Original Commentary

Original Commentary

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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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Now is no time to settle for inadequate half measures on gerrymandering

If there is a single brightest and most hopeful bit of news on the North Carolina public policy horizon these days, it has to be that our state could, at very long last, be on the verge of ending partisan gerrymandering. With a three-judge panel set to rule in the Common Cause v. Lewis litigation any day (a case in which much of the key evidence offered by legislative defendants was thrown out for being not credible), good government advocates are having to work hard to avoid a sense of giddy optimism about where the case is headed.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Ban weapons of war. Now.

Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for the madman responsible for the carnage in Dayton, Ohio to shoot 26 people, killing nine, including his sister, and wounding 17 more before he was killed by police.

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