Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices

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Why we march: A North Carolina teacher details the conservative assault on public schools

When I headed off to college, I could not have predicted that many of the funding streams, positions, and benefits in North Carolina’s education system would evaporate over the course of my teaching career. Since 2008, state education funding has been on a downward slide. When adjusted for inflation, North Carolina spends about 7.9% less than it did before the recession.

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Racial mortgage disparities persist as federal housing enforcement lags

In the classic movie film, Gone with the Wind, the owner of the Tara plantation admonished his daughter for remarking that she didn’t care about her home. In a sharp rebuke, Gerald O-Hara declared that “land was the ...
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A new Poor People’s Campaign for the 21st Century launches next week

As daily news of scandal and corruption comes to light, an underlying message emerges: our nation is in dire need of a moral revival. We had a good start fifty years ago when the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood with sanitation workers in Memphis to demand fair wages and dignity. Their “I am a man” signs conveyed a simple message:

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Don’t overthink it: The best solution to what ails NC’s school funding system isn’t that complicated

When the N.C. General Assembly convenes on May 16, legislators will be “welcomed” by a throng of advocates for high-quality public schools – teachers prominent among them. More power to these noble loud-mouths, and may they make headway in their against-the-tide quest for better pay and working conditions, more school resources and (gasp!) more respect.

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#AllIn4PublicSchools: Why thousands are gathering in Raleigh on May 16

In 1999, when I started teaching in rural Alamance County, my mentor, a wise and wonderful woman told me, “Join the NCAE and read what they send you.” NCAE is the acronym for the North Carolina Association of Educators. It is our state chapter of the National Education Association, the professional organization for teachers, teaching assistants, administrators, and others who work in public schools.

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Defending Democracy Progressive Voices Top Story

North Carolinians want the legislature’s judicial attacks to end. It’s time for lawmakers to listen.

When the North Carolina General Assembly convenes in a few weeks for the 2018 legislative short session, lawmakers will once again be asked to consider new judicial voting maps. At last Friday’s meeting of the Joint Judicial Redistricting and Reform Committee, members evaluated three proposals that still appear intended, as one high-ranking official said last year, to affect the partisan makeup of our courts.

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Why both sides are wrong: NC’s teacher pay ranking is even worse than it appears

A tired story repeats itself every year when state rankings of teacher pay are released. Public school advocates claim that North Carolina’s low teacher pay ranking and shortfall from national average pay levels indicate that we aren’t paying our teachers enough. Right-wing pundits then try to rebut the public school advocates by claiming that – when adjusted for North Carolina’s lower cost-of-living – teacher pay is actually pretty good.

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What are they thinking? Proposed 2018 Farm Bill would slash programs to aid the hungry.

The foundational legislation for our farm and food system, known as the Farm Bill, will soon be voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives. This package of laws, which is renewed every few years, authorizes and funds federal nutrition and agriculture programs around the country, supporting farmers and consumers alike. The Farm Bill has a long legacy of bipartisanship.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Even GOP-dominated Congress wouldn’t go along with this Trump scheme for U.S. workers

Imagine your life if your boss could arbitrarily—and legally—take away chunks of your paycheck after you earned it and keep that money for him or herself. As strange as it sounds, that was the basic idea enshrined in a recent Trump administration scheme to let restaurant owners take control over their employees’ tips – a scheme that ultimately went too far even for Republicans in Congress.

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Burr, Tillis vote to revoke protections against discriminatory car loans

America is often touted as a nation of laws, and not of men. But it seems that today some lawmakers have no interest in upholding laws that mandate fairness in financial services – particularly when consumers of color are affected.

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Monday numbers – A closer look at the effort to prevent school violence

65 - number of days since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in which 17 people were killed

57 - percent of Americans who say enacting new laws to try to reduce gun violence should be a priority (according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll)

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School district secession is the wrong path for NC

Public education in North Carolina has its share of challenges, not the least of which has been the state’s ongoing failure to make sure that school systems in poorer communities receive the financial support they need. But in one major respect, the pattern by which most of our school districts are organized helps them serve all their students, no matter their circumstances.

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Five fast facts for Tax Day 2018

Tax Day in 2018 in North Carolina presents an opportunity to make sure our tax code allows us to meet our goal that every community and family can thrive. Here are FIVE FAST FACTS to keep in mind this tax season.

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On Equal Pay Day, the giant roadblocks that still confront American women

Men and women doing the same job over the same time period should be paid equally. But in the United States, women on average don’t earn the equivalent of their male counterparts—forcing them to work longer and harder to earn what white men make doing the same job. The recent attacks on women’s health care, including President Trump’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, roll back the no-cost birth control provision, prioritize abstinence-only sex education in the budget, and defund Planned Parenthood create even more barriers to equal pay, ensuring that women won’t reach economic equality anytime soon.

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Leandro at 21: Cooper commission, judge’s latest ruling offer hope for landmark education ruling

It was perhaps the N.C. Supreme Court’s finest hour. In 1997, the high court held unanimously that North Carolina public school students are entitled under the state constitution to the “opportunity to receive a sound basic education.” In other words, it’s the state’s responsibility to make sure that all children – even those living in communities dogged by poverty – have a fair chance to learn what they need to learn in order to make their way in the world and become productive citizens.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Monday numbers: What does the modern American family look like?

Last week, legal experts and families spoke with NC Policy Watch about how state law is not keeping pace with science and the non-traditional family unit.

The American family two generations ago was portrayed as a married heterosexual couple living with their genetic offspring, and family law was promulgated to accommodate those relationships.

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