Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Progressive Voices Top Story

Active shooter drills are traumatizing our children

It’s September and America’s school children are back in class. They’re greeted every day with the usual staples of education in America: new classes and teachers, the latest and trendiest technology and school supplies followed shortly by relentless test taking. It is probable they will also be met with more recent school staples: active shooter drills and armed guards or police monitoring their hallways.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Does money matter in public education? Let us count the ways.

Powerful new research confirms numerous benefits of substantially increasing public investments For decades, a debate raged in education policy circles: does money matter? While this question has definitively been answered by academics, it will undoubtedly be the subject of heated debate over the next year in North Carolina.   In June, court-appointed consultants submitted a much-anticipated report detailing how North Carolina can meet its constitutional requirement to provide a “sound, basic education” to all students.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

NC’s late summer political turmoil undermines democracy

The confluence of three essentially unprecedented events combined to make last week an extraordinary one in the modern history of North Carolina policy and politics. On Tuesday, the state conducted a special election to choose 15% of its delegation to the U.S House of Representatives. Under normal circumstances, such an event and its aftermath would have dominated the news cycle all week – especially given that one of the two districts had been the subject of intense national scrutiny ever since rampant ballot fraud tainted the 2018 vote. Not last week.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

After deflating charter school report, NC must confront the failures of school choice

Surrounded by the labyrinthine performance metrics of North Carolina’s charter school sector, Comment 12, a Pepto Bismol-colored side note to a 2016 report for the North Carolina legislature, is easy to overlook. The report dryly notes that, while charters may be more likely to earn an “A” than traditional schools, they’re more likely to earn an “F” as well, fitting for a K-12 movement often argued in the extremes.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Gerrymandering in NC: Not dead yet

Nomination of longtime conservative financier and partisan as possible referee makes clear that GOP is still resisting real change There has been a great deal of understandable celebrating in recent days in the aftermath of the September 3rd ruling by a bipartisan panel of Superior Court judges that struck down North Carolina’s state legislative maps as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. Across the state and nation...

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Defending Democracy Progressive Voices Top Story

NC could be on a path to fairer maps and better government

If politics can be described as a contact sport, it’s perhaps fitting to say that when the Republicans who control North Carolina’s General Assembly went to court to defend the extreme gerrymandering that has helped keep them in power, they suffered no less than an epic beat-down. Three judges capped years of litigation with an explosive Sept. 3 ruling that scraps the current state House and Senate election district maps and requires them to be redrawn so they treat all voters...

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Another year, another monster storm: Our leaders must act on climate change

I was almost 16 years old in August 1998, when Hurricane Bonnie – traveling at a sluggish six miles per hour, about the speed of a brisk jog – cut up the North Carolina coastline. But my memories of the night it chewed up my hometown are indelible.   The pine trees bent and broke, the power transformer on the corner gave off a mechanical cough and exploded with a shower of incandescent sparks, and the house...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The Right’s silly and simplistic attacks on “socialism”

Ever since Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders launched his first campaign for the presidency in 2015, America has found itself immersed in a renewed debate over the concept of “socialism.” This is, of course, not a new discussion. The word itself goes back at least to the 19th Century and many of the ideas associated with it can be traced to the beginning of human history.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

It’s time to hit the reset button on the privatization of public education

Opponents of traditional public schools are scrambling to defend the diversion of public funds to charter and private schools. They argue that since education itself is a public good, it shouldn’t matter where a student is educated: any school, regardless of its mission, quality, curriculum, student composition, staff experience, or student outcomes supports the public good, and therefore should be financially supported by the state.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

New school year brings the Right’s war on public education into sharp focus

There was a time in the United States not that many years ago in which K-12 public education was taken as a given – something as fundamental to the health and wellbeing of society as drinking water and law enforcement and public roads. It may not have always lived up to this ideal (particularly in places where the great evil of racial discrimination and segregation held sway), but it’s fair to say that the American public school classroom was widely understood...

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

1940’s Mississippi? No, this happened in 21st Century North Carolina

A young Black man is accused of killing two white people. White community members begin making baldly racist calls for the suspect to be hanged, shot or otherwise “taken care of” by a gang of vigilantes. The county prosecutor quickly assures the public he will seek the death penalty. The threats of lynching continue. Even the defense attorneys receive death threats.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Mark Johnson’s wasteful reading test saga continues

When North Carolina officials put a stop, at least for the time being, to a badly mishandled contracting process for a new K-3 reading test operator Tuesday, it’s as if they read the writing on the wall.

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