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Last week’s Policy Watch profile of state Board of Education nominee A.L. “Buddy” Collins by Education Reporter Lindsay Wagner was enough to cause a believer in public education to have some real concerns about Collins’ appropriateness for the position. Collins admitted in the interview to essentially supporting the entire far-right school privatization agenda.

Over the weekend, however, came more damning news: As reported by Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post, Collins is also apparently a loyal trooper in the ongoing social conservative effort to oppose laws and policies that protect LGBT kids from bullying.

This is from the HuffPo article:

“A. L. “Buddy” Collins is an attorney and a longtime member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board of Education. He has clashed with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) over the years surrounding the group’s efforts to stop bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

‘Buddy Collins has always been a retrograde voice, inimical to the interests of youth, on the school board,’ said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. Read More

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Note: This post has been changed from its original form to reflect a correction regarding how the bill addresses funding of charter schools.

A bill introduced Thursday would take oversight of public charter schools away from the N.C. State Board of Education and put them under a newly created charter oversight board.

The new legislation, Senate Bill 337, revives several of the controversial proposal trotted out in 2010, including changing the oversight provisions.

The new bill was introduced by state Sens. Dan Soucek and Jerry Tillman, the two Republican co-chairs of the Senate Education and Education Appropriations committees.

Charter schools are schools that receive public education money, but are run outside of the traditional public school system by non-profit boards. When Republican took over control of the state legislature following the 2010 elections, an existing cap of 100 charter schools for the state was removed, leading to a surge of interest for the schools.

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North Carolina is suffering when it comes to professional development for its teachers. Citing cuts to NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT), the elimination of the teaching fellows program and the NC Teacher Academy and other losses, State Superintendent June Atkinson said that “we need more funding than we currently have from our state” to support professional development programs. Read More

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What is it about complete power and the temptation to overreach? The conservatives running the General Assembly have huge and insuperable majorities; they can pass or stop anything they want.

And yet, on just the first real day of the session, they have already spoken loudly and clearly that they have no real intention of  allowing the public to speak or the opponents of their plans to have a say on a series of controversial bills that they plan on ramming through the General Assembly in the coming days.

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Tomorrow, on the second day of the session, lawmakers will take up and apparently act on bills to: Read More

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Here’s another tidbit about K12, Inc., the publicly-traded company trying to open up a virtual charter school in North Carolina.

K12, (NYSE:LRN), the largest virtual education company in the nation, spent $21.5 million in the first eight months of 2012 advertising the online public charter schools it operates in 29 states, according to an article that ran yesterday in USA Today. (My colleague Chris Fitzsimon also made mention of that in his Friday Follies column today).

That’s a decent amount to spend on advertising, especially considering that 85 percent of the company’s revenue comes from public sources. Click here to read more about the ad buys, and how USA Today calculated the estimates.

Lots of ads ran on kid-friendly media outlets, including Nickelodeon, The Cartoon Network and MeetMe.com, a social media site used by teens (and tweens).

The company also may be trying to tap into the disaffected youth market – it spent $3,000 to advertise on VampireFreaks.com, which bills itself as “the Web’s largest community for dark alternative culture,” according to the USA Today article.

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