Mark your calendar for the next N.C. Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon on Tuesday, February 10:

“The constitutional challenge to school vouchers: Where do things stand? What happens next?”

Click here to register

For the time being, school vouchers have come to North Carolina. Thanks to the state’s conservative political leadership, several million dollars in taxpayer money now flow to unaccountable private and religious schools throughout the state.

Last summer, state Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood struck down the voucher plan as unconstitutional saying: “The General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when they are sent with public taxpayer money to private schools that have no legal obligation to teach them anything.”


Since that time, however, both of the state’s higher courts have allowed the voucher program to proceed. Meanwhile, the case challenging its constitutionality has been fast-tracked for final argument. On February 17, lawyers for both sides will appear before the state Supreme Court to make their cases.

What will the parties say? What should we expect to happen? What can and should concerned citizens do?

Please join us as we explore the answers to these questions and others with one of the lead plaintiffs in the constitutional challenge to the law, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mike Ward. (Pictured above, right)


Ward will be joined by two of the state’s leading education policy advocates, attorneys Christine Bischoff (picture far left) of the North Carolina Justice Center and Jessica Holmes (pictured at left) of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Don’t miss the chance to get fully up to speed on this important issue at this critical juncture.

When: Tuesday, February 10, at noon — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: The North Carolina Association of Educators Building, 700 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27601

Space is limited – preregistration required.

Cost: $10, admission includes a box lunch.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or


McCrory budgetGov. Pat McCrory held a formal signing ceremony to herald his approval of the new FY 2015 state budget this morning. The signing took place around a fancy old desk that was set up in front of some red carpeted stairs in the Governor’s mansion with a group of legislators and administration officials standing in the background. It was, in other words, a moment of gubernatorial pomp and circumstance — a moment in which the Governor was positioned to rise above the political fray and strike a statesmanlike pose.

Unfortunately, the Guv couldn’t help himself and in the middle of the ceremony — without any prompting from the media — decided to take cheap shots at his opponents. Read More


Phil BergerThe over-the-top invective and mean-spirited attacks from the leader of the North Carolina’s state Senate, Sen. Phil Berger, continue to spew forth with disturbing regularity. Today, using language and uttering accusations that one would have thought unworthy of one of the state’s top elected officials, Berger described modest efforts by the North Carolina Association of Educators and other supporters of public schools to call attention to the state’s ongoing underfunding of its public schools and attacks on teachers as: “bully tactics of an organized union that puts kids’ safety at risk to gin up its membership and inflate the salaries of its executives.”

Good lord — somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!

The NCAE has, if anything, bent over backwards in recent years to try to work with GOP leaders in the General Assembly. Despite incessant, targeted attacks Read More


Public ed cutsYou gotta hand it to the conservative politicians running state government these days; their willingness and capacity for waging war on public schools (what they often derisively refer to as “government schools”) and the educators who make them work remains something to behold.

Fresh off what was quite arguably the worst legislative session for the state’s public schools in memory; state legislators are now attacking already demoralized teachers and concerned parents for having the temerity to utter even a modest peep of concern. The utter spitefulness of these attacks is really something to behold and, is as is so common with conservative fire-breathers, so disproportionate to the protest that it really makes a body wonder who is advising these people.

Honestly, you would think that at some point these folks would figure out that the more they treat teachers and public schools as punching bags, the more damage they are doing to their long-term political prospects.

But I guess when you’re such a true believer in the anti-public education cause that you’re willing to fund schools that teach that slavery wasn’t all bad and that humans and dinosaurs trod the earth together or command teachers to tell untruths about human reproduction, you probably figure might as go all in with the plan to tear down and privatize  the whole system.


Craig Jarvis of Raleigh’s News & Observer has an interesting (and infuriating) story this morning about the ongoing and downright ridiculous approach pursued by legislative leaders with respect to veto override votes.

It’s been so long since the 2011 session and even the January midnight madness session, that it’s easy to forget that these people are still claiming the authority to override vetoes issued by the Governor last summer — if and when they ever muster the votes.

This is, of course, outrageous. It’s Tom Delay/Scott Walker politics at its worst. Read More