmakers in the Senate Rules & Operations Committee gave their approval Tuesday morning to a deal announced Monday night that would, ...

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General Assembly overrides veto of ethics commission, election board merger

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:16

If you can’t win in court, don’t appeal because you may lose again. Just rewrite the law that was struck down and try again. It worked for the N.C. General Assembly on Tuesday, when House members voted 75-43 to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 68, which would merge the state Elections Board and ...

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Today: Senate committee to take up bill limiting Cooper’s judicial appointment power

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 09:00

The Senate Judiciary I Committee will review a bill today that would take judicial appointment power away from Gov. Roy Cooper. The Democratic governor currently has the power to appoint anyone he sees fit to fill district attorney vacancies and vacancies on the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Superior Court. House Bill 335 would change ...

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Editorial: Cooper right to veto two GOP power grab bills

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 07:58

The Fayetteville Observer has another fine editorial praising on Governor Cooper’s latest vetoes of Republican power grabbing legislation. This is from “North Carolina politics triumph over impartial, efficient justice”: The first of the two bills is a try-try-again effort by lawmakers to merge the state’s ethics and elections boards into a single eight-member body equally ...

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Senate committee approves one-year reprieve on N.C. class size funding crisis

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 21:19

(Update: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the N.C. School Boards Association supported tonight’s class size funding deal.)  Members of the Senate Education Committee cleared one major hurdle for assuaging North Carolina’s hotly-debated class size funding crisis Monday night, approving a deal that softens previous Republican demands that school districts drastically slash class ...

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Very sneaky, cities — using science to buttress your buffer rules

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 18:39

T he bystanders and lobbyists who this afternoon popped over to the Senate Rules Committee from House Environment — where Rep. Jimmy Dixon was comparing the science behind spraying landfill juice into the air to the eureka moment of discovering the Earth is round (a bumpy spheroid, actually, but more on that later) — were ...

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House panel OKs charter school growth bill, corporate “perks” for charter partners

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:39

A divided House Education Committee gave their approval Monday to a pair of controversial charter school bills, one of which will allow charters to expand student enrollment by up to 30 percent with no additional state review of their performance and finances. The second proposal, House Bill 800, led by Rep. John Bradford, R-Mecklenburg, would speed ...

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Nothing has changed (Part 2): Reported amendment to GOP health care bill guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:02

Last week, we reported reviving the GOP health care bill would mean more uninsured, costlier coverage in North Carolina. On Friday unfortunately, Republicans in Congress reportedly reached agreement on an amendment that would eliminate key Affordable Care Act (ACA) protections for people with pre-existing health conditions. Under the amendment, states could end some of these ...

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U.S. Supreme Court takes no action after re-visiting “monster” voting law

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 13:45

The U.S. Supreme Court did not announce any action Monday regarding a North Carolina voting rights case justices discussed at a Friday conference. As Rick Hasen said last week, “no news is no news,” and doesn’t necessarily indicate anything good or bad. The Election Law Blogger speculated that the case may be relisted for a third ...

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Trump budget weakens NC’s ability to respond to public health, workforce needs

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 13:07

President Trump and the GOP want to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and restructure Medicaid, and “American First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” provides further evidence that they do not want to invest in a healthy and thriving North Carolina. While many North Carolinians may not feel the impact of the provisions ...

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Court of Appeals judge resigns in reaction to bill shrinking bench; Cooper appoints new judge in wake of veto

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 11:28

It looks like Republican lawmakers are going to have to wait a little longer for their plan to reduce the Court of Appeals to take effect, even if they choose to override the governor’s veto of House Bill 239 this week. Judge Douglas McCullough, who is a registered Republican, resigned today from the state Court ...

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After months of delays, Senate committee to hear class-size funding fix

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 10:57

A long-stalled proposal to assuage a looming class-size funding crisis in North Carolina public schools is finally slated for a hearing in the state Senate. Late Sunday night, Senate leadership added House Bill 13 to the Senate Education Committee’s agenda Monday evening. The bipartisan proposal is written to offer relief to districts across North Carolina ...

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The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:00

The Republican power grabs just keep on a comin’ in Raleigh and so do the denunciations by the state’s leading newspapers. Yesterday’s lead editorial in the Wilmington Star News is the latest to blast GOP’s dishonest remake of the state Court of Appeals — what it calls a “naked grab for partisan power.” Here are ...

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Ten great Twitter pics from last weekend’s #MarchforScience

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 06:00

One of our organizers representing at the science fair! #RM4S #raleighsciencemarch #sciencemarch pic.twitter.com/WrLkDWDZX9 — March for Science NC (@SciMarchRaleigh) April 22, 2017 Why would anyone wage war on science? The person holding the green sign has a clue. #raleighsciencemarch #marchforscience #alternativefacts pic.twitter.com/qBRvAOaFR2 — Laura Marsh (@LauraEloMarsh) April 23, 2017 #CharlotteMarchForScience pic.twitter.com/ewrgT6VjrF — Jeremy Mattsson (@HerrMattsson) ...

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