Other Voices

Other Voices

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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Progressive Voices Top Story

Generations of progress at risk: New report explains NC’s disappearing middle class

Does it feel like your paycheck never goes as far as it used to?

Do you scratch your head when leaders in Raleigh talk about how great our economy is doing?

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Progressive Voices Top Story

General Assembly should repeal poorly-constructed and misnamed education savings accounts program

Now that the lackluster, uninspiring, harmful, disappointing, and misguided public school budget has become law, it is time to look towards next year’s priorities. By failing to adequately address the needs of our public schools in the 2017 budget, General Assembly leaders have much work to do in 2018. Any 2018 education agenda should focus on restoring adequate funding to our schools, increasing efforts to improve the recruitment and retention of educators, and providing the necessary supports to give low-income students the tools needed to succeed.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Why Cooper’s doomed budget veto was still very important

Presented with a new state budget that, whatever its occasional virtues, is mainly about easing tax burdens on the well-off while grinding opponents of legislative Republicans into the dirt, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had little choice but to ...
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Progressive Voices Top Story

New budget with old agenda falls short

By now the strategy is familiar – the strategy used by the N.C. General Assembly’s Republican chiefs to try to make a fundamentally flawed state budget appear, well, not that bad. Or at least tolerable. Or better than it could have been and perhaps even worth supporting.

Here’s how it works:

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Final budget fails to strengthen the foundation of North Carolina’s public schools

The final budget that lawmakers have proposed fails to strengthen the foundation of North Carolina’s public schools. While the public schools area of the budget seems to have a lot going on – one could argue that a ...
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Progressive Voices Top Story

State lawmakers expand funding for anti-abortion centers, even as women’s health suffers

Women and their access to health care has been in the news these past few months, as the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made headlines for, among other things, what it potentially leaves out of women’s health care coverage. Under the bill passed by the U.S. House known as the American Health Care Act, it’s quite possible that insurance companies could revive their old rules that treated sexual assault, domestic violence, postpartum depression, pregnancy, and Caesarean sections as “preexisting conditions,” and thereby charging women who have experienced them more or denying coverage entirely.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Poor, rural schools likely the big losers with lawmakers’ planned cuts to central office staff

Among the elements necessary for a well-functioning school district, central office staff is often overlooked. However, a functioning central office is vital. These professionals ensure that money is spent in accordance with the law, provide technical assistance to ...
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Progressive Voices Top Story

Federal courts: Racial gerrymandering in NC must end

What a relief and cause for celebration it would be if North Carolina’s legislative chiefs collectively slapped their brows and exclaimed, “Oh, now we get it! We’re not allowed to draw voting districts on the basis of race! We’ll get busy right away and fix the problems!”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

How tax cuts in North Carolina undercut North Carolina’s middle class

It appears that our state’s final days of debate over the state budget will have failed to engage with the most relevant data point for North Carolina’s middle class:  The typical worker is paid less each hour today ...
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Progressive Voices Top Story

Understanding last week’s critical redistricting ruling

This morning, in the case of Dickson v. Rucho, the United States Supreme Court ordered the North Carolina Supreme Court to once again review a challenge to the state’s legislative maps. As expected, the Court directed the state court to do so in light of its ruling last week that North Carolina’s 2011 congressional map amounted to an unconstitutional exercise in racial gerrymandering.

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