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Democrats were confident they would have the votes needed to sustain Governor Perdue’s veto of the controversial voter ID bill.

They did indeed have the votes (67-52)  to turn back Republican efforts to pass House Bill 351, requiring all North Carolina voters show a photo-id before being allowed to vote at the polls.

But knowing that defeat was at hand, House Majority Leader Rep. Paul Stam voted with the Democrats on Tuesday. This enabled Stam to use a procedural maneuver to have the override vote reconsidered on another day.

The House Minority Leader implored Stam not to stoop to such a tactic. Rep Joe Hackney said it was time to put the partisan Voter ID legislation to rest, so lawmakers could move on to other issues and not be forced to make the same arguments “over and over” in the next session.

Rep Stam’s answer:

“It’s not settled till it’s settled right.”

And so, even though the GOP’s veto override failed, House Bill 351 remains alive for the remainder of the 2011-12 session.

To hear the exchange between Reps. Hackney and Stam, click below:

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The tornadoes that devastated so much of the region hit Shaw University in downtown Raleigh hard. The 145-year old college closed its doors for the semester due to the widespread damage across campus.

Shaw University founded in 1865

Shaw, which is the oldest black college in the South, played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. Fifty one years ago last Friday April 15th, Ella Baker persuaded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to invite university students to the Youth Leadership Conference at Shaw on Easter weekend. At this conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was born and history was in the making. Read More

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If you’ve been following the Wake County School diversity debate, here’s a new phase you may need to know: “controlled choice.”

Controlled choice plans create zones and allow families to choose within their zone, provided that admitting students to the school of their choice does not upset the racial and ethnic balance at that school.

Michael Alves, a consultant out of Massachusetts, will present the concept on Tuesday to the Wake County Board of Education’s Student Assignment Committee. He tells WRAL:

“The idea is to be fair,” Alves said, who has worked for nearly 30 years with other large school systems on assignment plans. “You subject everything to a practicality test. It has to be a plan that is implementable. It has to have a fairness test.”

The Wake Education Partnership and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce invited Alves to visit with local business leaders and elected officials to discuss key elements needed in any choice plan.

State NAACP President Rev. William Barber says he has not yet seen the details, but would be skeptical of any plan that relies on “selective real estate” over sound research.

If you’re interested in learning more, Tuesday’s open meeting is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wake County Public School System Administration Building.

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Dr. June Atkinson says she is distressed that the Wake County school board continues its move away from the system’s socioeconomic diversity policy.

North Carolina’s Superintendent of Public Instruction says it’s essential students experience diversity for themselves, rather than learning to base their opinions on what they see on television.

She also has reservations about moving to an assignment plan that would concentrated poverty in some schools, creating further hardship for certain students.

Atkinson discusses the controversy surrounding Wake County schools and the state’s new education budget this weekend on “News & Views.” For a preview of her interview with Chris Fitzsimon, please click below:

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Felipe Matos is among the top 20 community college students in America, but he’s ineligible for financial aid at the top universities that have accepted him. Gaby Pacheco has three education degrees and plans to use music therapy as a teaching tool for autistic children and adults. Brought to the United States at age 2, Carlos Roa wanted to join the military but could not because of his immigration status.

Three months ago, they embarked on Trail of Dreams, a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to Washington.  These students are facing much more than sore feet; several are undocumented, and they risk deportation and detention to share their stories and raise awareness about the need for just immigration reform.

These students exemplify why support is growing for the DREAM Act, federal legislation that would enable students brought to the U.S. at a young age to legally access higher education and financial aid. Every year, 65,000 students graduate U.S. high schools but are denied a college education because of our broken and unjust immigration system.  These students include valedictorians, class presidents and community leaders.  Yet they are refused the opportunity to further their education and give back to America — the country they see as their home.

Just graduating high school can be more challenging for undocumented students than for their peers; they often must learn English as a second language, take care of family responsibilities that their parents cannot manage without understanding English, overcome low socio-economic status and all that that entails, and cope with the psychological trauma of living in fear of deportation.

Trail of Dreams, which made its way through the Triangle last week, is a journey of hope for these students and the 12 million undocumented migrants in the United States.

For more information, check out the Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s Statement of Support.