Altered State

Monday numbers from an Altered State, Part 3

BY: - December 21, 2015

Win the courts, win the war 51 — percent of North Carolina voters who cast a ballot for a Democratic U.S. House candidate in 2012 31 — percent of U.S. House seats that went to Democrats in 2012 Open season on individual rights 17 — days allowed for early voting before the passage of the […]

Voices from an Altered State

BY: - December 18, 2015

In “Altered State: How Five years of conservative rule have redefined North Carolina”  the staff at N.C. Policy Watch takes an in-depth look at a number of the key policy changes that have taken place since the November elections of 2010. Policymakers, educators, environmentalists and advocates all had something to say about the changes they […]

Amid the gloom, rays of hope

BY: - December 17, 2015

At the conclusion of the whirlwind 2011 session of the North Carolina General Assembly — a session in which new conservative majorities pushed through a raft of dramatic policy changes —many progressive North Carolinians surveyed the aftermath and found themselves actually breathing a sigh of relief. There was a widespread feeling that the fury of […]

"What democracy looks like" — Demonstrators gather in Raleigh during the 2014 "Historic Thousands on Jones Street" rally. (Photo by Ricky Leung)

Open season on individual rights

BY: - December 16, 2015

The party of less government rolled into Raleigh after the 2010 elections champing at the bit, eager to fulfill an agenda long delayed. “Regulations kill jobs” became the rallying cry, but as it turned out, that cry only went so far. When it came to voting booths, bedrooms, doctor’s offices and execution chambers, the self-styled […]

Win the courts, win the war

BY: - December 15, 2015

Conservative justices hold a 4-3 majority on the ostensibly nonpartisan state Supreme Court and, as party operatives understand well, maintaining that edge has been critical to ensuring Republican control elsewhere throughout the state. “Lose the courts, lose the war.” Political consultant John Davis labeled this “Rule Number Five” in his 2013 report, “How the North […]

Monday numbers from an Altered State, Part 2

BY: - December 14, 2015

Starving the schools 250 — decline, in dollars, in per-student K–12 funding in North Carolina for fiscal year 2015 from 2014 (“Most states still funding schools less than before the recession,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Oct. 16, 2014) 14.5 — percentage reduction in per-pupil spending in North Carolina from 2007–08 to 2014–15 when […]

UNC system at risk

BY: - December 11, 2015

The tumultuous political changes that have swept over North Carolina this decade have not spared the state’s public universities. The 17-campus UNC system stands out nationally, especially in the South, for its quality, affordability and independence. It boasts the nation’s first public university; the prestigious N.C. School of Science and Mathematics for the state’s brightest […]

Paving the way toward privatization

BY: - December 10, 2015

Since taking charge in Raleigh, conservative lawmakers have been steering public dollars into a range of alternatives to traditional public schools that march under the banner of “school choice.” Beginning as a trickle, but with the potential to become a flood, spending is growing for vouchers to pay tuition at private and religious schools; an […]

Losing its luster

BY: - December 9, 2015

By any measure, Asheville Middle School’s Chris Gable was a teaching star. Gable outperformed all of his colleagues as measured by his students’ test scores, and he had a gift for engaging his students. He coached young writers and was always finding innovative ways to make language arts interesting. But a salary low enough to […]

Starving the schools

BY: - December 8, 2015

Barbara Dell Carter is not a social worker. Nor is she a nurse, psychotherapist, nutritionist or a special needs educator. Carter is a second grade teacher. But in today’s classrooms in North Carolina, she’s expected to take on much more than planning lessons and teaching her students. “And the needs of our students are just […]

Monday numbers from an Altered State, Part 1

BY: - December 7, 2015

The wrecking crew 228 — weekly average in dollars of unemployment benefit in North Carolina (All for naught? Today’s harmful policies are setting up the unemployment insurance system to repeat past mistakes, fail to stabilize the economy,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, May 2015) 47 — rank of North Carolina’s unemployment benefit among the 50 […]

Amy Adams, N.C. Campaign Coordinator for Appalachian Voices, shows some of the fine coal ash deposited on a piece of driftwood just upstream of the drinking water intake in Danville, Va. (Courtesy of Appalachian Voices; photo by Eric Chance)

Paradise for polluters

BY: - December 4, 2015

Conservatives rolled out the welcome mat for business when they took control of state government, making clear that unleashing companies from regulatory burdens ranked at the top of their agenda. “The reason I’m running for governor is to represent business,” then Charlotte mayor and longtime Duke Energy employee Pat McCrory told a group from the […]