Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices

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Progressive Voices

High school is not enough: NC economy desperately needs a boost in adult education and training

In 2016, the defining political debate in North Carolina is over what it really takes to grow an economy that works for everyone—an economy that creates enough jobs for everyone who wants one and ensures that those jobs pay enough to make ends meet and achieve middle class prosperity. Amidst the hullaballoo over taxes, trade and HB2 in this election season, it’s easy to overlook one of the most powerful avenues policymakers can take to build this kind of economy—growing the number of workers with post-high school education.

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Grim anniversary marks 40 years of denying reproductive health care to poor American women

Whether or not some of us are uncomfortable with the word or the current statistic, nearly 1 in 3 American women have an abortion in their lifetime, making the procedure a common secret in the lives of women across this country. Depending on one’s viewpoint, the actual incidence may be more or less common than you believe. What is common is that many people think they don’t know anyone who has had an abortion.

It’s likely we do, but this medical procedure has been so stigmatized and politicized that the people we do know don’t talk about their experience. One reason for this stigma is that abortion is the only medical procedure that is banned from most public insurance funding.

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Living while waiting to die: Writings from inside death row

Meet Paul Brown, a man living while waiting to die. He has been on North Carolina’s death row since 2000, awaiting an execution that may never come. He makes no excuses for his crime, and he doesn’t lament his punishment. He began writing a few years ago simply to answer the question: How do I make something of the life I have left?

His essays offer a rare window into death row, one of the most isolated places on earth. His stories offer no simple conclusions; they are the record of a complicated and broken life. Yet, they speak poignantly to what it means to be human.

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The cuts keep coming: More damning data on the state of NC public school funding

A recent lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer editorial “NC GOP leaders ignore recession cuts when touting funding increases” makes several good points concerning the state’s declining commitment to funding public schools. As the editorial mentions, legislative leaders’ claims that they have increased spending on public schools are “at once true and deceptive” since they compare today’s spending to the temporary budget reductions implemented in the throes of a historically bad recession.

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New school year highlights NC’s ongoing failure to invest in child and community well-being

Every year as students from pre-school through college return to the classroom, North Carolinians have a window through which to see how our collective investments match up to the needs of communities.

Are classrooms crowded? Are children ready for Kindergarten? Do schools have the resources to deliver a 21st century education? Do parents need to provide more and more personal resources to fill the gaps?

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Some important truths about the Zika crisis and reproductive freedom

Summer is winding down here in North Carolina, but the heat isn’t going away just yet. And neither are the mosquitoes. In the Southeast, mosquito season can last until November, depending on the timing of the first frost. As Florida has now recorded more than 60 non-travel-related Zika cases, mosquitos are on the mind of many state officials and public health professionals. They will also likely be on the minds of women of childbearing age, who continue to confront the dire warnings about the dangers of a Zika infection during pregnancy.

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Early voting compromises: Not perfect, but better than had been feared

The folks in North Carolina who want to make it harder rather than easier for people to vote – a category that features top officials of the state Republican Party – lost a big battle in the federal ...
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Progressive Voices

Why NC is not measuring teacher pay properly (and how we should do it)

Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum understand that teachers are the most important classroom factor when it comes to improving student performance. Unfortunately, their policies over the past decade have failed to reflect this understanding. North Carolina’s average teacher pay ranking has fallen from 22nd in FY 03-04 to 41st in FY 15-16, and enrollment in teacher preparation programs is plummeting.

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The disturbing politics of Islamophobia in 2016 America

The current election cycle is, sadly, shining a light on a blatant and disturbing level of Islamophobia in the United States.

What’s more, many Muslims in the United States are paying a heavy price for this bigotry. Muslims, and people perceived to be Muslims, have been threatened and attacked throughout the country. Mosques have been vandalized and Muslims are reporting a high incidence of discrimination at work.

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Charity is not enough; NC needs public policies to promote the health and safety of immigrant children

A young child and her pregnant mother are detained for days at our country’s southern border after fleeing gang violence in the Northern Triangle; alone and pregnant, a teenage girl has traveled from Mexico to escape chronic sexual abuse and abject poverty; and an entire family, having lived for nearly two decades in a refugee camp in Tanzania after fleeing their homeland due to armed conflict, have finally been able to cross the Atlantic and enter the United States of America.

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On tomorrow’s 96th anniversary, the struggle for women’s equality continues

Tomorrow, August 26, is celebrated as Women’s Equality Day, commemorating the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. This amendment proclaimed that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Sounds like women got the right to vote on that day in 1920, right? Well, not entirely.

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Four reasons to believe NC may finally stop sending children to the adult criminal system

Right now, North Carolina is one of only two states left in the country that continues to treat 16 and 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system – without exception. It’s a law that dates back to 1919, and in the intervening 97 years, criminal justice experts, child psychologists, neuroscientists and others have compiled a mountain of data that tells us just how wrong this policy is.

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Audit of Achievement School District in Tennessee raises more red flags for NC

A new report from Tennessee’s Division of State Audit has ominous implications for a newly-created education program in North Carolina. The report details the gross financial mismanagement of Tennessee’s Achievement School District (ASD) – a plan that turned control of low-performing schools to private charter school operators. North Carolina passed its own version of the ASD program this summer, with Governor McCrory quietly signing the controversial bill three weeks ago.

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Gerrymandering in North Carolina: Have conservatives finally gone too far?

The Republican Party developed a national strategy to seize and hold legislative power, and in North Carolina executed it with relentless precision. Six years into that process, however, the adverse legal judgments are beginning to accumulate.

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North Carolina: Big talk but little real action in protecting pregnant workers

One of the less-well-reported aspects of North Carolina’s notorious HB2 law as it originally read was a provision that removed state protections from on-the-job discrimination (a protection later added back in, but in a weaker form). As we ...
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NC voting rights and the courts: Here’s’ where things stand

Even for ardent voting rights advocates, there’s little comfort to be gained from a federal appeals court’s finding that the N.C. General Assembly engaged in a multifaceted scheme to discriminate against African-American voters.

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