Archives by: Billy Ball

Billy Ball

About the author

Billy Ball, Managing Editor, joined Policy Watch in January 2016. In his 15+ years as a North Carolina reporter, he’s covered public schools, state and local politics, courts, the environment, criminal justice and immigration for publications like The Independent Weekly, The Sanford Herald andThe Monroe Enquirer-Journal. During that time, he’s won more than 20 state, regional and national awards for his reporting, including first place awards for education reporting and news feature reporting in 2016. His 2014 reporting on the death of Michael Anthony Kerr, which earned him a national award for “media impact” from The Media Consortium, exposed the mistreatment of a North Carolina inmate with mental illness in solitary confinement. His reporting led to ongoing reforms in how the state handles prisoners with a mental illness.
billy@ncpolicywatch.com
919-861-1460

Billy Ball's articles and posts

Original Commentary Other Voices Top Story

After sexual assault allegations, U.S. Senate’s speedy Kavanaugh confirmation must come to a screeching halt

To this point, everything about Brett Kavanaugh -- from his indoctrination in  Kenneth Starr's Clinton probe, to his efforts to quash the Florida recount in the 2000 Bush v. Gore presidential race, and his contentious appointment to the D.C. circuit Court of Appeals, in which Democrats derided the Maryland lawyer as little more than a GOP lackey, and finally to his raucous confirmation hearings before the Senate this summer -- has been mired in partisanship.

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Original Commentary Top Story

After ham-fisted subpoenas, federal officials owe North Carolina an explanation

Best-case scenario: Robert Higdon and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement owe North Carolina a lengthy explanation. Worst-case scenario: They owe us all an apology.

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Education Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: Ethics questions raised on DPI’s $6 million iPad purchase

When N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson announced a $6.6 million purchase of iPads to support early grade literacy in August, it seemed welcome news for North Carolina school districts that have long complained of inadequate state resources.

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Education Top Story

Monday numbers: America’s staggering diversity gap between students of color and teachers of color

Public school demographics in the United States are shifting, but, based on emerging national data, there’s reason to believe public schools are struggling to keep up with the changes.

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Original Commentary Other Voices Top Story

Pat McCrory, at last, makes a stand

North Carolina made history again Monday, the not-so-bad kind. If you were in earshot of Raleigh Monday, you might have heard: The state’s five living former governors—two Republicans, three Democrats: Jim Martin, Jim Hunt, Mike Easley...

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Education Top Story

Early board of ed departures may provide path for Cooper to bypass legislative roadblocks

When State Board of Education members Bill Cobey and Becky Taylor step down next month, it’ll mark the third time in six months that members of North Carolina’s top school board depart before their term is up.

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Education Top Story

“Show me the money!” North Carolina school boards seek to collect on state’s long-running school funding tab

“Show me the money!” Minnie Forte-Brown, president of the N.C. School Boards Association (NCSBA), which advocates for local boards statewide, is standing in a cramped computer lab at George Watts Elementary in Durham with a handful of reporters and school advocates.

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Original Commentary Other Voices Top Story

What Donald Trump will never understand about journalism

More than a decade ago, a man who identified himself as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans told me in a crudely-written email that I should leave the South—my home for nearly my entire life—after I authored a critical column on “Silent Sam,” UNC-Chapel Hill’s Confederate statue and perennial controversy.

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Original Commentary Top Story

North Carolina lawmakers remind us yet again why they’ve earned our distrust

Forgive us if it’s difficult to stomach General Assembly leaders’ attempt to cast themselves as avenging heroes in this scenario, rather than anti-democratic bilkers. Spare us the Batman and Robin act, jokers.

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Original Commentary Top Story

N.C. General Assembly has failed to act, but the time to stop Chemours’ pollution is now

“How long before we say enough is enough?” state lawmaker Ted Davis Jr. asked his colleagues in the N.C. House in February. “How much more is Chemours going to get away with before something is done?”

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