Commentary, News

If you weren’t able to attend NC Policy Watch’s Crucial Conversation with Barmak Nassirian of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, that full program is now available online.

This week’s event featured  Nassirian, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis at AASCU, discussing the for-profit college industry and why it has become rife with sketchy operators who take advantage of vulnerable consumers.

Please watch and then share this special presentation:
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After months of controversy, Governor McCrory yesterday signed a controversial economic development package ostensibly aimed at giving the state the tools it needs to compete for business investment in the global economy. Unfortunately, the latest version of the bill—HB 117, the misnamed NC Competes Act—doubles down on an outdated vision for economic competitiveness that relies on lowering business tax costs rather than investing in strategic development that boosts business productivity and encourages growth in those industry sectors most likely to thrive.

Although there are some positive steps taken in the legislation—notably requiring wealthier communities to pitch in more for certain incentive projects—on balance, it is unlikely to deliver on the promises that “competitiveness” is supposed to provide, namely jobs and economic prosperity that benefits everyone.

The final legislation contains many of the problematic provisions seen in earlier versions. Here are just five issues that make this a bad deal for North Carolina: Read More


The U.S. House approved a stopgap spending bill (277-151) on Wednesday to keep the federal government operating through December 11th.

Congressman David Price (NC-04) was among just four members of the state delegation to support the continuing resolution:

“I once again join my colleagues in urging Speaker Boehner to resume bipartisan budget negotiations and produce reasonable, responsible funding levels that can allow the appropriations process to move forward. Today, we’re buying ourselves a couple of months. Instead of lurching toward another crisis in December, let’s actually come to a consensus on the kind of investments in our future that a great country must make.”

Here’s how the rest of North Carolina’s U.S. House delegation voted:


Reps. McHenry, Price, Adams, Butterfield

Rep. G.K. Butterfield – 1st District
Rep. David Price – 4th District
Rep. Patrick McHenry – 10th District
Rep. Alma Adams – 12th district

Rep. Renee Ellmers – 2nd District
Rep. Walter Jones – 3rd District
Rep. Virginia Foxx – 5th District
Rep. Mark Walker – 6th District
Rep. David Rouzer – 7th District
Rep. Robert Pittenger – 9th District
Rep. Mark Meadows – 11th District
Rep. George Holding – 13th District

Not voting
Rep. Richard Hudson – 8th District


Dear NC Policy Watch readers,

It’s been a great pleasure to connect with all of you and bring you news and information about what’s going on with public education here in North Carolina.

Today is my last day with NC Policy Watch, although I’ll still be wrapping up some remaining projects over the next few weeks. But do not despair: Policy Watch will continue its work covering important education issues—if you know anyone interested in working as an education reporter, please do be in touch!

I am excited to announce I’ll be joining the Fletcher Foundation as an education specialist. In that role, I’ll be conducting research, analysis and reporting on issues pertaining to education in North Carolina. In particular I’ll be taking closer looks at trends related to charter schools, educational equity, and the broader area of school choice, just to name a few topics.

And I will continue to collaborate with my colleagues at Policy Watch, so keep your eyes peeled for more from me here, too.

If you’d like to drop me a line, you can now find me at

Thanks again for reading and supporting NC Policy Watch.

Commentary, News

Dan ForestYesterday was a wild and wacky day (and night) in the already wacky world of North Carolina policy and politics as lawmakers stayed in session past four o’clock this morning and sent all kinds of new potential laws to the Governor — often with only a cursory review of what they actually will do.

For some of the players in the drama, however, the chaos of end-of-session sausage making was clearly not enough to hold their complete attention. Take Lt. Governor Dan Forest, for example. Yesterday, the presiding officer of the state Senate took three hours out of his workday to serve as “guest host” on Called 2 Action Radio — an program hosted by a self-described “Christian wacko” named Steve Noble (In 2011, Noble released a book entitled “The Making of a Christian Wacko: Are You Next?”)

In case you’re not familiar with Mr. Noble and his program, it is a syndicated show based in Raleigh in which the host and his guests spew a steady stream of vitriol and condemnation — especially toward gays, Muslims, Mormons and anyone else who does does not adhere to their particular brand a far right, fundamentalist religiosity. Just last week, Noble held forth on multiple occasions on the supposed incompatibility of Islam and the the U.S. Constitution, how he “hates Islam,” how the Bible is explicitly pro-capitalist, how Donald Trump has twice violated “Jesus’ prohibition against divorce except in cases of sexual immorality” and, well, you get the idea.

According to the folks at Right Wing Watch, Noble said the following in the run-up to the vote on the marriage discrimination amendment back in 2012:

“The homosexual lifestyle is not an orientation it’s just a temptation, we all face that, but they’re the ones, that’s the only group of sinners that’s chosen to try to attack the entire world, let alone the word of God, to say ‘no, no, we’re going to keep fighting until you all agree with us that this thing that we know as a sin, isn’t.”

Noble went on to describe homosexuality as, among other things: “the playground of Satan and the evil forces against God’s way.”

Yesterday, a post on on Forest’s Facebook page stated that:

“Dan is the fill in guest host for Steve Noble’s nationally syndicated radio show today. On live now with Congressman Mark Meadows. Tomorrow we will post the full three hour podcast where you can hear Dan interview Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, David Barton, Rep. Meadows and more>’
Then in the middle of the afternoon, Forest tweeted the following:
“On air in place of Steve Noble for the next few hours. Have presidential candidates, business and faith leaders on your local radio station.”
As of yet, the promised podcast has yet to materialize on either the Called 2 Action website, Forest’s website or his Facebook page. We’ll keep an ear and eye out.