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Opinion Roundup: A cloud over the UNC Board of Governors' actions

Posted 8:33 a.m. Friday

Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the role politics may be playing within the UNC Board of Governors, a data point that reveals an emerging trend in addressing low-performing schools, a reaction to the idea of "Medicare for All" and more.

POLITICS & POLICY
SARAH KRUEGER: Some worry politics dictating UNC system board's actions (WRAL-TV analysis) -- The 28 voting members of the UNC Board of Governors are appointed by the Republican-dominated General Assembly, and roughly three-fourths of the board are registered Republicans.

Budget cuts unfair (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Politics is politics, but the budget cuts made by the Republican-led state legislature to Democratic-run state offices is not good government, nor is it good for the citizens of North Carolina. The state budget has increased spending for some Republican-led departments, but it’s significant and disappointing that the budget has been cut for the operations of the governor and the attorney general.

Young independents could lead political pivot to the middle (Wilson Times) -- North Carolina’s political landscape won’t change overnight, but we’re beginning to feel the tremors of a shift. Millennials are a frequent target of clickbait headlines that use consumer data to suggest their generation is“killing” once-dominant industries, hurting property values by delaying homeownership and frittering away disposable income on trendy artisanal foods. If they can break North Carolina’s partisan gridlock, they’ll be doing us all a favor. Let them have their avocado toast.

WESLEY YOUNG: Folwell opposition waves yellow flag on Bowman Gray Stadium sale (Winston-Salem Journal analysis) -- Winston-Salem’s plan to sell Bowman Gray Stadium to Winston-Salem State University could hit a snag when it comes before top state officials for a decision, thanks to the opposition of state Treasurer Dale Folwell – a former Forsyth County legislator -- to the deal.

PHILIP GERARD: N.C. Civil War History Center will help us understand our past and our present (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- From the robust public discussion about North Carolina’s legacy of Civil War monuments, it’s clear that — a century and a half after its close — we’re still sorting out how to make sense of that war and memorialize those who fought it.

EDUCATION
FERREL GUILLORY: A surge in “restart” to remodel low-performing schools (EdNC column) -- Here is a statistic, not released along with the other data, that points to an emerging dynamic in addressing low-performing schools, most of them defined by a heavy enrollment of students from low-income families: The number of “restart’’ schools has risen from seven in mid-2016 to 109 today. Under a 2010 state law, any public school deemed low-performing in two out of three years can qualify to become a restart school. Once designated a restart school, a school is exempted from many state regulations and operates much akin to a charter school.

Courts extends stay in State Board v. NC and Superintendent Johnson (EdNC analysis) -- A three-judge panel granted a 30-day extension of the stay in the case of the State Board of Education v. N.C. and Superintendent Mark Johnson. The stay prevents Johnson from assuming the powers granted to him in a December special session of the General Assembly and lasts until Monday, Oct. 16.

EMERY DALESIO: Judges delay law shifting control of North Carolina schools (AP analysis) -- Control over about $10 billion a year in taxpayer spending and the jobs of some N.C. education workers remained unchanged after judges agreed to delay a new state law.

MICHAEL ABRAMOWITZ: ECU rural prosperity initiative unveiled (Greenville Daily Reflector analysis) -- ECU has begun its first effort to marshal the combined resources of the university’s colleges and schools, institutes and university partners behind a single coordinated service campaign, an administrator told the Board of Trustees

The elite universities (Greensboro News & Record) -- The college “rankings” came out this week, and three North Carolina schools earned places in the Top 30.

Planning for student growth (Hendersonville Times-News) -- News that Henderson County Public Schools has 116 more students this year than last year points to the need for school and county leaders to plan for more growth and additional demands in the years to come.

Another fumble in the Lafayette saga (Fayetteville Observer) -- The strange saga of the Marquis de Lafayette and his relationship with slavery continues to perplex the community. The history appears settled. Several historians, as well as leaders of the local and national Lafayette societies have weighed in. Cumberland County’s interim school Superintendent Tim Kinlaw has apologized for his mistake. And yet, nothing is really resolved.

HEALTH
Medicare for All? First, some big questions (Charlotte Observer) -- Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill leaves big questions unanswered.

​​PHIL GALEWITZ: Uninsured Rate Falls To Record Lows (N.C. Health News analysis) -- In the U.S. overall, the rate is down to 8.8 percent in 2016, in North Carolina, it's at 10.4 percent.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
JOHN DOWNEY: Duke Energy in talks with solar developer to resolve case before N.C. regulators (Charlotte Business Journal column) -- California-based developer Ecoplexus has asked the N.C. Utilities Commission to delay a hearing on the complaint scheduled next month to give it and Duke Energy a chance to settle their differences.

BETSY LILLIAN: Hillsborough, NC, Penn. City Commit To 100% Clean Energy (Solar Industry magazine analysis) -- The Sierra Club has announced that two more U.S. municipalities have made commitments to transition to 100% clean energy – the Town of Hillsborough, N.C., and the Borough of Phoenixville, Pa. Hillsborough became the first town in North Carolina and the 43rd in the U.S. to commit to transition to 100% renewables. Specifically, the town’s board of commissioners voted to establish a 100% clean energy goal by 2050.

JENNIFER ALLEN: Event Offers Taste Of Beekeeping’s Rewards (Coastal Review) -- The Crystal Coast Beekeepers Association’s annual honey tasting event in Morehead City this week attracted not just fans of the sweet, golden goo, but also experienced and aspiring beekeepers.

AND MORE
Heroes not forgotten (Fayetteville Observer) -- In most American communities, the Vietnam War remains an unsettled piece of history. Yes, it seems so long ago. And it was — it began before most living Americans were born. Many of its veterans are in their retirement years now. Some have already died. And yet, it’s still haunting us, for a lot of reasons the country has never fully sorted out. A 10-part documentary on the Vietnam War by the legendary Ken Burns will begin Sunday night.

PAUL ABERCROMBIE: There’s more in Chapel Hill than the Tar Heels, a family finds (Washington Post column) -- Top features of the North Carolina town include tree-lined trails, tasty barbecue and truly nice folks.

Hackers, malware, ransomware & you: TechWire's Sept. 26 Executive Exchange (WRAL-TV/TechWire) -- "Hackers, malware, ransomware and you:" Protecting you and your company will be the focus of WRAL TechWire's Executive Exchange event coming up on Sept. 26. The program will feature a leading cybersecurity executive from IBM who will participate in a one-on-one discussion with The Skinny.

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