Other Voices

Other Voices

Progressive Voices Top Story

Legislature creates school funding task force, but appears unwilling and unable to seriously examine NC’s school funding needs

Last week, the General Assembly announced which legislators will serve on the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform. The Task Force, created via the 2017 budget bill, is charged with developing recommendations to radically overhaul North Carolina’s school finance system. A serious review of North Carolina’s school finance system could substantially benefit the state. School funding matters, particularly for students in low-income families. Unfortunately, early indications suggest that the Task Force is uninterested in reforms that would actually improve educational delivery in the state.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

“DREAM” come true: DACA student from NC wins national college scholarship

When a Navy recruiter visited his high school, Carlos was among those students eager to sign up. In communities of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, there’s a long tradition of sending young men into the Navy and Coast Guard. “I thought if I could serve the country in the military, it could help to pay for my college education,” he said recently. “But they told me that since your Social Security card and your driver’s license allow you only to work and drive, we can’t take you.”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

As hurricane season peaks, Harvey provides a flood of lessons for NC

The disaster in Houston should not have come as a surprise. Scores were killed and thousands driven from their homes in catastrophic flooding. An estimated 30% of Harris County (which includes Houston) was underwater at the height of the floods. Billions of dollars in property damage was done, and recovery will take years. Even while relief efforts continue and the human tragedy is mourned, it is important to begin understanding the origins of this disaster, so that we can increase our chances of averting or reducing other disasters to come.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

A simple and basic right that’s still denied to far too many American workers

Time off from work shouldn’t be impossible, but for too many of us, it is.

On Labor Day, everybody in North Carolina who counts on a paycheck should have time for leisure and to recognize and honor the power and purpose of working people united in unions.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

New national survey results: Program for immigrants arriving as children “unreservedly good” for U.S. economy and overall society

Editor’s note: Recently, there have been strong and troubling indications that the Trump administration may act soon to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to as “DACA.” The DACA program has provided protection from deportation and the ability to work and attend school for more than 800,000 young people, including approximately 28,000 in North Carolina. In response to the prospect of such a cruel and inhumane act, an array of divergent groups is speaking out in loud opposition.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

North Carolina: The new model for conservative rule – and progressive renewal

My home state was once a model for progress. For half a century, North Carolina was a beacon of moderation in the South, an outlier dubbed the “Dixie Dynamo” as early as the 1960’s for its farsighted reforms and public investments. The state had its share of problems, especially around the pernicious legacy of Jim Crow, but many of its trend lines were positive and generated an infectious optimism.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

As new school year commences, shortage of basic supplies demonstrates legislature’s failure to invest

This week marks the beginning of the school year for most of North Carolina’s 1.5 million public school students. It’s an exciting time of year for students, parents, and educators, alike, as everyone considers the vast potential for the year ahead. Undoubtedly, this will be a great year for many students. But far too many North Carolina students still face barriers to reaching their full potential due to the General Assembly’s continuing failure to adequately fund our public schools.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Once more, NC lawmakers reject chance to create fair maps

This month, North Carolina lawmakers had a golden opportunity to adopt fair, nonpartisan standards for drawing new legislative voting districts. Instead, they opted for politics as usual, keeping partisanship at the core of a deeply flawed redistricting process. The General Assembly has been ordered by a federal court to redraw dozens of racially gerrymandered legislative districts.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Women’s Equality Day: Celebrate and march for change this Saturday

This Saturday, August 26, we will mark another Women’s Equality Day with a march and rally in Durham, NC. First commemorated in 1971, Women’s Equality Day marks the day – August 26, 1920 – that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, barring voting restrictions based on gender.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

A tale of two North Carolina schools

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court infamously upheld the legality of racial segregation and “Jim Crow” laws. Under the “separate but equal” doctrine, the Court said, public facilities could be lawfully segregated by race as long as both races had “equal” access. Fifty-eight years later, however, in the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education, the Court reversed itself, struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal” and required public schools to be integrated. The ruling, in which the Court observed that separate schools were by no means equal, was one of the seminal moments in the American civil rights movement.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Gerrymandering update: Federal judges push NC lawmakers for new legislative maps sooner rather than later

The three federal judges could have just come right out and said it: The Republicans who rule the N.C. General Assembly have elevated foot-dragging to a fine art. Their stall tactics take the cake.

Instead, the trio overseeing the legislature’s efforts to draw new voting district maps seems to have angled for another prize – for understatement.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

There’s simply no way to know whether NC school vouchers are really helping low-income kids

The leader of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, Darrell Allison, said recently that school vouchers aren’t likely to hurt children from low-income households who use them. But he couldn’t say definitively that the voucher program actually helps these children, either.

Why? Because despite the fact that North Carolina spends millions of taxpayers’ dollars each year on vouchers, we have no meaningful data that can tell us if this is an effective way to help poor students who deserve a high quality education.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Attack on UNC Center for Civil Rights: Even worse than it looks

The optics, as they say, are terrible. But in a state whose motto is “To Be Rather Than to Seem,” it’s even more important to look at the substance.

And the substance is worse.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Uh-oh – it’s the legislature, again

Better get used to it. The N.C. General Assembly, after an all-too-brief adjournment during July, is about to reopen for business in its marble and masonry maze on Raleigh’s Jones Street.

Given this legislature’s track record so far, the big question would seem to be: How much more damage will unfold as majority Republicans seek to carve their narrow-minded agenda even more deeply into the state’s civic bedrock?

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Let’s keep the bar on churches endorsing political candidates

President Trump and others in Washington have recently proposed doing away with the longstanding bar on churches becoming involved in partisan politics. Unfortunately, I have found to my dismay that many people have a simplistic understanding of the importance of keeping charitable, tax-exempt organizations (including houses of worship) out of partisan politics.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

NC budget proponents’ distorted notion of leaps and bounds

When you lower the bar enough for what’s possible, you create a new normal in which an inch forward can be falsely sold as leaps and bounds. The austerity budgeting that has defined nearly a decade of North Carolina policymakers’ approach to serving their communities has been driven by an insatiable appetite among House and Senate leadership for costly tax cuts. This approach has ushered in a new normal in which expectations have been lowered for what our state can and should be.

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