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This morning, state lawmakers heard from school superintendents across North Carolina who came to voice their concerns about budget cuts, merit pay, vouchers and digital learning, among other issues facing public schools.

Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Ed Pruden opened the dialogue with the declaration that vouchers and education tax credits are the single greatest threat to our public schools. Publicly funded private schools, he contends, would be positioned to pick and choose the students that will perform the best and create a two tier, segregated school system that turns its back on 70 years of progress in North Carolina. Read More

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Pat McCrory may be North Carolina’s Governor-elect and a  hyper-gerrymandered legislature may be solidly in conservative hands, but there was one man who was the biggest winner in the state last night and his name is Art Pope.

The chain store magnate and failed politician of the last century has clearly become the single most powerful figure in the North Carolina political world of the early 21st Century. Through the steady application of boatloads of cash and an incessant drumbeat of fear-based messaging from a multi-tentacled propaganda machine, Pope has emerged as the state’s de facto boss.  Read More

Reporter Craig Jarvis of Raleigh’s News & Observer tweeted this afternoon that House Speaker Thom Tillis referred the indictment of Rep. Stephen LaRoque to the House Ethics Committee this morning.

This certainly sounds like an appropriate action and at least a first step in dealing with the scandal.

As this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing detailed, however, a) it’s been a long, darn time in coming, and b) there would appear to be a lot more to be done. Let’s hope more action is in the offing.

 

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(Please note: The main NC Policy Watch website — the usual home for the Fitzsimon File – is down temporarily this morning for a very brief repair so today we’re cross-posting Chris’ regular “Monday Numbers” here on The Progressive Pulse.  The main PW site will be back up very shortly).  

Editors note: This morning’s Fitzsimon File cross-posted from the main NC Policy Watch website.

11,802—increase in the number of students expected to enroll in North Carolina public schools in the 2012-2013 school year (N.C. Department of Public Instruction)

189 million—amount in dollars of the reduction of total funding for public schools in the 2012-2013 budget approved by the House and Senate last week (“New math on school budget,” WRAL.com,  June 21, 2012)

3.042—number of teachers and teacher assistant jobs lost in the 2011-2012 school year as a result of the budget passed by the 2011 General Assembly (N.C. Department of Public Instruction)

3,400—number of teacher jobs at risk for 2012-2013 school year as a result of the $189 million cut in overall education funding (“Fact Check; the forgotten budget,: WRAL.com, June 22, 2012)

1,440,212—number of students enrolled in public schools at start of 2009-2010 academic year (N.C. Department of Public Instruction) Read More

The conservative leadership in the N.C. General Assembly has been trying to repair its image and dreadful approval ratings in recent months after more than a year of substantive and P.R. disasters. 

Hence, the phenomenon of a group that has made one of its top priorities the repeal of a law known as the Racial Justice Act getting so visible all of a sudden in pushing to jumpstart the long dormant movement to compensate the mostly African-American victims of forced sterilization. When one of your signature causes amounts to harmful and hateful effort to, effectively,  reinstate racial discrimination in the application of the death penalty, your image on issues related to race can use a lot of burnishing.

Unfortunately, as so often happens with a group that’s connected to and reliant upon the far right Tea Party crowd, doing the right thing is not so easy Read More