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Opinion Roundup: Charter school debate, trade standoff, education spending and more

Posted June 5, 2018 8:53 a.m. EDT
Updated June 20, 2018 9:11 a.m. EDT

Charter Schools

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 -- A round up of opinion, commentary and analysis on: Charter school power for 4 N.C. towns clears Senate, bill prevents primary losers to run in new parties this fall, trade standoff raises questions for NC farmers, education spending and more.


LEGISLATURE 2018
Bill hints at a bid to censor school movies (Wilson Times) -- State Rep. Justin Burr seems to be contemplating a second career as a film critic, but his efforts thus far earn him two thumbs down.

Neglecting ‘red flag law’ is irresponsible (Winston-Salem Journal) -- We’ve seen few serious efforts to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people. Consider North Carolina, where a bill that would make it more difficult for potentially violent people to possess firearms has been placed on a back burner. Sponsored by state House Rep. Marcia Morey, a Durham Democrat, the bill would allow family members or law enforcement to request that a judge issue a temporary order to remove guns from a person who is considered a danger to himself or others. After 10 days, the person could make the case before a judge that he or she should have the guns returned.

Charter school power for 4 N.C. towns clears Senate (AP reports) -- Four municipalities near N.C.'s largest city unhappy with conventional public school offerings for their students, but others contend promotes racial segregation, are very close to getting the option to build their own charter schools.

KIRK ROSS: Budget change heats up municipal charter school debate (Carolina Public Press reports) -- One late entry in the list of contentious items in the state budget plan passed by the N.C. General Assembly last week was a change in local finance law that critics say would open the floodgates for city-run charter schools and supercharge local fights over education funding. A special provision inserted in the budget changes current state law to allow municipalities to use their taxing authority to finance public schools, including charter schools. The provision, requested by proponents of new municipal charter school legislation, appears to alleviate a conflict with local government finance law that critics of that legislation raised. The measure would allow four towns in Mecklenburg County to build their own charter schools.

Bill prevents primary losers to run in new parties this fall (AP reports) -- Some N.C. legislators think it's wrong that a primary election could switch and run in November as the nominee of a new political party.

GARY ROBERTSON: School building, officer mandates clears NC House (AP reports) -- More building safety and campus police officer requirements for North Carolina's public schools would occur if a bill that cleared one chamber of the General Assembly on Monday becomes law.

About 2 dozen arrested at N.C. and S.C. legislatures (AP reports) -- Nearly two dozen demonstrators were arrested Monday at legislatures in N.C. and S.C. as part of a national movement highlighting what organizers call injustices to the poor. An official with the N.C. General Assembly Police says 13 people were led away in zip ties from outside the offices of House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger. Those arrested were charged with second-degree trespassing.

POLICY & POLITICS
WILL MICHAELS: Another Trade Standoff Raises Questions For NC Farmers (WUNC-FM reports) – N.C. farmers are among those warily watching a new trade dispute between the United States and allies in North America and Europe. President Trump initially targeted China with tariffs on steel and aluminum, but the president now says he wants to extend that to Mexico, Canada and the European Union.

MATTHEW BURNS: Ex-DAs face off in court during wife-hiring scheme trial (WRAL-TV reports) -- As one former state prosecutor defended himself against criminal charges, a fellow former prosecutor served as the star witness against him.

MICHAEL LAZZARA: Digital divide about more than minimal connections (Fayetteville Observer column) -- As state policymakers consider the future of broadband deployment and the digital divide in North Carolina, they would do well to keep in mind the historical and continuing importance of cities and town as centers of commerce.

MIKE MACIAG: Where Evictions Are Most Common (Governing Magazine reports) -- A new database provides the first-ever national look at evictions. It shows that they happen more often than you think in places you might not expect. For many renters living in southeast Greensboro, N.C., changing addresses is an all-too-familiar endeavor. The mostly low-income residents in these communities of concentrated poverty often can’t afford to pay the monthly rent and are ultimately evicted.

