To JoAnna Barnes, it’s the biggest education story you’ve never heard of in North Carolina.
Barnes, a Triangle attorney and president of the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of N.C., says the state’s education leaders have, for about a year, been devising sweeping policy changes to how North Carolina identifies children in need of special education services.
The policy that they crafted, which was approved by the N.C. State Board of Education in February, will seriously undercount the number of low-income, minority children who qualify, she says, and it’s a violation of federal law.
Barnes, along with advocates like the nonprofit Disability Rights N.C., warned state board members repeatedly that their actions might harm the roughly 200,000 or so children across the state who qualify for special education. When state officials moved forward anyway, Barnes says she filed a complaint this month with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, asking federal education officials to bar North Carolina’s reforms. [Continue reading…]
“This group here and that man there need somewhere else to live.”
When he said it, Donald Dunn, former president of the N.C. Parent Teacher Association, pointed at the legislature and in the direction of the governor’s mansion, respectively, setting off cheers all around.
Dunn was one of just a handful of educators and civil rights leaders who gathered on the front steps of North Carolina’s legislative building Wednesday afternoon to protest the public education policies of the GOP-led legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory, urging voters to show up at the polls this November to cast both parties out.
The heat from the crowd of about 100 or so nearly matched the blazing heat of the afternoon, as a group of pro-public education protesters, calling itself Organize 2020, completed their 23-mile march from schools in Durham and Raleigh to the legislative building. [Continue reading…]
Senate leaders made a big splash touting their two-year plan to raise teacher salaries. They held a packed press conference and launched www.NCTeacherRaise.com, the strange website that – in exchange for handing your contact information over to the NC Republican Senatorial Committee – will let you view information on their plan.
For those who are unwilling to fork over your email address to Senate leader Phil Berger, please allow me to summarize: The Senate claims that by the 2017-18 school year, teacher salaries in North Carolina will average $54,224, an average salary that would propel our state ranking from 41st in the nation to 24th.
Are these claims accurate? [Continue reading…]
There’s simply no way to make sense of the tragedy in Orlando that left 50 people dead and 53 others wounded. It just doesn’t seem possible that one human being could commit such an unspeakably horrific act against fellow human beings in cold blood for whatever twisted motive emerges from the current investigation.
It seems that way every time this happens, when a man opens fire in a movie theater in Colorado or an elementary school classroom in Connecticut or an African-American church in Charleston.
It simply doesn’t make sense.
Neither does the fact that we continue to make it easier for it happen again and again.
Nothing changes after we are horrified and we find out that the shooter was seriously mentally ill or identified with foreign terrorists or domestic hate groups or maybe was tortured himself by a lifetime of agony and abuse and self-loathing.
Sometimes the victims are targeted because they are gay. Sometimes they are targeted because they are African American. Sometimes it’s impossible to know why they were targeted. [Continue reading…]
5. McCrory vs. Obama
Much of the current political debate in North Carolina boils down to competing views of the Governor and the President
There’s a well-known maxim used in many walks of life that “victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” And so it is when it comes to the economy and overall societal wellbeing in the world of policy and politics.
When things are going well, anyone with the slightest connection to political power claims credit. Meanwhile, when things are trending downward, blame usually gets shed like water off of a duck’s back.
Often, the politicians in question have very little to do with the trends for which they are claiming credit or shunning blame. Frequently, it’s just a matter of having the good fortune of being in office at the time that natural swings in the business cycle are trending upward or having the bad luck to preside over a decline that was years in the making.
Herbert Hoover had been President for just seven months when the 1929 stock market crash plunged the nation into the Great Depression. As many historians have noted, it was his do-nothing predecessor Calvin Coolidge whose policies (and lack thereof) helped precipitate the crash. Yet Coolidge escaped public blame while Hoover bore the full brunt and has long been considered one of the nation’s failed presidents. [Continue reading…]