Commentary

Tom JensenOne of the nation’s most respected pollsters — Tom Jensen of Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling — is out with some new and encouraging results from the state of Washington that seem likely to be a harbinger for for the nation.

The bottom line: New laws legalizing marijuana, same sex marriage and toughening gun control are all increasingly popular and seen by voters as no big deal. This is from a release distributed yesterday:

“Over the last couple elections voters in Washington legalized gay marriage and marijuana, and enacted background checks on all gun sales. Our newest poll in the state finds that all three of those new laws are even more popular now after being implemented than they were when voters first approved them.

In 2012 Washingtonians voted to approve gay marriage by 8 points. Now voters in the state say they support gay marriage by 20 points, 56/36. 78% of voters say that its being legal has either had a positive impact on their life or no impact at all, with only 22% claiming gay marriage has affected them negatively. Also 65% of voters in the state think gay conversion therapy should be illegal to only 14% who think it should be allowed. Majorities of voters across party lines- 78/6 with Democrats, 63/14 with independents, and 51/27 with Republicans- think conversion therapy should not be allowed.

Also in 2012 Washingtonians voted to legalize marijuana usage by 12 points. Now voters in the state say they support marijuana being legal by 19 points, 56/37. 77% of voters say marijuana being legal has either had a positive impact on their life or no impact at all, with likewise only 22% claiming marijuana legalization has affected them negatively.

Just last fall Washingtonians voted to legalize background checks on all gun sales by 18 points. Now voters in the state say they support background checks on all gun sales by 44 points, 68/24. 82% of voters in the state say extended background checks have either had a positive or no impact on their lives, while only 18% claim a negative impact. Even among gun owners 78% grant that extended background checks have had no adverse effect on their lives, and they support the policy 61/31.

Washington voters were on the leading edge of legalizing gay marriage, marijuana, and extended background checks. And since those policies went in effect the verdict has been no big deal, leading to their increasing popularity.”

Click here for all of the PPP results.

News
Larry Pittman

Rep. Larry Pittman

Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus) is leading the fight in the General Assembly against the Common Core State Standards—or, as he characterizes them, a “part of the Marxist attack on America to destroy us from within that has been going on since before I was born.”

In an email response to a concerned citizen, who emailed the entire House Education Committee on Wednesday to voice her opposition to the Common Core State Standards, Pittman told the writer he plans to lead the fight against it for as long as possible.

“[Common Core] is just the latest expression of a decades-old scheme to wrest children from their parents’ influence and create a workforce and a populace who know only enough to do as they are told and who will not even understand when the government and big corporations have enslaved them,” Pittman wrote.

Common Core State Standards are a set of math and English language arts guidelines for what students should know and be able to do in those subjects. They have been the subject of nationwide controversy, and efforts are underway in North Carolina to either replace them or modify them substantially. (For more background, click here)

Read the full email exchange between Rep. Pittman and the concerned citizen below.

From: Rep. Larry Pittman
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 3:27 PM
To: ‘ _______’ ; Rep. Jeffrey Elmore; Rep. Craig Horn; Rep. Linda Johnson; Rep. Tricia Cotham; Rep. Edward Hanes; Rep. John Ager; Rep. Rob Bryan; Rep. George Cleveland; Rep. Jimmy Dixon; Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield; Rep. Susan Fisher; Rep. Rick Glazier; Rep. Charles Graham; Rep. Jon Hardister; Rep. Pat Hurley; Rep. Frank Iler; Rep. J.H. Langdon; Rep. Chris Malone; Rep. Bert Jones; Rep. Donny Lambeth; Rep. Graig Meyer; Rep. Bobbie Richardson; Rep. Paul Stam; Rep. Dennis Riddell; Rep. Rena Turner; Rep. Chris Whitmire
Cc: Tammy Pittman (Rep. Larry Pittman)
Subject: RE: My Children’s Education

Mrs. _______ ,

Thank you for your message.  You may or may not know that I am the one who has led the fight against Common Core in the Legislature.  I am not through, and will continue the fight as long as I am allowed the privilege of serving in the NC House.  Common Core is just one symptom of a larger assault on essential North Carolina and American values.  It is just the latest expression of a decades-old scheme to wrest children from their parents’ influence and create a workforce and a populace who know only enough to do as they are told and who will not even understand when the government and big corporations have enslaved them.  It is part of the Marxist attack on America to destroy us from within that has been going on since before I was born.  I will never give in to it, and thank you for your encouragement to continue my efforts.

