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Sex license plateWe’ve known for a long time that the chief mission of the Pope Center for Higher Education is to undermine and dismantle North Carolina’s system of universities and community colleges. As reported in this space on numerous occasions, the group puts out almost-daily missives calling for higher education to be privatized, more expensive and more exclusive.

But why? What’s behind this strange hatred for something that most people would regard as American as apple pie? A new fundraiser from the group may finally contain to key to understanding the Pope Center’s peculiar mania: the problem is that students are having too much fun.

In an appeal sent out yesterday the group list five things that it claims will happen if one sends them money. Here is #3:

3) Academic quality will take center stage.
If alumni learn that general education at most schools is lousy (we have published a detailed report on UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State), that grade inflation is rampant, and there’s still too much partying and sex. They will insist on improvements.” (Emphasis supplied).

Ah hah — the truth comes out! It always seemed a safe bet that the Pope people were a cadre of Vernon Wormer wannabes. Now, there’s confirmation.

 

You know North Carolina has jumped off the cliff into the abyss when even two conservative figures with close ties to the John Locke Foundation are deriding the latest budget and tax policy choices made by state leaders.

Here, for instance, is longtime Locke Foundation Board member Assad Meymandi in Saturday’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer:

“Some 60 years ago, the founding fathers of the new North Carolina – transforming an agrarian society into an educational, technical and industrial state – folks like the late Bill Friday, Archie Davis, Gov. Luther Hodges and others saw the future salvation of our beloved state by heavily investing in education.

Their efforts have produced, among other things, a very strong UNC system of 16 campuses, parallel with the creation of the incomparable network of community colleges. They also advocated a strong N.C. Symphony, N.C. Museum of Art and other cultural and artistic institutions to attract educated and culturally inclined people to the state. Investing in education has paid off. N.C. economy has thrived because of its excellent public universities. UNC-Chapel Hill alone brings in annually around $900 million in research money and grants. It is truly frightening to see what the legislature is doing to the budgets of UNC system, N.C. community college system and UNC-TV. Read More

With the House’s budget plan moving to the floor Wednesday,  the head of the state’s community college system is making it clear he’s concerned with the numbers being floated thus far. Dr. Scott Ralls issued the following statement Tuesday:

scott-ralls“We are very concerned about the direction that the House Budget would take North Carolina’s community colleges.  Our per student funding from state resources has declined significantly, and we are already funded at a much lower level than other sectors of education in our state.  While the House Budget recognizes additional roles for community colleges to play and students for us to serve, it continues an overall erosion of resources that place a monumental challenge on all 58 of our community colleges. Our hope is that the final budget will better reflect the vital role community colleges play in our state’s economic recovery and reflect the Senate position.”

Still trying to make sense of the 2012 General Assembly?

The Executive Director of the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research joined us in studio last week to discuss the winners and losers following the contentious, short legislative session.

Ran Coble shares his thoughts on the depth of the cuts that were made in state spending, fact-checks the claims the budget will lead to new job creation, and weighs in on the fall elections.

Coble also explains why he believes the worst decision of the two-year session may have been  the General Assembly’s override of Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of a bill that gives all North Carolina community colleges the ability to refuse to participate in a low-interest federal student loan program.

“And I just think that’s a travesty for the kids in community college trying to get money to pay for an education,” explains Coble.

To hear an excerpt of Coble’s radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below. To download a podcast of the full interview or listen online, visit the Radio Interview section of the N.C. Policy Watch website:

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