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Opinion Roundup: N.C. principal pay plan isn't as simple as raising salaries

Posted July 17
Updated July 18

Monday, July 17, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the cautious road ahead for N.C.'s principal pay plan, how a health care overhaul could affect preventive care, why the GenX water safety efforts are far from finished and more.

EDUCATION
Principal Pay Plan Will Test Principles (Southern Pines Pilot) -- When you’re 50th in the nation at anything, you’ve got a problem, and that’s where North Carolina is on school principal pay.

NC Pre-K program proves successful (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- A new report released last week showered glowing reviews on NC Pre-K. Established in 2001 by Gov. Mike Easley as More at Four, the program was designed to prepare children — especially poorer, disadvantaged ones — for kindergarten by enhancing their school readiness skills.

FERREL GUILLORY: On anniversary of Leandro, time to intensify assault on low-performing schools (EdNC column) -- Twenty years ago this month the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that all N.C. children have a fundamental right to the “opportunity to receive a sound basic education.” And yet, on this anniversary of the still-ongoing Leandro case, it remains clear that the state will not meet that legal promise of equity in education without an all-out assault on low-performing schools.

HEALTH
RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR: Preventive Care, Screenings Could Be Compromised by GOP Bill (AP Analysis) -- In Charlotte, Dr. Octavia Cannon said one of her patients several years ago was a working mother with three young children and more than one job and uninsured after losing previous Medicaid coverage. She went to Cannon, an osteopathic ob-gyn, because of abnormal bleeding. Cannon said she knew something was horribly wrong on the basis of her initial physical examination. The pathology lab confirmed advanced cervical cancer.

Small, rural hospitals face a bleak future (Jacksonville Daily News) -- N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger has been adamant: He will not support Medicaid expansion provided through the Affordable Care Act. In fact, he’s used his considerable power to block all attempts at expansion. Now, his hometown hospital in Eden —Morehead Memorial Hospital — has filed for bankruptcy.

JENNIFER MCDERMOTT: Pence tells governors it's time for 'end of Obamacare' (AP analysis) -- Vice President Mike Pence told a gathering of governors that the revised health care bill before the U.S. Senate is the "right bill at the right time to begin the end of Obamacare." The latest changes are geared toward increasing access to bare-bones private insurance. There's also an additional $45 billion to help states confronting the opioid epidemic -- funding N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper called a "fig leaf."

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Remaining vigilant on GenX safety (Wilmington Star-News) -- It’s good news that levels of the chemical GenX appear to be way down in the Cape Fear River from what they were 3 or 4 years ago. It’s further good news that Chemours, the DuPont spinoff that pumped the GenX into the water, has promised not to do it again. But that’s not the end of the issue, not by a long shot.

KEN FINE & ERICA HELLERSTEIN: Solutions Exist for Hog Industry’s Waste-Management Problem. Why Aren’t They Being Used? (IndyWeek analysis) -- Butler Farms is different. There is no stench. Since 2007, Butler's farm has employed what he describes as an environmentally sustainable system that has the added benefit of reducing the odor.

SARAH BREITENBACH: Climate change and less federal money may hit states hard (Washington Post analysis) -- Although scientists don’t know exactly how climate change will affect particular disasters, a warmer planet will mean changes in weather events, said Ken Kunkel of the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies. Rising sea levels will lead to more coastal flooding. Warmer oceans probably will cause more heavy rain events. And hotter temperatures and depleted soil moisture could lead to wildfires that are more intense.

GARY ROBERTSON: In energy bill, Cooper faces dilemma with wind farm pause (AP analysis) -- Energy legislation on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's desk presents him with a decision that could force him to choose between buttressing the state's bright solar industry and nurturing its nascent wind power business.

VALERIE BAUERLEIN: New Island Points to the Challenges of Changing Coastlines (Wall Street Journal analysis) -- The formation of Shelly Island, the first new shoal in North Carolina’s Outer Banks in a generation, illustrates the fluidity of the Atlantic coast—and the complications that presents beach communities.

GENE SMITH: Get ready to fight for what’s yours (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Get ready for a brawl. And never forget that those who favor conservation of some of America’s natural heritage have to win every time. The lying cynics who never saw a resource that didn’t cry out for subsidized sullying have to win only once.