God bless,

Representative Larry G. Pittman
N.C. General Assembly
82nd District   Cabarrus County
919-715-2009
1010 Legislative Building
16 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Larry.Pittman@ncleg.net

 

From:  ___________
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 2:52 PM
To: Rep. Jeffrey Elmore; Rep. Craig Horn; Rep. Linda Johnson; Rep. Tricia Cotham; Rep. Edward Hanes; Rep. John Ager; Rep. Rob Bryan; Rep. George Cleveland; Rep. Jimmy Dixon; Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield; Rep. Susan Fisher; Rep. Rick Glazier; Rep. Charles Graham; Rep. Jon Hardister; Rep. Pat Hurley; Rep. Frank Iler; Rep. J.H. Langdon; Rep. Chris Malone; Rep. Bert Jones; Rep. Donny Lambeth; Rep. Graig Meyer; Rep. Larry Pittman; Rep. Bobbie Richardson; Rep. Paul Stam; Rep. Dennis Riddell; rina.turner@ncleg.net; Rep. Chris Whitmire
Subject: My Children’s Education

 

Dear NCGA Education Committee Member,

I feel it is my duty as a voter to make you aware of my standing on a very important issue.

I am 100% against our nations idea of “Common Core.”  It is holding back the potential of the children in this great nation.

I am writing you to say I support the North Carolina Plan of Education.

Please help the students of North Carolina have the opportunity to succeed to their highest potential.  After all isn’t that what our education system is for.

Sincerely,

_________
Commentary

Bob Luddy 2You have to hand it to the massively oblivious Bob Luddy. One of the state’s leading hard right, fat cat political funders probably thought he was showing what a principled guy he is when he penned this letter promising Republican lawmakers a cutoff in campaign funds because he dislikes the House budget proposal.

What he did instead, of course, was to show how just how corrupt and out of control the state’s political system has gotten when a rich moneybags can, effectively,  publicly admit that he buys influence with his campaign money and then threaten to turn off the spigot because he doesn’t get his way. If ever there was a crystal clear demonstration of how the Citizens United decision and the recent toxic expansion in pay-to-pay politics that it has spawned needs to be reversed this was it.

News

The nation’s top teachers say family stress and poverty are their students’ biggest hurdles when it comes to learning in the classroom, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Jennifer Dorman, Maine’s 2015 Teacher of the Year, told The Washington Post that helping her students cope with these outside-of-the-classroom barriers to academic success is the most important part of her job.

“But on a national level, those problems are not being recognized as the primary obstacles,” said Dorman.

Scholastic, Inc. partnered with the Council of Chief State School Officers to survey the 2015 state Teachers of the Year. All but ten of the 56 TOYs responded.

Other barriers to student success? Learning and psychological problems, English language challenges, substance abuse, bullying and inadequate nutrition, in that order, were other problems ranked by teachers.

Another finding from the survey, highlighted by WaPo’s Lyndsey Layton, was teachers’ dissatisfaction with analyzing data.

The unpopularity of data is surprising in an era when schools and teachers are urged to adopt data-driven instruction.

Mark Mautone, New Jersey’s Teacher of the Year, relies heavily on data to fine-tune his work with autistic students at an elementary school in Hoboken.

“At the same time, there are other things that do drive instruction — poverty, family stress, all those multiple measures that could affect the outcome,” Mautone said. “Data is important, but if a kid doesn’t have clothes to wear or a pencil to do their homework, the main concern becomes the well-being of the child.”

Read the survey here.

Commentary

In 2013 the North Carolina General Assembly rejected new federal funds to expand health insurance coverage in the state, but that hasn’t stopped local governments from urging the Governor and legislators to change course.

Counties such as Mecklenburg and Durham have passed Medicaid expansion resolutions as have cities like Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Even Sen. Phil Berger’s hometown of Eden officially went on record endorsing expansion. The Rockingham County towns of Reidsville and Madison have since joined Eden.

This month three more counties — Nash, Edgecombe, and Chatham — joined the chorus.

As retired cardiologist Jim Foster pointed out to the Chatham Commissioners there are tremendous economic benefits to accepting more federal Medicaid dollars. From news coverage of the resolution:

“Anytime money flows into the economy, it ripples through and multiplies,” Foster said.

He pointed to a George Washington University study that broke down the costs and revenues from expanding Medicaid.

The study broke figures down for the state and for its 100 counties.

In Chatham, for example, the study stated that not expanding Medicaid cost 136 jobs and $6 million in gross product.e study Dr. Foster mentions can be found here.

Approval of the Nash County resolution was unanimous and Commissioners added a call for simultaneous reforms to Medicaid. This makes sense. In fact, nearly every expansion state is also reforming the program at the same time.

There is no reason North Carolina’s leaders can’t learn to walk and chew gum like most other states in the country.