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State Board of Ed examines decline in teacher licensure exam pass rates

The percentage of teachers passing state licensure exams has fallen to 80 percent, leaving some members of the State Board of Education (SBE) to wonder if students are being shortchanged by ill-prepared teachers. A report shared with SBE members this week showed the passing rate on state teacher exams falling from 96% percent in 2014 to 80.2% in 2018.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Sen. Phil Berger sidesteps an inconvenient truth about NC teacher pay

Despite having voted to expand the economics and personal finance curriculum in the state’s high schools, North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger fails to apply basic principles of these subjects when touting supposed accomplishments in teacher pay in his November 25 op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer, “Yes, Republican tax policies are working in North Carolina.”

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Critics vow to combat UNC’s “Silent Sam” deal with Confederate group

Students, faculty and legal experts are all questioning last week’s legal settlement in which the UNC System gave the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument to the Sons of Confederate Veterans – along with $2.5 million.

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Environment Top Story

An infant’s gravesite, environmental concerns could put proposed Caswell County mining operation on the rocks

In addition to historic cemeteries and archaeological resources, state is concerned about asbestos, drinking water pollution  Rubbie Francis Wade entered this world in 1921. She left it eight months later, in the summer of 1922. A descendant of the enslaved, Rubbie was not considered by whites important enough to document.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

After Republicans’ latest gerrymandering low, now is the time for your outrage

It may be difficult to say how you are feeling this morning, two mornings after a Superior Court panel — facing the impending launch of the 2020 election cycle — choked down another GOP-manipulated map for North Carolina congressional districts.

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News Top Story

Government isn’t ensuring safe housing for N.C. military families — watchdog report

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is failing to ensure that all military families have access to safe, quality housing, according to a new government watchdog report. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) oversees private-sector developers who build, renovate, manage and maintain military housing. 

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Eight errors and omissions of the 2019 legislative session

Well, that appears to be a wrap. The 2019 legislative session that commenced way back in January and dragged on in desultory fashion for months past its usual adjournment date finally petered out a couple of weeks back. Now, barring some new and unforeseen holiday season power grab – something that’s always a possibility for legislative leaders who maintain only a passing interest in quaint concepts like notice, public input and process – the honorables have absented themselves from the state capital until mid-January.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Breaking: State court cites time constraints in approving congressional maps that are “not perfect”

North Carolina Republicans officially ran out the clock – at least legally – when they enacted a new Congressional map just weeks before candidate filing. A three-judge state Superior Court panel ruled unanimously Monday that the map can go forward and set aside its prior injunction postponing congressional candidate filing.

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News Top Story

Big gun rights case headlines busy week at U.S. Supreme Court

A momentous clash over gun rights is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court is slated to hear oral arguments on Monday in a case over a New York City handgun regulation. It marks the first major gun control dispute to reach the Supreme Court since its ideological shift with the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and legal observers are billing it as the biggest Second Amendment case to come before the high court in years.

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Other Voices Top Story

The extreme danger in not holding Trump accountable for his actions

Donald J. Trump used the power of his office to blackmail a foreign ally into undermining a political foe here at home. Nothing in U.S history approaches that abuse of presidential power, yet the gravity of the charges apparently does not matter. The overwhelming evidence proving those charges – the sworn testimony, the emails and direct messages, the de facto public confessions by President Trump, his personal attorney and his acting chief of staff, explaining that yes, they did pressure Ukraine to produce political dirt – that too does not matter.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Five revelations in the controversy surrounding UNC board member Tom Fetzer

Text messages and emails point to questionable claims, promises and motives in rogue investigation of former ECU interim chancellor  If you’ve been following Policy Watch’s ongoing coverage of the recent East Carolina University controversy, you may be having some trouble keeping it all straight.

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Education News Top Story

Dems battle Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over student loan forgiveness

WASHINGTON — A long-simmering feud between U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and congressional Democrats over student loan forgiveness is heating up as hundreds of thousands of borrowers continue to wait for help on loans they claim were fraudulent. DeVos narrowly avoided a congressional subpoena earlier this month after a lengthy fight with the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Trump and his allies: Channeling the true spirit of the original American Thanksgiving?

Americans, like the inhabitants of just about every country – especially the ones that find themselves having come out on top in a number of historical conflicts – have a penchant for rewriting history in a light that’s flattering to themselves. Wars tend to get sanitized of their brutality, disasters and horrific mistakes. Crass greed, materialism and acquisitiveness get recast as drive, ingenuity and the entrepreneurial spirit.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Trump administration: Poor immigrants need not apply

Carlos came to the U.S. looking to provide a safer and more financially stable environment for his family. Like thousands of others, Carlos crossed the border out of necessity. His wife, and one of his young daughters, joined ...
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News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at hunger and the need to support North Carolina’s food banks

This week as many gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, we are reminded of those who are less fortunate. North Carolina has the dubious distinction of being the tenth hungriest state in the nation.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As the UNC Board of Governors turns: Members go silent as concerns about Fetzer mount

Members of the UNC Board of Governors have largely gone silent on the recent controversy surrounding the resignation of East Carolina University’s former interim chancellor. But the board is not yet done dealing with the investigation into a ...
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