Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices Top Story

Proposed state budget would deal new blows to the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause

In 1971, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote an opinion in the landmark case Lemon v. Kurtzman that set forth a the three-pronged test lawmakers should use to avoid violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The three prongs of the test were these:

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Trump administration proposal to alter federal poverty guidelines could cause big problems for struggling North Carolinians

Federal poverty levels have been around since the 1960s and they are one of main drivers of whether a household is eligible for certain federal programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as “SNAP” and “food stamps”), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Head Start, the National School Lunch Program, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

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Ten reasons our families refuse to participate in NC’s End of Grade testing

The North Carolina public school end-of-year testing window is now officially open. With this season, comes dozens of hours of children sitting, practice-testing, reviewing, and re-testing. Children as young as eight years old will test for 3-4 hours with no break on consecutive days; Some students with an extended time accommodation will test even longer. This reality calls to question the efficacy and developmental appropriateness of our state’s testing practices. Prior to End Of Grade testing (EOG), classroom teachers already have plenty of indicators for each student’s proficiency in reading and math. Yet, children are tested at the end of the school year, when it’s no longer possible to correct the course.

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NC is making a big mistake by failing to prepare for the next recession

We aren’t in an economic downturn yet, but economists who find themselves marveling at the historic duration of the current national expansion are urging policymakers to prepare for one now. Key to that preparation will be smart public investments that minimize the harm to communities and families and, in turn, the long-term growth trajectory of the economy.

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Gentrification: What it really means and how we must respond

Downtown Raleigh recently made the front page of the New York Times as an exemplar of gentrification – the process that dislocates traditional low-income residents, typically people of color, and changes the social fabric of a neighborhood. South Park, the historically Black Raleigh neighborhood near Shaw University...

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A gun in my classroom? No thanks.

I am a public school teacher in Forsyth County. As a special education teacher, I work with students at the middle school level and help them manage learning disabilities, ADHD, and other factors keeping them from performing on grade level. I love my job, but would leave it in a heartbeat if given the opportunity to carry a gun in my classroom.

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Tax cuts doing nothing to rouse NC’s sluggish economy

As most everyone who knows the North Carolina legislature will tell you, regardless of their political allegiances, the coffee there is terrible. A cup of the bitter and watery stuff is more apt to produce irritability than alertness, a fact that becomes increasingly evident as a legislative session drags on. Inadequate caffeine may be behind some of the head-scratching policy coming out of Raleigh in the last few years...

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Local conservative group wildly over-inflates actual costs of NCAE’s policy priorities

Last week, the John Locke Foundation attempted to tar the NCAE’s 2019 policy priorities by claiming they would cost $6 billion. The analysis, such as it is, betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of some of the biggest issues faced by North Carolina policymakers. A more accurate estimate would put the NCAE’s policy priorities at about $1.2 billion per year.

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House budget proposes even less transparency for NC’s already unaccountable school voucher program

Since its inception, North Carolina’s school voucher program has suffered from a stunning lack of transparency and accountability that should safeguard the public’s investment in private schools. The voucher program already makes public dollars accessible to private schools that are free to discriminate by turning away students who are gay or transgender, have disabilities, or who don’t subscribe to a religious doctrine.

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Did Jesus charge the poor a premium to be healed?

The North Carolina General Assembly continues to wage a war against the poor and vulnerable in our state, further fanning the flames of health care inequality. The fuel of this inferno, however, is real people’s lives. It’s time for the North Carolina General Assembly to put out the flames of poverty, sickness and death.

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Key demands of education marchers could soon find their way into state court

Recommendations of court-appointed expert in Leandro case expected to echo, amplify educators' agenda If the May 1 action in support for public schools doesn’t convince North Carolina administrators and policymakers to change course on our education policies, maybe the report from the court-appointed expert in the now 25-year old Leandro litigation—due at the end of May— will.

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Superintendent Johnson uses new website to gaslight educators

Under North Carolina’s Standard Course of Study, 6th graders are expected to understand the difference between the average and median of a distribution of numbers. So the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mark Johnson, is certainly aware that you should never compare the median of one data set to the average of another data set.

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Why teachers care about Medicaid expansion

There is a reasonable question being asked about the inclusion of Medicaid expansion in NCAE’s legislative priorities for the May 1st Day of Action. If kids are already covered, why do teachers want to expand coverage for NC families? The answer is simple - working with kids every day, we naturally see the link between the overall health and well-being of the family and how well a child will grow in the classroom.

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While U.S. states push to criminalize abortion, other countries are liberalizing laws

Abortion is not a crime, yet the North Carolina General Assembly just came a step closer to making it one with the recent controversial abortion bill that Gov. Cooper rightly vetoed. Let’s be real: the bill was an outrageous attempt to criminalize the doctors and nurses who provide abortion care and erect a huge barrier for people seeking it.

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Proposals to close the health insurance coverage gap should follow the data on what actually works

North Carolina’s dubious ranking of having the 10th highest rate of uninsured people in the nation continues to play out across the state in ways that challenge our collective well-being and community stability, even as it leads to worse health outcomes and diminished livelihoods for hundreds of thousands of our neighbors.

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Flawed classroom supplies legislation is based on lawmaker’s false premise

Last Wednesday, Superintendent Mark Johnson was joined by important members of the House and Senate for what they promised would be “a major announcement regarding education in North Carolina.” While the hype for the announcement was major, the announcement itself was a dud. The “major announcement” was a plan to divert funding for classroom supplies from school districts to an app that would give every teacher $400 to spend on classroom supplies.

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