Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


DISGUISING VOTER SUPPRESSION BEHIND MASK OF VOTER ID: The problem is that Berger and Moore are disguising the truth. If they really cared about identification, they could easily write a bill that would pass constitutional muster. In reality, while the two TALK about voter ID, what they are DOING is voter suppression. The law the courts struck down was MORE about discouraging voting: reducing early and Sunday voting; eliminating same-day voter registration; ending pre-registration of teenagers; and disallowing out-of-precinct voting. All that comes on top of efforts to make it difficult for certain groups of voters, such as students, to vote by moving polling places from convenient locations, like student unions, to more remote locations on the fringes of college campuses.

HARSH EDGE SHOWS SOMETHING AMISS IN US POLITICS: Something is not right when Trump proposes a budget that would slash funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the program launched by President George W. Bush in 2003 that has saved nearly 12 million lives in Africa and elsewhere by providing antiretroviral drugs. Trump’s budget would cut the program by nearly one-fifth – and result in the deaths of at least 1 million people, according to researchers. Something is not right when Trump’s budget would cut food stamps and housing vouchers for needy families; health care for poor children – this on top of cuts already envisioned in the health care bill; heating assistance for the low-income elderly; and job training programs to help the very Americans whose interests Trump vowed to champion. Something is really not right when all this is done to help pay for trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the richest Americans.

VOUCHER ADVOCATE'S CLAIMS OF SUCCESS, ACCOUNTABILITY ARE UNFOUNDED AND PREMATURE: North Carolina’s legislative leaders keep wanting to spend millions, and millions more, on the “Opportunity Scholarships” private school voucher program, but they don’t seem to care if this taxpayer money is being spent properly or if it is achieving anything to help students learn. In reality, it is highly speculative, high risk spending set to increase from $24.8 million this year to $134 million in a decade. How can anyone believe legislators who allow this are responsible stewards of the public trust? Darrell Allison, the president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, and the chief lobbyist for vouchers, claims in a widely distributed commentary, that the program is already a success, but doesn’t back it with facts. Are taxpayers supposed to take his word? Allison seems to be happy with anecdotal comments from parents. There is a problem with such an approach. It's not the parent’s money -- it is taxpayer money.

TRUMP'S AGENDA SHOWS CONTEMPT FOR THOSE WHO PUT THEIR FAITH IN HIM: What would happen to West Virginia if all these Trump policies went into effect? Basically, it would be apocalyptic: Hundreds of thousands would lose health insurance; medical debt and untreated conditions would surge; and there would be an explosion in extreme poverty, including a lot of outright hunger. So many of the people who voted for Donald Trump were the victims of an epic scam by a man who has built his life around scamming. In the case of West Virginians, this scam could end up pretty much destroying their state. Will they ever realize this, and admit it to themselves? More important, will they be prepared to punish him the only way they can – by voting for Democrats?

WE KNOW HOW TO END HOMELESSNESS, WHY DON'T WE? Both programs have shared similar tactics: Get the homeless people into stable housing. Get them appropriate help for their physical and mental health problems. Help move them into workforce training and then out into the job market. Then follow up regularly with all the support they need, for several years if necessary. It’s a model that has been effective in helping homeless people across the country. But so far, those are the only two programs here following that script. There are a host of other programs for the homeless in Fayetteville, but none of them are as comprehensive. We know what we need to do to make a really big dent in our homeless population, so we can count it in dozens, not hundreds. We find it puzzling that it’s not happening. Puzzling and frustrating. Isn’t it time we do the job right?


JULIA GAMBLE: SCHOOLS, LAWMAKERS SHOULD WIDEN DOOR TO GIFTED PROGRAMS: Regarding the May 21 news article “Smart, low-income students excluded from gifted classes”: The ‘Counted Out’ series on the difficulties that lower-income children and their families have in accessing higher level or “gifted” classes is important. I’ve long wondered if there is a larger systemic approach to tracking and reporting such data. Clearly, there is much to learn. This is a good beginning to this conversation. I’m looking to hear more from our state leaders on the political (funding) side and the academic (education) side about how North Carolina schools and communities can work to change the status quo.

THOMAS CLARK: WHO WILL THE PIPELINE REALLY BENEFIT? There is an open question about whether the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is for a legitimate public use. Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC is owned by utilities that have contracts to purchase 93 percent of the gas it would transport once the pipeline is operational. This arrangement calls into question whether the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will serve the public interest or serve the interest of Duke and Dominion and their shareholders, and not the captive ratepayers. For example: Duke Energy owns Duke Energy Progress, which has contracted for 452,750 dekatherms per day from Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC; it owns Duke Energy Carolinas, which has contracted for 272,250 dekatherms per day; it owns Piedmont Natural Gas, which has contracted for 160,000 dekatherms per day. So one may ask, is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline really for the ratepayers or to line the pockets of Duke, Dominion and their shareholders?

PROFESSOR STANLEY BAKER: COUNSELORS, EDUCATORS MUST REACH OUT TO LOW-INCOME STUDENTS: Regarding the May 23 news article “5 ways to boost bright low-income students”: School counselors are well positioned to play an important role in helping all qualified students receive the necessary educational instruction for access to higher education opportunities. To discover students who may be overlooked requires proactive behaviors. Large student-to-counselor ratios force counselors to devote much of their time to reactive behaviors, leaving little time left for actively discovering inequities in student course placements. Smaller student-to-counselor ratios would help considerably. Education leaders also play an important role. If school principals believe equity in course choice is important, then their counselors are more likely to be encouraged or directed to identify students who are being overlooked.