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You’d have thought caring and thinking Americans would have learned the lesson once and for all when five conservative justices of the Supreme Court installed George W. Bush as President in 2000. More recently here in North Carolina, the message was delivered loud and clear by House Speaker Thom Tillis when he made plain his plans to “divide and conquer” his political opponents and then went about holding an unannounced legislative session in the middle of the night to punish groups who dared oppose his plans. And in just the last few weeks, a new chapter in the book of brazen, hardball politics was written with the selection of the state’s leading right-wing political spender as our new state budget director.

And still, it always seems to come as a shock each time the win-at-all-costs far right breaches yet another rule of common political decency, respect and courtesy. It’s as if the following thought process occurs over and over in the minds of progressives: 

  1. “Well, at least we’ve got that problem contained. The conservatives will have to work to find common ground now.”
  2. “Did you hear what some reporter said the right-wing is considering? They wouldn’t do that would they?
  3. “Son of a gun! I can’t believe they did that! These people have absolutely no shame.”

The latest installment in this familar pattern occurred yesterday here in Wake County when the right-wing majority of the County Board of Commissioners, Read More

Be sure to check out this morning’s edition of At the schoolhouse door from Chris Hill at the NC Justice Center’s Education and Law Project in which he uses the recent scandal surrounding a Wake County school board member as a starting point to discuss an even more troubling education scandal.

“While the story about Goldman is salacious, nothing is more scandalous than what North Carolina students face after its last rounds of state budget cuts.” 

Click here to read the entire post..

Notwithstanding the scandal swirling around a couple of its board members, it appears that the Wake County school board made some incremental and welcome progress last night in its ongoing effort to bring a reasoned, balanced and sustainable approach to the ultra-challenging subject of school assignments. The board took action to return to an adjusted version of its 2011-12 assignment plan in order to minimize the amount of disruption that will occur for students, families and schools as it works toward a comprehensive plan for the 2014-15 school year.

Good for the board.

Meanwhile, however, at least one school board member continued to publicly champion the flawed and divisive approach advanced by the right-wing majority ousted in the 2011 election.  Read More

In case you missed them, a couple of local education policy experts had some insightful takes on the departure of fired Wake schools chief, Anthony Tata in recent days. 

First, Chris Hill, Director of the Education and Law Project at the North Carolina Justice Center explained how Tata represents a problematic trend in modern education in the most recent edition of his project’s newsletter At the Schoolhouse Door. 

“The troubling thing about Gen. Tata is that his background was not in education Read More

WRAL.com reported last evening that the controversy swirling around the dismissal of former Wake schools superintendent Anthony Tata might somehow have an impact on school funding.

The story quoted conservative Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble as indicating that the move could interfere with the commissioners approving a needed bond referendum for next year. Coble called the dismissal “a slap in the face.”

Let’s hope Coble isn’t truly serious. While high emotions during such a tumultuous week are perhaps understandable, the notion that conservative county commissioners would punish students and teachers for years to come over a personnel disagreement is, by any fair assessment, outrageous.

As the story also noted, the Wake schools continue to grow at a rapid pace with thousands of children joining the system every year. Let’s hope that adults of all political persuasions put the events of the last few days aside when making decisions about how to handle such a critical challenge. And let’s also hope that Tata, who has supported a new bond, does the honorable thing and counsels Coble and his conservative friends to calm down.