Gov. Pat McCrory says his staff will consider making changes to a new law that offers raises to top teachers who give up tenure rights.
“I think it’s an example of passing a policy without clearly understanding the execution,” McCrory said.
McCrory says his staff will review the impact of the law between now and the short session in May. “I share some of the concerns expressed based on the implementation of the rule. The intent of the rule is very good -- the implementation process needs to be more clarified,” he said.
No, the intent of the rule is the root of the problem, not the implementation. The intent is to tear down the ranks of experienced teachers so they can be replaced by less-expensive and less-experienced rookies. And with those new teachers continuously worried about their short-term contracts, they're less likely to complain about having no new books or other needed materials. It's a policy of destruction, plain and simple, and it needs to be reversed.
But one environmental group warns that damage to marine life from seismic air guns probing for pockets of oil and gas would mean bigger losses for commercial and recreational fisheries, tourism and coastal recreation.
“Seismic airgun testing isn’t simply a method of surveying a coastal area for its energy potential,” Oceana said in a statement after the review was issued. “The blasts from seismic airguns are 100,000 times more intense than a jet plane engine and are emitted every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for weeks and months at a time. “It’s disruptive, destructive, and directly threatens the survival of marine creatures like dolphins, whales, and turtles.”
It's doubtful these issues will raise concerns amongst the "drill baby drill" crowd, who have seldom acknowledged their responsibility for safeguarding the lesser creatures in the food chain. But the rest of us should be very concerned.
Cozy. Environmental advocates and government watchdogs used the word frequently last week to describe the relationship between Duke Energy and Gov. Pat McCrory.
The company gave $748,000 directly to his campaigns in 2008 and 2012, critics noted. Duke employees donated another $410,000.
Margaret goes on to explain that Duke Energy has given lots of money to both parties, but the utility's support of other individual candidates pales in comparison to what it has provided for McCrory in the past. But what may be even more important in determining how the McCrory administration will handle the coal ash crisis is Pat's future campaign needs. The 2016 Gubernatorial race is going to be expensive, and (in McCrory's mind anyway) the more it costs Duke to fix the coal ash mess, the less he will get. And that is the heart and soul of a conflict of interest.
On Feb. 7, McCrory’s general counsel, Bob Stephens, fired back, saying, “This administration is committed to transparency, open government, and broad access to public records.” In his letter, Stephens argued that many governmental entities charge more for “extensive requests.” “In response (to large requests), cities like Charlotte and Asheville have instituted special service charge policies,” he wrote.
“We don’t charge for requests, other than occasional costs for duplication,” said Dawa Hitch, the city of Asheville’s public information officer. Carolyn Johnson, a senior deputy city attorney for Charlotte who often handles public records requests, said that the situation is similar in her city.
“We charge our actual costs to copy paper documents – 3 cents a page, because that’s what it costs us,” Johnson said. And most often, she said, public records are delivered to requesters electronically, free. “We don’t charge for the staff’s time (spent gathering records), and not on the IT side either,” she said.
Whether the high charges are due to simple greed or a calculated effort to stifle public records requests, the end result is the same: a hefty pricetag on something we should be able to see for free.
Confusion over the state’s ash-pond policy began Monday when McCrory said in an on-campus news conference that Duke Energy must respond to the Dan River incident by “moving the ash ponds,” which environmental groups said Tuesday morning is their fondest desire.
But then, on Tuesday afternoon, McCrory’s press office suggested he did not mean to specify any one preferred method. “Moving the coal ash is one option available at this point, and everything is on the table in order to best protect our people and the environment,” Ryan Tronovitch, McCrory’s deputy director of communications, said in an email.
No doubt McCrory received a heated phone call about the costs of moving these coal ash ponds, and it probably didn't dawn on him to ask the billion-dollar question: "Why did you idiots put these toxic containment ponds right beside our water resources in the first place?" Common sense will tell you Duke Energy did so with the intent to get rid of some of their coal ash using the water to transport it away from the site. There's no other reason (I can think of) to have it so close, but until somebody in the media or the courts asks that question, it won't get answered.