NATALIE MATTHEWS: Raleigh one of five finalists to host Army's new command center (WRAL-TV reports) -- Raleigh has been selected as one of five finalists to host the U.S. Army's new Futures Command, according to U.S. Senator Thom Tillis. The group to be led by a four-star general that works to keep the force's modernization efforts on track.

Time to get ‘Real’ (Greensboro News & Record) -- People who get their Real ID driver’s licenses now probably will be glad they did. The extended deadline for obtaining this enhanced driver’s license that includes a federally approved ID is two years away.

EDUCATION
Education Spending Per Student by State (Governing Magazine reports) – The Census Bureau compiles data on education spending per pupil and elementary/secondary education revenues for each state. North Carolina ranks 6th from the bottom in per-pupil education spending.

DAVE HENDRICKSON: School voucher study shows positive but questionable results (WRAL-TV reports) -- A study of North Carolina's school voucher program showed mostly that more research is needed.

ANN DOSS HELMS: Good test scores but too much Bible: Two views from research on N.C. school vouchers (Charlotte Observer reports) -- NC State University study shows students with private school vouchers outscore counterparts in public schools. But another study questions whether Christian curriculum leaves students ill-prepared in science and world history.

CLAUDIA RUPCICH: UNC system to study itself to improve student success (WRAL-TV reports) -- The University of North Carolina system is launching a research effort to help students at its various campuses succeed, President Margaret Spellings said.

ALLAN MAURER: UNC-CH part of $50M Blockchain Research Initiative (WRAL-TV/TechWire reports) – UNC-Chapel Hill is among 17 worldwide receiving part of a $50 million donation from Ripple, an Amsterdam-based crypto currency payment company, for the University Blockchain Research Initiative.

THOMAS GOLDMSMITH: Across NC, Professionals Treat Hoarding as a Distinct, Potentially Deadly Disorder (N.C. Health News reports) -- People with hoarding disorder can endanger themselves, people close to them and even firefighters trying to save their lives. It’s getting heightened attention among North Carolina therapists and first responders.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
TRISTA TALTON: Blueprint-Water Quality, Living Shorelines (Coastal Review reports) -- To address issues that threaten the river’s vulnerable natural resources, the Lower Cape Fear River Blueprint, a collaborative planning effort being led by the North Carolina Coastal Federation, identifies four goals and strategies. Those goals include: protecting and restoring water quality; implementing living shorelines along the river’s banks; boosting oyster habitat; and protecting native coastal wetlands free of invasive species.

Appeals Court rejects completion of massive Outer Banks home (AP reports) – N.C.'s Court of Appeals has rejected a New England woman's plans to complete work on her 24-bedroom rental home on the Outer Banks.

STEPHANIE CARSON: NC Farms Watching Monsanto Merger Closely (Public News Service reports) -- Monsanto, with offices in Research Triangle Park, may be acquired by the German pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer. The company is known for aspirins, but it also is a key manufacturer of seeds and pesticides. This impacts N.C. farmers who depend on vegetable seeds. According to Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, the $6.25-billion deal will consolidate control of more than a quarter of the world's seed and pesticides market.

… AND MORE
Former 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark dead at 61(AP Obit) -- North Carolina native Dwight Clark will forever be remembered for one iconic moment, his leap in the back of the end zone to make a fingertip grab of a game-winning touchdown that launched the San Francisco 49ers dynasty and is one of the most indelible images in NFL history. Clark, the author of one play simply known as "The Catch," died Monday just more than one year after revealing he had ALS. He was 61.

ALLEN JOHNSONL: Bare nekkid lady revealed in N&R expose (Greensboro News & Record column) -- As strange as it may seem, the sprawling, 130-foot mural of the nude woman on a wall of AWOL (pun intended?) Fitness in downtown Greensboro is not that easy to find.

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