The futility of ignoring poverty in the education reform formula

Gene Nichol once again hits the nail on the head soundly:

A couple of weeks ago, some of my accomplished colleagues released an immensely distressing study that bolsters the correlation. Chapel Hill and Madison medical scholars demonstrated that poverty has a direct, potent and harmful impact on early brain development.

By age 4, kids living in economic distress show diminished brain tissue essential to processing information. Potential identifying causes included poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, lack of suitable reading materials and stimulation, parental stress and unsafe physical environments. The causal list was long and non-exhaustive. The conclusion, though, was linear and inescapable: Poor kids begin to experience diminished life chances almost immediately.

In North Carolina we have doubled-down on this situational effect. Massive cuts to unemployment benefits and the reckless mismanagement of the food stamp pipeline have unnecessarily endangered the nutritional health and physical security of thousands of NC children, and Republicans are showing little interest in solving these problems. The only children they seem to care about are the ones that might make their charter/private school dream come true, and the rest can go suck an egg. If they can find one.

Virtual charter school K12 still wants NC taxpayer dollars

Something that would be extremely unwise for us to allow:

As the nation’s largest online education company, K12, Inc. runs publicly-funded charter schools in 33 states, a robust business that accounts for 86 percent of the $848 million in revenue the company reported earnings to investors in its 2013 annual report. But with financial success has come criticism for lackluster student performance at several of its schools, including graduation rates of just 22 percent in Colorado and a Florida investigation that found a handful of teachers taught some classes they weren’t certified in.

Reports of poor performance have continued to plague the company, with the Lawrence, Kan. school district cancelling a contract with the company this month after the virtual high school posted a graduation rate of just 26 percent. The other two high schools in the district graduated more than 90 percent of its students.

But what K12 is lacking in capability and effectiveness is more than made up by their skills at manipulating the political process:

The NC GOP's sinister attack on college voters continues

How to silence a growing demographic:

Some Triangle college campuses could lose early voting sites as county election boards across the state seek to secure locations that meet new voting requirements.

Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections, said moving the early voting location had nothing to do with the students.

She said there were a number of issues with the previous location at Rams Head Dining Hall, including difficulty with curbside voting and scheduling around football games and other campus events that require the use of parking decks.

Don't you believe it for one minute. Republicans didn't craft the new law with some vague ideas about accessibility. They had specific targets in mind, and college students were high on that list of targets. Which is one big reason why they are trying desperately to conceal their communications while they were plotting this attack on Democracy:

Oh, SNAP: USDA destroys Aldone Wos' "Obamacare!" excuse

That's gonna leave a mark:

In the latest response in a months-long back and forth between the federal agency and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, USDA administrators say the state is still at risk of losing federal funding for the food stamps program. If the state doesn't fix the massive backlog of cases, that could happen as soon as mid-March.

The USDA also questioned the state's claim that implementation of the Affordable Care Act was to blame for many of the difficulties.

"It should be noted that many other States have implemented ACA without the dramatic impacts on SNAP that have occurred in North Carolina," USDA Regional Administrator Robin Bailey wrote to DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos Thursday.

My understanding is that only the administrative funding is at risk (subsidizing Wos' staff?), but not the money for the actual food stamps themselves. If she loses that funding, will the Legislature step up and pay for the administrative costs? If they don't, and delays get even worse, what's the next step? Has the USDA ever taken over a state's food stamp disbursement? Somehow I get the feeling the only people who will suffer from this are the same ones who usually suffer, the poor.

More big government bullying coming from Republicans in the NCGA

Stripping the powers of towns and cities:

In an update last week for the Environmental Review Commission, legislators heard from lobbyists on both sides of the issue while contemplating another attempt to limit environmental regulations at the local level. The commission is composed entirely of legislators and recommends environmental bills to the full legislature.

“The thought was just how far should cities and counties be allowed to go in enacting ordinances with a particular emphasis on areas where the state may already have rules in place,” McGrady said.

Considering the behavior of local elected officials is also subject to the scrutiny and approval of voters, they should be allowed to go as far as local residents want them to. If Republicans really believed in the sanctity of private property, they wouldn't try to force people owning property in a given area to accept dangerous industries or irresponsible development, which can (and often does) drive property values down. That is literally taking money away from one person so someone else can make more money. Once again I find myself having to make the Libertarian argument, because there aren't any real Libertarians around. More:

It's time to drop all of the charges, Colin

There's no demonstrable or relevant difference between these folks and the rest:

Via the Associated Press:

NAACP President William Barber says lawyers representing protesters were told Wednesday that charges are being dropped against those arrested at the Moral Monday protest May 20. Barber says the cases were dismissed after two protesters tried Tuesday were acquitted by District Court Judge Joy Hamilton.

District Attorney Colon Willoughby did not know the total number of dismissals, but said his office plans to move forward with the remaining cases.

And by continuing this farce you're not only ignoring precedent, but the cost associated with these unnecessary proceedings will fall squarely on your shoulders, not the protestors, as you have previously claimed. Give it a rest, pal.

CoA reviewing GOP's attempt to jump-start executions in NC

Death by appointment:

The case before the appeals court has morphed several times since it was filed in 2007 by four killers facing death sentences arguing the state's lethal combination of three drugs was unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. The appeal comes after a trial judge sided with the state in 2012.

But then the General Assembly changed state law in June to give Gov. Pat McCrory's appointed head of the public safety agency authority to decide on the procedures for lethal injections. State Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry issued a 20-page manual in October describing how workers at Central Prison and the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women would carry out executions.

For those who still think being critical of Art Pope is a waste of time and resources, consider this: when one man, who is a former Pope puppet whom voters were not given the chance to choose, can issue dictates on not only how and when people will be put to death, but what questions reporters are even allowed to ask, you're talking about a level of power and influence not seen since the colonial (crown) governors of pre-independence days. So no, thank you, we will not cease exposing this assault on Democracy.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

As the GOP's misguided tax "reform" package begins to kick in, the debate of such ensues on Twitter:

And when the Legislature's own researchers tell the truth:

MLK Day Moral Monday march/rally in Goldsboro today

Keeping the dream alive:

North Carolina civil rights leaders plan to honor Martin Luther King Jr. by holding a Moral Monday march in Goldsboro. Organizers said the march Monday on the King Holiday is the 24th Moral Monday protest since lawmakers left Raleigh in July.

North Carolina NAACP President William Barber is expected to speak at the 4 p.m. rally. He will also be in South Carolina on Monday morning as the keynote speaker at that state's King Day rally in Columbia.

Suffice to say, Reverend King would not be pleased with NC's recent civil rights record.

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