The golf championships are being played in back-to-back weeks at the same venue for the first time. McCrory said Commerce Secretary Sharon Allred Decker has told him to "wipe my schedule clean for those two weeks."
"We are going to be meeting with business development people at the two Opens," McCrory said. "In fact, we’re going to use the Women’s Open to concentrate on Asian companies because of all the Asian golfers.
Right, because Asians are all one type, and they hold off on their important business decisions until their female golfers finish the tour. What if they play poorly? Aside from the fact that North Carolina is already well-known for its golf courses, the popularity of the game itself has been on the decline for several years:
Last week, Gov. Pat McCrory and his fellow Republican legislative leaders announced that starting salaries for public school teachers will be raised when the General Assembly goes back into session in a few months. It’s an important boost for young teachers in the state’s public education system.
The cynics among us will say that McCrory’s and the GOP leaders’ move is all about politics. The naïve among us will say that it had nothing to do with the upcoming November elections. But those among us who want to see reforms and improvements to North Carolina’s public education system will say this move is one that has been needed for years in order to address an identified problem among young teachers.
Mixed metaphors aside, this is an issue Democrats may need to take a second look at. As a few folks mentioned on social media, this is actually a victory of sorts. Most of us can agree this move on the part of Republicans would not have happened were it not for the Moral Monday protests and the threat of teacher walkouts that followed. But like most GOP initiatives, the plan itself is seriously flawed and will leave a majority of teachers holding nothing. So, what do we do? If we reject it outright, we're also losing the opportunity to claim it as a victory. If we support it, we're giving both legitimacy and our tacit approval to a flawed and politically-motivated move by the GOP. What say you?
Submitted by Rick Vogel on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 11:16am
In case anyone has missed the latest Republican wingnut cabaret, Tennessee version. In a nutshell, it features Gov. Bill Haslam and State Senator Bo Watson stamping their feet and shaking their ... err, members at Volkswagen USA for not sufficiently opposing the U.A.W. in its attempt to unionize the Chattanooga VW plant.
They are warning that, "...if VW's workers voted to embrace the U.A.W., the Republican-controlled Legislature might vote against approving future incentives to help the plant expand. "The members of the Tennessee Senate will not view unionization as in the best interest of Tennessee."
Think about that threat for a half second and it becomes obvious that the phrase, "incentives to help the plant expand" might as well be shortened to one word: "jobs".
These morons are willing to stand up in public and declare that they will screw the very people that elect them out of new jobs, just to spite the union. Honest to God they must be sneaking into NC at night to discuss strategy with DAG McCrory.
Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republican leaders will propose Monday a higher minimum salary for North Carolina's least experienced public school teachers as part of a long-awaited proposal designed to improve morale and retention.
The plan, detailed in a document obtained by The Associated Press, would in part ensure all public school teachers make a base salary of at least $33,000 during the 2014-15 school year and at least $35,000 the following year.
Another attempt to divide teachers, by giving entry-level educators a raise while the more experienced ones lose tenure and have to sign short-term contracts. This is not leadership, it's divide and conquer politics. And considering these new teachers will be drawing a bigger paycheck for a few months running up to the election, it might just work.
N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory says North Carolina should pay its technology, math and science teachers more than some other educators. McCrory's remarks came during a brief appearance at the N.C. Technology Association's Outlook for IT event in Charlotte on Friday.
He told the capacity crowd at the Hilton Center City that North Carolina needs to improve the quality of education it provides in the areas of technology, math and science. To do that, he said the state should consider paying higher wages to teachers specializing in those fields.
Hopefully he was just doing what he always does, pander to the crowd in front of which he's standing. Because if he isn't, it proves he's a dunce that has no business setting education policy. No matter how much you pay your STEM teachers, if students don't have a solid grounding in language and reading comprehension, they will be unable to grasp and follow instruction in the technical categories. Education is one of those areas in which "the market" simply has no relevance, but I fear many Republicans don't have the ability to comprehend that.
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