Emails show lawmaker pushes hard to expand NC’s school voucher program before it gets off the ground


Date of voucher payout to families moved ahead of critical court hearing that will decide if program is legal Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam has long supported school vouchers and successfully co-sponsored legislation that would put 10 million taxpayer dollars into the hands of families wishing to send their children to private schools instead [Continue Reading...]

Cutting teacher assistants means eliminating school bus drivers and other critical services too


Senate leaders continue to propose cutting teacher assistants as a way to pay for a significant teacher salary bump, the first teachers have seen in years. While the General Assembly debates back and forth over the impact teacher assistants have in the classroom, there’s another factor in the equation that is getting far [Continue Reading...]

All white and overwhelmingly male: Latest departure leaves NC federal courts among least diverse in the nation


It’s been more than 3,000 days since U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard announced that he would be stepping down from his position on the federal court in eastern North Carolina. At roughly the same time, the then-freshman senator from North Carolina, Richard Burr, stood lecturing his colleagues on the senate floor about [Continue Reading...]

Budget negotiations update: Teacher assistants find themselves at the center of the battle over teacher pay


Lawmakers continued to face an impasse in budget talks this week by fighting over whether to ditch teacher assistants in the state’s elementary classrooms as a way to pay for teacher salary increases. Senate budget writers pitched a new plan on Tuesday that would still give teachers an 11 percent raise, as they [Continue Reading...]

Voting gets its day in court


Sweeping voting changes rushed into law by state lawmakers last summer will face a critical test next week when a federal judge in Winston-Salem considers constitutional challenges to their viability. On Monday morning, U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder, appointed to the court by then-President George W. Bush in 2008, will consider evidence [Continue Reading...]

Governor McCrory hands out $10,000 bonuses to hundreds of teachers, while tens of thousands more continue to go without raises or classroom support


On Tuesday, Governor Pat McCrory congratulated 450 teachers who gathered in Raleigh to be recognized for winning $10,000 bonuses in federal Race to the Top grant funds, at a time when the vast majority of the state’s 95,000+ have gone without raises and faced steep classroom cuts over the past several years. “As [Continue Reading...]

North Carolina school superintendents uneasy over state budget proposals


Four superintendents from North Carolina’s largest school districts came together Tuesday to express their concerns about lawmakers’ 2014 budget proposals, as the legislature comes close to giving teachers the first significant pay raise they’ve seen in years – but not without asking them for significant sacrifices. “At a time when other businesses are [Continue Reading...]

Poor families facing cuts to child-care program

Photo from flickr user familymwr (, (CC BY 2.0,

Fewer working families will be eligible for child-care subsidies, if proposals in both the state House and Senate budget to change the income thresholds of participating families are adopted. The changes could affect up to 11 percent of the families that currently receive help, with legislative fiscal staff estimating nearly 12,000 of the 110,000 children [Continue Reading...]