NC JUSTICE NEWS: Diane Ravitch + Eliminating the EITC + State Budget Preview

March 19, 2013

DIANE RAVITCH: U.S. leader for public education to visit Raleigh

NC Policy Watch, the NC Justice Center's Education & Law Project and Public Schools First NC will host a very special Crucial Conversation on March 21, featuring America's leading spokesperson for public education, Diane Ravitch.

What is the future of public education in the United States? Sadly, if policy developments of the kind underway in North Carolina and several other states continue to take hold, it could be quite bleak. Where once we viewed and treated public schools as both an essential “common good” institution and a critical bulwark of our democracy, today they are increasingly marginalized. Such an attitude could result in further privatization, vouchers, unfettered charter schools and re-segregation.

Fortunately, more and more groups and individuals are standing up to resist these trends. And among this group no one is more visible or effective than Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. From 1991 to 1993, Ravitch was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H. W. Bush. From 1995 until 2005, she held the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution and edited Brookings Papers on Education Policy. Before entering government service, she was Adjunct Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Don't miss this chance to hear one of America's forefront thinkers on education policy. The luncheon will be held on Thursday, March 21 at 12:00 p.m. at the Marbles Kids Museum, 201 E. Hargett Street in Downtown Raleigh. Click here to register.

STATE EITC: Eliminating tax credit is wrong call for North Carolina

Last week, Gov. McCrory signed a bill supporting the reduction or elimination of the state Earned Income Tax Credit, just as nearly 8,000 North Carolinians said in a petition sent to legislators that they don't agree with any legislation that shifts the tax load on to low- and middle-income families.

One in five, or nearly 907,000, tax-filers in North Carolina claimed the EITC in 2011, putting more than $105 million into the pockets of low-income working families, according to the fact sheets. Even with the state EITC, low- and moderate-earning workers still pay a higher percentage of their incomes in state and local taxes than the wealthy do. The state EITC is also a highly effective anti-poverty tool, particularly for children. Young children in families with additional income from programs like the EITC do better and go further in school and, as a result, work more and earn more as adults.

A series of new fact sheets show just how devastating the elimination of the EITC would be for residents across the state and that now is absolutely the wrong time to further shift the tax load onto North Carolina's lowest-paid workers by cutting or eliminating the state EITC. Instead, policymakers should be building upon the state EITC’s successes by extending and strengthening this vital tax credit, which makes a positive difference in the lives of working families who have been battered by unparalleled economic challenges.

Click on the following links to see how eliminating the EITC would impact NC Senate Members' and NC House Members' districts. You'll also find an interactive map for county-level data for the EITC at saveeitc.org.

STATE BUDGET: Gov. McCrory likely to present budget on March 20

It looks like Gov. Pat McCrory is on track to release his proposed budget at the State Capitol on Wednesday morning. Time will tell if the Governor takes this opportunity to support public investments such as education, public safety, and health care. The budget is of particular importance after a winter that has seen the slashing of unemployment benefits, the blocking of the Medicaid expansion, and passage of bills that favor the wealthy and corporations over working families.

The Budget & Tax Center has released a series of budget previews examining the "crossroads" that the Governor's budget represents for several key areas:

Between sequestration cuts and Gov. McCrory's recent decision to approve the reduction or elimination of the state EITC, North Carolina residents could use a win. Tomorrow morning we'll see if the Governor recommits to investing in the areas that make North Carolina great.

PILGRIMAGE FOR PEACE & JUSTICE: Statewide walk begins March 24

Witness for Peace Southeast will hold its 27th annual Pilgrimage for Peace and Justice walks during the week of March 24 through March 29. The pilgrimage will begin in Wilmington, and spend each day of the week in different cities and towns throughout the state, including stops in Goldsboro, Greenville, Durham, Cary, and Raleigh.

The event offers an opportunity for participating walkers to demonstrate their support for social justice issues affecting North Carolina communities. This year’s theme centers on immigration reform and ending the war on drugs. Speakers at each stop will address these topics and how they affect North Carolinians. The Pilgrimage for Peace and Justice coincides with Holy Week, and will conclude on Good Friday in Raleigh, with activities including the Economic Justice Way of the Cross.

Participation in the Pilgrimage for Peace and Justice is free to the public. Those wishing to participate may visit wfpse.org to find an up-to-date events calendar or the Witness for Peace Southeast Facebook page. They may also contact Kristen Wassil at 919-856-9468, or Kristen@witnessforpeace.org.

DEFENDERS OF JUSTICE AWARDS: Save the Date - May 9, 2013

Join the NC Justice Center on Thursday, May 9 for the 15th Annual Defenders of Justice Awards. Each year, the Justice Center presents its DOJ Awards to honor individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions in the fight against poverty in four areas that reflect the scope of the Justice Center’s work.

The 2013 honorees are:

  • Legislative Advocacy: Wayne Goodwin, NC Commissioner of Insurance
  • Litigation: Phil Lehman, NC Office of the Attorney General
                       Mortgage Foreclosure Unit, Legal Aid of NC
  • Policy Research and Advocacy: Equality NC
  • Grassroots Empowerment: A. Philip Randolph Institute

The event will be held at the Carolina Club at UNC Chapel Hill's George Watts Hill Alumni Center. Stay tuned for more details on tickets and sponsorship opportunities.
 

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