POLICY & POLITICS
TRAVIS FAIN: Q&A: Eric Holder on gerrymandering, race, mortgage crisis (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sat down with WRAL News after his speech at a North Carolina Democratic Party dinner Saturday night, and what follows is an edited transcript of that conversation.

Find the money for military grants (Gatehouse Media) -- Somebody should be embarrassed, and the embarrassment should motivate fast corrective action. The General Assembly with a track record of making this the most military-friendly state in the country dropped the ball on matching the funds in a $9.2 million federal grant that will help protect the state’s military bases.

RICHARD HANSEN: Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse (New York Times column) -- The strength and integrity of the American electoral process are under tremendous strain, but the worst may be yet to come.

A win for voter trust (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Our democratic system is working. Monday, in response to widespread criticism from Republican and Democratic leaders and multiple legal challenges, President Trump’s commission on identifying voter fraud temporarily backed off its overreaching, nationwide request for voter data — which would be stored at the White House.

DAVID RANII: Will aggressive fee-cutting at the state pension fund lead to lower returns? (Charlotte Observer analysis) -- State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s aggressive moves to slash the fees that the $92 billion state pension fund pays to outside money managers are winning praise but also are raising important questions about the fund’s investment strategy.

Why Rowan’s prayer was unconstitutional (Charlotte Observer) -- Federal appeals court strikes down government prayer in Rowan County, NC, for good reason.

Court puts kibosh on public officials praying out loud (Wilson Times) -- If city and county officials want to continue opening their meetings in prayer, they will have to pass the microphone to local pastors instead of amplifying their personal pleas to the Almighty. Local boards may prefer to invite clergy members from the community to open their meetings in prayer, and under guidance from the Supreme Court, that option remains on the table.

CELIA RIVENBARK: The appalling honesty of imperial pols (Wilmington Star-News column) -- Trump, Christie and other hubristic politicians who claims their status as elected officials gives them the right to behave like boors.

AND MORE
BOZHIDAR HRISTOV: Inside Infosys: Increasing volume, monetizing IP are essential for growth (WRAL-TV TechWire column) -- Infosys, which just days ago announced plans to expand its presence in N.C. and create 2,000 jobs, faces challenges as it seeks to become an even larger tech solutions provider. Investments in proprietary price-competitive offerings can turn the firm into a formidable solutions-led vendor, says an analyst for Technology Business Research.

JEFF HAMPTON: New Bonner Bridge -- bigger, stronger, taller, able to withstand worst OBX climate offers (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot analysis) -- The $250 million span 2.8 miles long is built to last a century. Engineers ran the design through more than 100,000 computer simulations of the 45 worst storms to strike the Outer Banks in the past 160 years. The models included the worst possible inlet currents, the biggest waves and highest water levels.

TED WILLIAMS: Like Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post, who should buy The Charlotte Observer? What should they do with it? (Charlotte Agenda column) – Jeff Bezos purchased the Post for $250 million, but taking on a metro newspaper is harder. Here's a short list of candidates rich enough (and caring enough) to make it happen.

Courthouse allegations have lingered too long (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- It is past time to clear the pall cast over the Pitt County Courthouse by allegations of fraud and forgery involving court officers that have been allowed to linger for nearly three years.

JOHN RAILEY: Still searching for the real Andy (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- Right before he died five Julys ago at his Manteo estate on the Outer Banks, Andy Griffith might have realized he’d leave the world guessing about what he was really like. He might have gotten a kick out of that.

JOE GOODMAN: The journalist who made things work (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- Folks who hold a Journal in their hands every morning or call it up on their screens might want to consider pausing a moment today in honor of Jack Trawick. He did two monumental things for the Journal: Coordinated the newspaper’s environmental coverage that led to its Pulitzer Prize in 1971; became the technician who guided the Journal from typewriters and Linotypes through at least three generations of electronic publishing systems.

LIZ SCHLEMMER: Teen Athletes See Rise in ACL Knee Surgeries (WUNC-FM analysis) -- The number of teen athletes who have knee surgery to reconstruct a torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is on the rise, and girls have seen the sharpest increase. Researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill say the results are concerning and point to the need for better injury prevention.

TED VADEN: Why we should worry about attacks on the media (Durham Herald-Sun column) -- UNC Law Professor Mary-Rose Papandrea resurrected President Donald Trump’s Twitter comment about the press as she cataloged a litany of threats to the media in an era of fake news and presidential tweets.

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