NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Tillis: Confirming judges has “nothing to do with doing our jobs”

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 07:02
Sometimes it is almost beyond belief that Thom Tillis serves on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. That same thought must’ve been running through the minds of a lot of his fellow senators yesterday afternoon when Tillis took to the Senate floor to block a bundle of federal court nominations who would have filled vacancies that ...

Breakthrough? Local climate change deniers tout shift to natural gas…for lowering greenhouse gas emissions

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 14:41
One should probably mark it down as a sign of progress. After all, it’s not every day that a far right advocacy group that’s spent many years and thousands upon thousands of words denying the reality of human-aided climate change, attacking renewable energy and lauding fossil fuel consumption publishes something that implicitly admits the error ...

NC needs to listen to Fayetteville’s top cop, newspaper re: body cameras and police-community relations

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 10:44
It’s too bad Governor McCrory and state lawmakers aren’t listening to some smart folks in Fayetteville when it comes to the issue of police body cameras and the broader question of how to build trust between law enforcement and communities of color. First there’s Fayetteville police chief Harold Medlock (pictured at left), who continues to ...

Editorial: No more special legislative sessions…PLEASE

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 08:33
The lead editorial in today’s Greensboro News & Record has an amusing, if rather depressing and, ultimately, serious assessment of the possibility that the General Assembly could soon be called into special session to redraw unconstitutional election maps it attempted to force upon the people of Wake County. To paraphrase the N&R: “No, anything but ...

New report underscores false promise that North Carolina’s Achievement School District takeover plan is better than Tennessee’s

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 15:12
A new report from researchers at George Washington University provides a qualitative analysis of the reasons why Tennessee’s Achievement School District (ASD) – that state’s efforts to turn around low-performing schools by handing the schools over to private charter operators – has failed.  The report, based on 140 interviews with leaders of the ASD and ...

New “business-friendly” rankings: NC scored higher under Perdue than McCrory; HB2 holding us back

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 13:05
There are lots of good reasons to take the rankings of “top states for business” or “most business-friendly states” put out each year by various media outlets with huge grains of salt. The rankings are almost always packed full of subjective criteria, often fail to take into account the lives of real people and exist ...

Racial diversity survives and thrives: The Supreme Court rules in United States v. Fisher

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 12:01
Last month, the United States Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas’ race-conscious admissions policy as constitutional under the Equal Protection Clause in Fisher v. University of Texas. The decision is a big win for proponents of admissions policies that foster racial and ethnic diversity in the university setting. The majority opinion, written by Justice ...

NC virtual charter operator disputes details of California court settlement

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 10:48
K12 Inc., a controversial for-profit, virtual charter operator running a school in North Carolina, is disputing the terms of a multi-million dollar settlement the company announced late last week with the California Office of the Attorney General. As we reported Monday, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris touted a $168.5 million settlement with the company, which was accused of inflating ...

Editorials blast Berger’s latest shameless demagoguery on HB2

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 07:17
Just when you thought the defenders and architects of North Carolina’s disastrous LGBT discrimination law, HB2, couldn’t take things any lower, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger has stepped up to the plate with a giant backhoe. As editorials in the Charlotte Observer and Fayetteville Observer have rightfully highlighted in recent days, Berger has let ...

NC virtual charter operator coughs up $168 million settlement in California case

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 15:44
Here at Policy Watch, we’ve reported extensively on the struggles of North Carolina’s two virtual charter schools. Both schools—run by for-profit, education groups K12 Inc. and British-based Pearson—have been besieged with skyrocketing dropout rates in their first year of operation. Yet state lawmakers moved in this year’s budget to include new relaxed restrictions for the schools, ...

NC congressman: EPA employees should not be allowed to fly on business trips

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 12:45
Ho hum, another day, another embarrassing action from a member of North Carolina’s mostly reactionary congressional delegation. Natasha Geling at Think Progress has the details on the latest nutty proposal — this one from Congressman Richard Hudson (pictured at left) of suburban Charlotte: “Congress is getting ready to dole out funds for the Environmental Protection ...

Lawsuit against State Senator’s farm highlights sadly typical treatment of farmworkers

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 11:57
In a recent article in Durham’s Indy Week (“Can N.C. Farmers Mistreat Their Guest Workers with Impunity?”), author Paul Blest highlighted a lawsuit brought by seven farmworkers against their employer (State Sen. Brent Jackson of Sampson County) and used it as a starting point to discuss some of the injustices that are often visited upon ...

Responding to the violence: The best editorials of the weekend

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 07:00
Editorial writers and columnists  tried to do what they could over the weekend to give voice to the collective sense of anger and grief that so many caring and thinking people feel right now with respect to the senseless and destructive racism and violence that are plaguing our nation. Here were three essays that stood ...

WATCH: Congressional Black Caucus calls for vote on gun control following police shootings

Sat, 07/09/2016 - 10:07
The Congressional Black Caucus, led by North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield, called on Congress Friday to take action on gun control legislation. Their emotional appeal follows a week of tragic, police-involved shootings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. Watch the full press conference here on C-SPAN. “If we fail to act, this will be ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 14:30
1. Making the grade –  Which education bills passed, which got held back in the short session Asked to sum up the 2016 short session of the N.C. General Assembly, Mark Jewell, president of the N.C. Association of Educators, takes very little time. “Disappointing,” he grouses, roughly three days after state lawmakers wrapped up the ...

Vigils planned statewide in aftermath of police shootings

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 14:00
Vigils will be held across the state this weekend to mark the recent fatal shootings of Philando Castile in St. Paul,  Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and five police officers in Dallas. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and we hope you will contribute to this post as other events are scheduled: In ...

Responding to Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 13:38
The tragedies of Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas serve as the latest reminders to all of us that we are our brother’s keeper, and that when we fail to talk with, understand, and care for one another, our prejudices and anger take over. The result is all too foreseeable. With remarkably easy access to ...

N.C. State Board of Education “moving with deliberate speed” on achievement school districts

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 11:31
Members of the State Board of Education indicated in a conference call Thursday that, given Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to approve a controversial bill authorizing a for-profit, charter takeover of five low-performing schools, they intend to move quickly in implementing the legislation’s reforms. “We’re moving with deliberate speed here because there’s a lot to be done ...

Higher education group: NC lawmakers failed to do their jobs in 2016

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 10:29
In case you missed it, the folks at Higher Education Works published a roundup/review of the recently adjourned 2016 legislative session as it related to the state’s colleges and universities this week. The basic take: Lawmakers deserve, at best, an “incomplete” grade for their performance (or lack thereof). Here’s the introduction: “2016 General Assembly took ...

The gun madness will continue until we take action

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 08:23
It would be much too simplistic to suggest that the absurdly easy and widespread availability of high-powered weapons in our country is the only explanation for the drumbeat of mass murders that continues to plague us in 2016. That said, last night’s horrific assassinations of police officers in Dallas, Texas were yet another reminder of ...

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