Forest uses right-wing talk radio to whine about charter schools report

Wants less evidence, more anecdotal cheerleading:

“Is there an actual anti-charter bias in the Department of Public Instruction?” Kaliner asked. Forest didn’t answer directly, but said “they” see charter schools as competition. DPI and the state Board of Education oversee North Carolina’s school districts and 158 charter schools, which are run by independent nonprofit boards.

He says delaying the report, which state lawmakers required by Jan. 15, allows more time for it to be reviewed by the Board of Education and the Charter School Advisory Board. In addition, Forest said said there should be an opportunity for “charter schools themselves to be able to read it and look at it and go, ‘Wait a minute. This isn’t painting our picture.’ There’s a lot of great positive things going on with charter schools in the state. Let’s tell that story, too.”

Apparently Forest doesn't know the difference between art and science. If the numbers don't "paint the picture" you want to see, then you need to institute policies that change those numbers. And two of the main policy drivers keeping charters from being diverse are their refusal to provide transportation and free- or reduced-lunches. The sad thing is, I have a feeling charter school proponents view that as a selling point; keeping out the riff-raff. And Republican leaders, including Forest, likely see it the same way. The problem with institutional bias is, you can't hide it when the numbers come rolling in.

Saturday News: Punishing whistleblowers edition


N.C. PROPERTY PROTECTION LAW ENACTED (Mount Airy News) -- A bill aimed at protecting businesses from damages resulting from employees acting outside the scope of permissible access granted to them went into effect Jan. 1. The new law makes employees of a company liable for civil damages caused by their gaining access to areas or information outside their permissible scope with the intent to use that information against their employer.

AG-GAG LAW PUNISHES WHISTLEBLOWERS, NOT LAWBREAKERS (Richmond Daily Journal) -- laming Mercy for Animals and its undercover operative who worked at Deese Farm and recorded the abuse there misses the mark. Danny Miranda’s conduct was unacceptable. Mercy for Animals didn’t create, incite or encourage the abuse. It merely documented it and dragged it into the light of day. When confronted with bad news, we shouldn’t shoot the messenger.

Further erosion of environmental regulations coming soon

The polluters are hoping for a belated Xmas present orgy:

The state tightened the standard for shellfish waters in 2008 by requiring that runoff be treated if the hard, constructed surfaces exceed 12 percent of the building site. There was an attempt during the session last year to roll back the threshold to old standard of 25 percent.

Miller said there are some changes to the stormwater rules that might make sense, but he was disappointed to see the state move backwards. “We’re still losing ground when it comes to water quality,” he said.

These percentages might seem small to the casual observer, or even to advocates from urban and suburban Piedmont areas. But the coast is a totally different animal, and shellfish populations were seriously stressed under the old (failing) system. Another potential rule change will have a devastating effect on third-party legal intervention:

Friday News: Dirty secrets edition


DUKE ENERGY'S (SECRET) DINNER WITH PAT (Charlotte Magazine column) -- The purpose of a June 1 meeting over dinner at the Executive Mansion among Gov. Pat McCrory, his chief of staff, his general counsel, the state’s chief environmental regulator; and Duke Energy executives, including CEO Lynn Good, may well have been, in McCrory spokesman Graham Wilson’s words, “a constructive dialogue” about “the economy, the environment, energy, and job creation.” Yet, Charlotte-based Duke Energy is more than just the nation’s largest utility. It’s also Pat McCrory’s longtime employer, and, at the time of the dinner, an established corporate polluter less than three months removed from the state assessing a record $25 million fine against Duke for years of coal ash pollution at a Wilmington power plant. That fine was later sliced to $7 million.

Dan Forest wants more happy talk in charter schools report

Because form over substance is so important in the education formula:

The State Board of Education is expected to vote Thursday on several charter school issues, including whether to give newer charter schools more chances to remain open if they are struggling to meet performance standards.

The board could also hear more about the annual charter schools report, which is due to the legislature on Jan. 15. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest advised the board to take more time to review the report and possibly make changes, saying he thought the statistics provided in the report were "negative" and "did not have a lot of positive things to say."

Statistics are what they are. That's why we go to the trouble to collect them, because they are untainted by ideology or preconceived notions. If you don't like the story they tell, change the factors that drove them, not the data itself. And one of the biggest factors driving those negative statistics is the mismanagement of resources, something a former Pope Puppet has positioned himself to take advantage of:

Thursday News: Not so fast, bond boy


N.C. BOND DRAWS OPPOSITION (Greensboro News & Record) -- Opponents say the Connect NC bond package consists of expensive pet projects.

OPPONENTS OF NC'S $2 BILLION BOND ORGANIZE (Raleigh News & Observer) -- There has not been any organized opposition to the statewide $2 billion bond on the March 15 primary election ballot, whose supporters kicked off their campaign on Tuesday, until now.

McCrory's dinner ex parte with Duke Energy

Hat-tip to Mark Binker for reading the tea leaves:

But on June 1, while in the midst of pressing legal action against and issuing news releases critical of the nation's largest utility, top state officials met for a private dinner at the Executive Mansion with Duke executives, according to calendar entries and other records reviewed by WRAL News.

McCrory, his top environmental regulator, his chief of staff and his general counsel attended, as did Duke Chief Executive Lynn Good, the company's general counsel and the president of the company's North Carolina operations.

Go read the whole story. As usual, Mark takes advantage of his freedom from column space restrictions to provide an in-depth exploration of the issue, as well as providing the context necessary to fully understand the ethics. Or lack of, as in this case. And this (lack of) commenting speaks volumes, as well:

NC GOP wastes no time in attacking Roy Cooper

They'll use anything as fodder, but this time it's Obama's executive actions on gun sales:

NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse said Tuesday Obama is not standing up for the constitutional rights of citizens. “Our question is if North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will. Certainly there will be attorney generals across this country that will standup and fight these executive orders,” Woodhouse said.

“The president has done something here that he couldn’t get passed through the legislative process and that should concern all citizens,” Woodhouse said. “What the president has done here is assert authority we don’t think he has and what North Carolina citizens need is our state Attorney General Roy Cooper to do something about it.”

What the President has done is probably a far sight less than he should have, but you won't hear anything like that from the gun-nuts or GOP lawmakers and their political apparatchiks. Closing the gunshow loophole and cracking down on "private" sales is a critical step. Until that happens, it doesn't matter how accurate and up-to-date the federal database is, because somebody who would fail that test has a Plan B. And after all the harping about "mental illness" the gun lobby has used as a deflection, for them to condemn the very thing they've been promoting proves that was all just a sham. No logical ground to stand on.

Wednesday News: Hils vs. Pat edition


CLINTON CAMPAIGN SLAMS MCCRORY ON ABORTION LAW (Raleigh News & Observer) -- For the second time in recent months, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has weighed in on new North Carolina laws. On Monday, her campaign released a statement criticizing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory for allowing an abortion law to go into effect here. The new law requires abortion providers to send to state health officials records of all abortions and induced miscarriages after the 16th week of pregnancy, including ultrasound images of fetuses.


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