At a time when ensuring that all students receive a quality education is more important than ever, students from low-income families are increasingly less likely to experience academic success and educational opportunities than their affluent peers. In fact, students from affluent families are 10 times more likely to graduate from high school and go on to earn a college degree by age 24 compared to students from low-income families.

This skewed outcome alone is startling, but what it projects for North Carolina’s future is even more troubling. With an increasing number of jobs in the state, and nationally, expected to require some level of postsecondary education, we need more of our students from low-income families – who now represent a majority of students in our public schools – graduating from high school and going on to earn a postsecondary credential.

The United States is one of the few advanced nations where more educational resources tend to flow to schools serving better-off children than schools serving poor students, a recent New York Times article highlights. Read More

Nearly half of likely North Carolina voters familiar with the tax cut package state lawmakers enacted this year oppose it, while only 42 percent support it. Don’t take our word for it. That’s what a poll by a prominent supporter of the package shows.

Of course, the group that commissioned the poll, Americans for Prosperity, chose to highlight other results that were more favorable to its position. But those results came only after the respondents were given one-sided information about the tax package, which slashed income taxes for profitable corporations and the wealthy.

Among those who had heard “a lot” or “some” information about the tax package even before the pollster called, 47% opposed it. Forty-two percent supported it and 11% weren’t sure. Read More

This school year, approximately 56 percent of all students in North Carolina public schools come from families with incomes low enough to qualify for free and reduced lunch (up from 48 percent in 2008). Many students within this new majority require extra learning supports, as they lag their peers in core learning areas such as reading, math, and English.

The budget signed by Governor McCrory cuts funding in many areas that help boost student achievement. For the 2013-14 school year, these funding cuts have meant fewer classroom teachers, teacher assistants, instructional support, and instructional supplies. This raises concerns about what the failure to invest in public education means for future student performance. Read More

Low-income children now represent a majority of students enrolled in public schools in the South, a new report by the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) finds. The 2009-10 school year marked the first time in modern history that a majority of students in public schools in the South were low-income students, defined as the number of students participating in the federal free- and reduced-lunch program. As public schools in North Carolina and other southern states are challenged with educating more low-income students – who typically need extra learning support and resources to succeed – education spending has failed to reflect this growing need and challenge. Read More

Microsoft, the software titan familiar to most Americans, has benefited handsomely from using loopholes in the federal tax code to avoid paying its fair share of corporate income taxes. The corporation has avoided paying $4.5 billion in U.S. income taxes in recent years, according to evidence presented by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI).

To avoid paying income taxes, Microsoft “sold” the right to market its products in the Americas to an offshore subsidiary, which then “licensed” back to the parent company the right to sell its products in the United States. The effect was that in 2011, almost half of the value of Microsoft’s U.S. sales was channeled offshore, and through this “transfer-pricing” shell game the company avoided $4.5 billion in U.S. income taxes over three years.

Senator Carl Levin’s Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 1533) bill would close two tax loopholes that corporations use to shuffle their intangible property, like licenses and patents, to offshore subsidiaries and dodge paying the taxes they owe. Closing these two loopholes would raise $23 billion in revenue over 10 years. Eliminating such corporate tax loopholes represents a positive step forward in ensuring that profitable corporations such as Microsoft, among others, pay their fair share of taxes.