Opinion roundup: Aug. 21, 2016 -- McCrory and courts; Teachers and pay; Science, politics and facts; plus lots more
Posted August 21
McCrory should drop election-law appeal (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Gov. Pat McCrory has every right to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision regarding the legislature’s discriminatory election law, as he did Monday, But he should drop his unwise request. The Fourth Circuit has already spoken loudly and clearly on this.
High-tech, low-access (Greensboro News & Record) -- You don’t always get what you pay for.
Federal e-cigarette regulations will protect youth (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- We applaud new federal regulations for electronic cigarettes. The rules, which went into effect Aug. 8, now require the Food and Drug Administration to approve all e-cigarette products,
The sausage-making of test scores (EdNC column) -- In North Carolina, public schools get a letter grade, A through F, based on the overall scores, and the change in scores, of their students. Under the teacher-pay plan enacted by the General Assembly this year, third-grade teachers may qualify for bonus pay based on the improvement of their students’ scores. Brian Jacob, in a paper about standardized tests, makes an especially pointed observation about teacher evaluations:
They're saving a rural gem; solar is farming at its best (Fayetteville Observer) -- Brief opinions about events of the past week:Merit: For Cumberland County's Joint Planning Board, which has approved a land-use plan for the southeastern corner of the county that aims to preserve the rural character of the area.
SB2 latest law that seems doomed in court (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- It sure would be nice if the General Assembly would stop pandering to its political base by passing unconstitutional laws. They harm people while wasting both time and money. Maybe the next assembly will have a more constructive attitude than the present one. We sure hope so.
About the athletes (Greensboro News & Record) -- Ryan Lochte apologized Friday, both for his behavior in Rio de Janeiro last weekend and for diverting attention from other athletes.
Amid whiffs, a McCrory attack that sticks? (Charlotte Observer column) – Gov. Pat McCrory keeps swinging and missing with his attacks on Roy Cooper. But now he’s found one, and maybe two, charges that aren’t far-fetched and might actually resonate – failing to do his job and problems with the SBI’s crime lab. Spiraling down in the polls in his re-election bid, he’d better hope so.
GENE SMITH: The easy way out is to stay out (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Ever been to court? Did you win? If so, you probably came away with a heightened respect for the judge's skill in picking through all the nonsense and coming up with the essence of the case.
McCrory wrong to want ruling blocked (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- It was unfortunate to see Gov. Pat McCrory last week ask the U.S. Supreme Court to delay enforcement of last month’s ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down the state’s voter ID law.
EDWIN YODER: Worries about trump's loose lips (Wilmington Star-News column) -- What are voters to make of a presidential nominee whose powers of articulation are approximately those of a ten-year-old? Oh, come on, his partisans say. Does it matter what Trump says, or thinks he says, or means to say, when he blunders in this fashion day after day? He might not be the brightest guy in the room but he means well! Indeed, it wouldn’t matter if he were merely the star of a silly television program in which he “fires” people. But should he make it to the White House, thus to the standing of this country’s chief diplomat and military commander in chief, it could spell big trouble.
RAILEY: Kalvin Michael Smith will cry when freedom comes (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- Kalvin Michael Smith’s fight, buttressed for years by his Winston-Salem supporters, is getting national attention even as his plea for justice gets nowhere with Attorney General Roy Cooper. Smith’s case will be featured on a new MTV series about questionable convictions, “Unlocking the Secrets,” and got a few minutes on the show’s debut Wednesday night.
Teachers bear unfair share of education burden (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Pitt County residents cannot be as critical of their government as in past years for the state of public education, but there are some glaring issues that must be confronted and overcome, regardless of how the problem is framed.
Will Moore DSS probe help make our children safer? (Fayetteville Observer) -- They lined up outside a Moore County Department of Social Services board meeting last week, silent protesters carrying signs with photos of Rylan Ott, the toddler who drowned in April.
Lack of transparency harms public trust in gov't (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Public officials routinely ask why members of the public, the people whose interests they spend so much time and effort representing, don’t trust them more.
TERRY HUTCHENS: I-295 will enhance connections (Fayetteville Observer column) -- The Fayetteville Outer Loop (I-295) project is one of many major transportation projects with which I have been involved since the beginning. It's also one of the most significant. This project is concrete proof that the Strategic Transportation Investments law is making a real difference for our state. Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly worked hard to pass this law, which turned this project into a reality.
Science panels must stick to facts, not advocacy (Wilmington Star-News column) -- Democracy is not well served by policymakers who only accept scientific information supporting their agenda, development or otherwise. But it is a sign of an unhealthy political process for scientists to play the role of policy advocate under the guise of objective science. The science panel’s recent loss of power is not surprising, given the media’s framing of a “technological elite” that has lost touch with the needs of everyone else. Donald Trump’s rise to the political forefront is testament to the resentment people feel of a governing system so heavily weighed down in technicalities that only experts can participate effectively.