Commentary, News

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

ff-601-budget1. The cynical and damaging election-year Senate budget

It’s not hard to tell it is an election year for the General Assembly. Senate leaders, who for years have demonized public school teachers and openly challenged assertions that they are underpaid, are now proposing a significant salary increase that they claim will raise the state’s ranking in teacher pay to 24th in the nation.

That’s the budget headline they are hoping everyone remembers. They’d rather not talk about their plan that gives only some state employees a small pay hike while ignoring state retirees altogether.

Senate Budget Chair Harry Brown said giving retirees a long overdue cost of living increase as the House proposed would not be “good budgeting.”   People who spent much of their lives serving the public by working in state government and who are now having trouble making ends meet would no doubt disagree. [Continue reading….]


Spellings-and-Kelly2. New high-priced UNC administrator: Not likely to solve problems of soaring costs and student debt

UNC President Margaret Spellings announced last Thursday the appointment of Andrew P. Kelly, current director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, to the position of Senior Vice President for Strategy and Policy at the university.

According to Raleigh’s News & Observer, the newly-created position, which will begin in August, comes with an annual salary of $245,000, and seems designed to address numerous pressures facing the institution, including “climbing tuition, loan default rates, poor college readiness, lackluster graduation rates and poor productivity.”

As Kelly told UNC’s Board of Governors, “Families are anxious about the cost of college, and they’re desperate for some bold thinking on how to make college more valuable, not just more affordable, more valuable. Policymakers are looking for solutions, and I’m looking forward to working with you all to come up with some of those.” [Continue reading….]

ASD-Brockman3. Tempers flare as controversial Achievement School District bill clears House
Unproven model allows for charter takeover of state’s lowest-performing schools

Rep. Cecil Brockman is admitting he could have been more eloquent.

The first-term High Point Democrat, co-sponsor of House Bill 1080, perhaps the most controversial K-12 education bill in the legislature thus far this year, was bristling when he rebuffed a fellow Democrat’s calls for teacher appreciation moments ago.

Brockman’s bill for achievement school districts—a reform that could grant for-profit charters the ability to wring control of a low-performing school from a local school district—is not about teachers, he insists. [Continue reading.…]

nctabor-ff4. The HB2 of state budget and tax policy ideas
If you think things are bad now for NC, wait till you see what might be coming next at the General Assembly

The damage to North Carolina’s economy, brain power and overall wellbeing from HB2 is rapidly spreading and accumulating. What started out as a handful of canceled entertainment events is fast becoming a bona fide all-purpose disaster for North Carolina that will impact the state for years to come. As one astute commentator noted last week in Raleigh’s News & Observer:

“A study out of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center says that the potential loss of federal funds in North Carolina could result in $2.4 billion in wages and 53,000 jobs. While those numbers seem staggering, they pale in comparison to the loss of brand equity HB2 is causing. We might be able to quantify job losses when organizations like PayPal and Deutsche Bank announce their plans to disinvest in North Carolina. We never will be able to calculate how much we lose when North Carolina gets crossed off the list in some corporate site selection meeting or the next great tech startup chooses to start elsewhere. [Continue reading….]

PV-6025. HB2 update: If we’re going to talk about sexual violence, let’s really talk about it

A high school football team’s locker room is host to the sexual harassment and assault of its freshmen members every week. Sexual violence survivors increasingly come forward to share their stories of abuse at the hands of their clergy. A coach on a Big Ten sports team is found guilty of molesting numerous children over a period of decades. A 13-year old girl is raped by her older brother’s classmates and left unconscious in the snow on her front lawn.

These are just a few examples of the sexual violence that makes the news, and the reality of what children in our society experience. It is estimated that one-in-four girls and one-in-six boys in this country experience some type of sexual violence by the time they turn 18. Approximately 69% of teen sexual assaults occur in a private residence. Only about 10% of perpetrators of child sexual assault are strangers to the children they victimize, while 30% of the perpetrators are family members of the child (the other 60% are family friends, neighbors, coaches, clergy, babysitters, etc.).[Continue reading….]

Upcoming event on Monday, June 6th: Crucial Conversation — A year after the Charleston tragedy: Growing hope for saner anti-gun violence policies. The event features State Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr., the Rev. Kylon Middleton pastor of the Mount Zion AME Church in Charleston, S.C. and Rev. Jennifer Copeland, Executive Director of the North Carolina Council of Churches.

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