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Advisory board advances plan to expand struggling virtual charter schools during the pandemic

The state’s two virtual charter schools should be shining examples of remote learning. But instead of basking in the glow of high demand, the schools are facing tough questions about their students’ academic performances.  For the fourth consecutive year, NC Cyber Academy  and NC Virtual Academy both have performance ratings of "D," said David Stegall, deputy state superintendent of innovation at a Charter School Advisory Board meeting this week. “It does concern me that they are not high-performing charter schools,” he said.

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COVID-19 Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

The reopening picture at this UNC campus is not a pretty one

As with the other UNC System campuses, students began to return to Appalachian State this week, and the circumstances surrounding their arrival ought to give all North Carolinians cause for concern. Despite an outbreak of COVID-19 cases on the Boone campus just last week, thousands of students from across the country moved in to either off-campus apartments or small, shared dorm rooms on campus.

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News Top Story

At least 26 trans people have been killed in the U.S. this year. This is who they are.

As of July 31, at least 26 trans people have been killed in the U.S. this year, and a majority of them were people of color. The violence each of them endured is horrific and should not happen to anybody, especially those who are merely trying to be who they are.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

New report says poor and low-income Americans can change the nation’s political landscape

Voters from low-income backgrounds are consistently less likely to vote in national elections compared to those with higher incomes, a new study shows — a potential harbinger as the 2020 presidential election looms in swing states such as North Carolina. Why don’t low-income voters go to the polls? In 2016, when Donald Trump won the presidency, “The most common reason that low-income individuals did not vote in 2016 was...

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Environment Top Story

BREAKING: DEQ denies key permits for MVP Southgate natural gas pipeline

Division of Water Resources cites doubts about MVP Mainline project, says construction in NC could cause "unnecessary water quality impacts" Another natural gas pipeline in North Carolina has been derailed, at least temporarily, as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has denied a water quality permit for the MVP Southgate project that would route through Rockingham and Alamance counties.

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COVID-19 Top Story Weekly Briefing

Trump’s latest last-ditch con

History reminds us that it is a familiar pattern with autocrats and delusional politicians who perceive they could be facing the latter days of their time in power: as their influence ebbs, the grandiosity of their “orders” and “commands” tends to grow. And so it appears to be with Donald Trump as he confronts the growing possibility that he is entering the final few months of his presidency.

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News Top Story

Trump administration imposes big hike in immigration fees

Critics say hikes could have 'devastating impact,' serve as 'another form of voter suppression’ The Trump administration has nearly doubled the cost of applying to become a U.S. citizen, a development immigration advocates are likening to “another form of voter suppression.”

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at how NC is responding to the 2020 census

While COVID-19 has cancelled a lot of things this year, it hasn’t cancelled the 2020 Census. The problem, however, is that more than four out of ten North Carolina households have yet to fill out their forms. They are not being counted.

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Education Top Story

NC may turn to low-performing virtual charters in response to demand for online education

Last year, after four consecutive years of poor academic performance, state lawmakers rewarded North Carolina’s virtual charter school pilot program with an extension that allows its two schools to operate through the 2022-23 school year.  The pilot program created in 2015 was supposed to end after the 2018-19 school year. But lawmakers apparently saw something promising in N.C. Cyber Academy (NCCA) and N.C. Virtual Academy (NCVA) not reflected in their academic performances.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

NC must diversify its teaching corps. Here’s one obvious and proven tool to use.

I am a white woman, educated in Durham, by mostly white teachers. From preschool to high school, my classrooms were led by people who looked like me, talked like me, disciplined me like my parents did, and held me to high expectations. I skated through school with ease and “success.” After becoming a teacher myself and studying education policy at the graduate level, I now realize that my peers of color did not receive the same benefits of having a teacher that looked like them, and I didn’t have the opportunity to learn from adults with lived experiences different from my own.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC-Chapel Hill leaders come under fire at emergency faculty meeting

Chancellor's failure to share health department reopening recommendations called a "breach of trust" The Orange County Health Director has urged the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to move to online education for the fall semester and keep on-campus housing to an absolute minimum as the COVID-19 pandemic in the county worsens. The campus will be doing neither of those things, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said Wednesday.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Still white after all these years: One woman’s battle with racism and white supremacy culture

In 1986, I was a recent seminary graduate and working with Oakland’s interfaith community. I was earnest, liberal and definitely not “woke.” One evening, I met with Black church leaders to organize a city-wide event. Where would publicity go? We listed a few: the Oakland Tribune and church bulletins. Someone piped up “the Black Chamber of Commerce.” I knew it was somehow wrong to say, “the White Chamber of Commerce” so I blurted out, “And the normal Chamber of Commerce.”

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COVID-19 News Top Story

Republican senator presses reluctant GOP leadership for billions in state, local aid in next relief deal

Burr and Tillis apparently still sticking with McConnell WASHINGTON – GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is making a strong push to rescue ailing state and local governments in a fifth coronavirus relief bill — but his party’s leaders are resisting as they debate the contours of the next package. The freshman senator is pressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for $500 billion in assistance and urging the nation’s mayors to lobby for aid to cities and states.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC’s ‘worst-case scenario’ plans could be just the beginning

Enrollment drops. Employee furloughs and layoffs. Faculty cuts. Shuttered athletic programs. UNC System schools could see all of these things, according to a new report on campus plans to deal with the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. And experts say this could be just the beginning.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

As schools reopen, we’re rolling the dice with people’s lives

North Carolina is now almost five months into the massive societal disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s more than understandable that just about everyone – especially parents of young children – is going a little stir crazy. The weather has been stifling, the news has been mostly sobering, a vaccine remains several months away at best, and the utter incompetence and moral bankruptcy in the White House’s handing of the crisis remains absolute.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The virus and the vulnerable

The image of a perfect storm conveys a rueful irony – the storm whose components are so intertwined, so synchronized, so mutually reinforcing as to make it “perfect” in its destructiveness. Perfect storm, meet COVID-19. The overall dynamic is as simple as it is terrible: The coronavirus endangers people who come into contact with others who may be infected. People retreat into their homebound bubbles.

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