NC JUSTICE NEWS: Take Action! Destructive Education Bills + Budget Wrapup + For-Profit Colleges

September 22, 2015

DEVASTATING FOR EDUCATION: Tell lawmakers to reject two destructive bills

Two enormously destructive bills are moving very quickly through the legislature that could have devastating impacts on public education.

House Bill 539: Charter School Funding would divert millions of dollars of revenue from local public school districts to charter schools. This will allow charter schools to receive funding for services and costs borne exclusively by local public schools. These changes will deprive your local public school of funding at a time when they can least afford it. The progress our local schools have made is at risk following years of budget cuts and funding diversions that have left North Carolina’s schools among the lowest-funded in the nation.

HB 539 would deprive local public schools of child nutrition indirect costs, even though charter schools are not required to provide Free or Reduced Price Lunch;  fees received for use of school property by outside groups; Sales Tax Revenue, regardless of how it is distributed; and much more.

In addition, another proposal to establish the so-called "Achievement School District" (ASD) would harm schools, hamper teachers’ ability to educate and undermine North Carolina’s constitutional obligation to students. The North Carolina House is considering replacing Senate Bill 95 with a Proposed Committee Substitute that creates an ASD, comprised of five schools chosen from the bottom 25% of schools across the state. These schools would either be closed entirely or turned over to charter school operators. North Carolina must a live up to the unfulfilled constitutional promise that students in these schools will have an opportunity to obtain a sound basic education.

The creation of an ASD would further harm these schools: instead, low performing schools need greater staff stability and classroom supports if they are to provide all students with the opportunity to learn.

Parents, educators, and everyone in North Carolina who cares about education should be very concerned about both of these bills. ACT NOW to protect our state’s educational future against these bills, which are likely to move in the next 48 hours.

BUDGET WRAP-UP: Legislators choose to cut taxes, forgo critical investments

North Carolina leaders have missed another opportunity to build an economy that works for everyone through the state budget.

Last week, Governor McCrory signed a new two-year state budget that reflects diminished expectations for what is possible in North Carolina. State lawmakers once again chose to cut taxes that primarily benefit the wealthy and profitable corporations, while also expanding the sales tax to new services like maintenance, repair, and installation, effectively further shifting the tax load onto middle and low income taxpayers.

The tax plan will reduce revenue by $1 billion annually when fully implemented, cutting off pathways to greater economic success like early childhood development, public schools, and community economic development while also failing to boost the economy or create the jobs North Carolina needs.

North Carolina can’t afford to debate what a successful state looks like at the margins.  Policymakers need to raise the bar so that we can build on the investments that have made our state great and follow what research shows is a better pathway to building a strong economy that works for everyone—education and rising wages that allow families to make ends meet and avoid poverty. Check out the links below for more details on this disappointing budget.

CRUCIAL CONVERSATION: For many, for-profit colleges have failed to deliver

The rapid growth of for-profit colleges is one of the most important phenomena to impact American higher education in decades. Spurred by pervasive advertising and recruiting, the spread of online learning and the challenges of the 21st century economy, more and more Americans are turning to for-profit schools in hopes of boosting their employment and income prospects.

Unfortunately, for many students, for-profit colleges have failed to deliver. For a sizable number of students, the experience has been similar to what one would expect from a high-cost, predatory lender: slick and deceptive ads, poor service and mountains of debt. As advocates at the North Carolina Justice Center’s Predatory For-Profit Schools Project explain here, the industry is rife with sketchy operators who take advantage of vulnerable consumers.

Join NC Policy Watch and Barmak Nassirian, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, as they discuss this growing issue. The Crucial Conversation luncheon will be held on Tuesday, September 29, at noon, at the Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St.

TALKING MEDICAID: Join HAC for Halifax, Wilson, Ahoskie events

As the Affordable Care Act is being implemented in our state, North Carolina lawmakers have blocked the Medicaid program from being expanded. This means that 500,000 working adults will remain uninsured in 2015.

Join the NC Justice Center's Health Access Coalition for three upcoming conversation events to discuss:

  • the benefits of the Affordable Care Act
  • how Medicaid expansion would help your community
  • the online marketplace for purchasing insurance and eligibility for tax credits for individuals and small businesses, including Special Enrollment Period

The first supper event will be held in Halifax on Thursday, September 24, at the Tillery Community Center located at 321 Community Center Road, 27839. Dinner will be held at 5:30, followed by the meeting from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

The second event will be held in Wilson on Tuesday, September 29, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Bill Ellis Convention Center, located at 3007 Downing Street.

Finally, join HAC on Monday, October 19, in Ahoskie for another health care supper at the Roanoke-Chowan Community College Community Room, 109 Community College Road in Ahoskie. Supper will be held at 5:30, followed by the meeting from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Call or email today to reserve a place for you and a friend: Nicole Dozier at nicole@ncjustice.org or (919) 856-2146.

POVERTY WORKSHOP: Learn more on poverty in NC, become an advocate

Nearly 1.7 million North Carolinians struggled to make ends meet in 2014, according to new data released last week, highlighting the need for a state budget that builds a stronger foundation of economic opportunity and addresses the uneven nature of recovery across the state. Instead, legislators passed a budget that pursues deep tax cuts, making it impossible to adequately invest in poverty-busting programs that would make it easier for people to build a secure future.

Join RESULTS and the NC Justice Center for a free film screening and workshop on Thursday, October 15, to learn more about the state of poverty in North Carolina and across the U.S. RESULTS is looking to start a volunteer RESULTS chapter in North Carolina to fight U.S. poverty. This workshop will give more info on how to get involved and become an effective advocate.

The event will be held at the NC Justice Center from 6:30-8:00 p.m. on October 15, at 224 S. Dawson St. in downtown Raleigh. Watch, learn, join and take action!

RESULTS is a movement of passionate, committed everyday people, using their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty. Visit RESULTS.org for more information.

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