In this issue:
Superintendent Catherine Truitt denies plan would introduce “merit pay,” but critics strongly disagree
With just a few weeks left before the start of a new school year, districts are scrambling to fill teaching vacancies.
North Carolina educators, and those in other states, are leaving the profession in large numbers on the heels of the traumatic COVID-19 pandemic that, at its worst, led to school closures, remote learning, and unprecedented stress and burnout for teachers.
Moving forward, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that there will be more than 124,000 openings for elementary school teachers and 77,400 high school teachers each year for at least the next decade. Some North Carolina districts have reported hundreds of teacher resignations.[Read more...]
State Treasurer Dale Folwell refers to himself as the “Keeper of the Public Purse.” And since he was elected to the job that includes managing pension funds for state and local government employees, Folwell has been stuffing that purse with cash.
Public pension investments are a complex mix of domestic and international stocks, private equity, real estate, bonds and commodities. Under Folwell’s direction, the pension fund holds more of its money in cash than the department’s own guidelines direct, and has considerably higher cash holdings than similar public pension funds. The department’s own reports show cash was a drag on returns when the stock market was booming.
North Carolina’s pension fund is among the 10 largest public pensions in the country. None of the other nine holds close to as great a proportion of their assets in cash as North Carolina does, according to their most recent financial reports. [Read more...]
But before the crowd of nearly 200 talked about solutions, Megan Peevey took them on a guided tour of the dark corners of opioid addiction most North Carolinians are lucky to never to see for themselves.
It began with a childhood in which she felt isolated and out of step with her peers, Peevey told the crowd assembled at the Wake County Commons building. “From a very young age I felt like I didn’t have the tools everyone else seemed to have,” she said.[Read more...]
***Bonus read: A closer look at the scourge of opioid abuse, and your chance to shape where recovery resources go
ReBuild NC has spent $10.64 million on motels, moving and storage unit expenses in three years for displaced Hurricane Matthew survivors, as construction and administrative delays have kept people from returning to their homes.
The figures were included in Temporary Relocation Assistance (TRA) data provided by ReBuild NC, also known as the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency. The data also include expenses for apartment leases and stipends for friends and family of Hurricane Matthew survivors who privately house them.
As part of an ongoing investigative series, Policy Watch reported earlier this month that ReBuild NC had been unable to provide detailed expenditure documents as requested under public records law. The agency then agreed to send totals, but without supporting documentation. [Read more...]
A broad cross-section of parents is represented on State Superintendent Catherine Truitt’s new Parent Advisory Commission, the superintendent said Thursday.
Truitt made her remarks to the State Board of Education during an update on the 48-member panel she will turn to for insight and perspectives on K-12 education matters.
Some educators and State Board members have been critical of the panel’s makeup, complaining that parents of homeschooled students and private school students are overrepresented. Parents homeschooling children and those with children in private schools have 33% of the panel’s seats. Roughly 76% of the state’s children attend traditional public schools. [Read more…]
With reports that new abortion restrictions in other states are putting women’s health in danger, Attorney General Josh Stein called on North Carolina voters to elect legislators who will support reproductive rights.
“Politicians are playing with women’s lives,” Stein said at a news conference Wednesday. “Decisions about reproductive care are deeply personal. They should be made by a woman in consultation with her loved ones and her doctor. They should not be made by politicians.”
Stein spoke alongside other supporters of reproductive rights as North Carolina faces the possibility of more abortion restrictions. [Read more…]
As you’ve no doubt noticed, our state, nation and planet are experiencing yet another summer of record heat and intense storms. As scientists have been explaining and predicting for decades, climate change resulting from greenhouse-gas-driven global warming is altering weather patterns and spurring big and deeply problematic changes in the Earth’s environment.
It’s a rapidly worsening crisis that’s helping to expedite the extinction of numerous species and render vast swaths of territory increasingly uninhabitable. Across the planet – even here in the U.S. – millions of people have become “climate refugees” as the lands they and numerous other living species once called home have been inundated by rising seas or become inarable deserts.
That now is a time for urgent, all-hands-on-deck action by every individual, group and institution with the slightest ability to help combat this emergency is beyond question.[Read more...]
With the monkeypox outbreak spreading across the country, North Carolina has reported more than 70 cases of the virus so far, according to data compiled by the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Nearly half of the cases have been in Mecklenburg County.
Monkeypox is a rare disease typically found in West and Central Africa. Before this year, most cases in the US have been associated with international travel. The disease often starts with flu-like symptoms and develops into a rash and skin lesions. Monkeypox is not usually fatal, although children, some people with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions can develop more severe illness, according to the World Health Organization. [Read more...]