Opinion: Guest Columnists

Feb. 08, 2014 @ 11:47 PM

Popular tax deduction for 529 Plans repealed: Did you know?

In July 2013, the N.C. General Assembly repealed the state tax deduction for contributions to North Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan.  There was no discussion or debate.  Students and parents did not weigh in.  It was not reported in the media.

Feb. 01, 2014 @ 11:50 PM

'Broken schools' -- or broken debate over education?

 “I don’t want to hear the words ‘broken schools’ one more time!”  This senior scholar of education usually speaks with the tone of a high school physics teacher -- measured, clear, and calm.  But she is fed up.  We were at a forum on North Carolina women and politics recently, and a young woman had just used the phrase to ask a reasonable question about child-to-teacher ratios.  This scholar responded by sternly warning us not to buy into the jargon of “brokenness.” 

Jan. 30, 2014 @ 03:30 PM

Big picture health reform

Much has been said about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, especially since the botched launching of the healthcare.gov website. However, several big-picture changes deserve more attention.

Jan. 30, 2014 @ 03:19 PM

North Carolina's looming third-grade retention crisis

More than half of North Carolina's third graders could be held back this year as districts work to implement the state's new "Read to Achieve" law.

Jan. 27, 2014 @ 12:04 PM

Without fear or favor?

Once upon a time, and not too long ago, the job of journalism was seen as reporting the truth “without fear or favor” and “letting the chips fall where they may.” 

Not so much anymore. 

Jan. 25, 2014 @ 08:20 AM

Durham’s civil rights movement entrepreneurs

There is a story behind the story of sit-ins which involves two social entrepreneurs who formed a friendship in 1949 while attending college in Durham.

Jan. 23, 2014 @ 09:23 AM

The cynical celebration by Civitas and the N.C. Chamber

Thousands of long term laid off workers in North Carolina have simply given up looking for a job and dropped out of the labor force and folks like the N.C. Chamber and the Pope Civitas Institute either don't care, don't want to admit it, or don't understand what the unemployment numbers actually mean, judging from their latest absurd and borderline offensive comments about the state's jobless picture.

Jan. 18, 2014 @ 03:38 PM

Access to emergency epinephrine will protect students

Millions of school children in North Carolina and across the country suffer from severe allergies, and for these students, exposure to the wrong food at lunch or an insect bite at recess can cause serious illness and even become fatal.

Jan. 15, 2014 @ 09:16 AM

Faith Summit on Child Poverty, a year later

Faith Summit on Child Poverty, a year later

Jan. 12, 2014 @ 05:00 PM

Approach charter growth with vision

2014 has gotten off to quite a start, with crucial decisions by state leaders that have potential to nearly double the number of charter schools already operating across the state. As vice-chair of an excellent public charter school, one might expect I would be thrilled about this level of interest in the charter model. Instead, I’m concerned.

Jan. 12, 2014 @ 03:25 PM

Why the decline in the unemployment rate isn’t a necessarily good thing

It’s too early to declare victory for North Carolina’s jobs crisis, since most of the improvements we’ve seen in the state’s unemployment rate haven’t shown up in real job creation. Instead, North Carolina finished 2013 with fewer jobs in November than existed in January -- a net loss of jobs. And even more troubling, the total size of the workforce has shrunk dramatically to the lowest levels in two years.

Jan. 11, 2014 @ 12:06 PM

North Carolina's assault on public education

My son Ben's language arts teacher emailed one morning this winter to tell me she is leaving Ben's school. I feel sick, but I don't blame her. Three of Ben's middle school teachers have left in the past year.

North Carolina's intentional assault on public education is working. It is pushing our best teachers out.

Jan. 09, 2014 @ 02:55 PM

Let innovative models flourish in K-12 education

As I travel around the state, I am sometimes asked by well-meaning skeptics: “instead of providing additional options to students, why not build it within our existing traditional public school system?” 

This question is understandable.  

Jan. 04, 2014 @ 10:44 PM

On the 12th day of Christmas

I know.  Most people are sick of Christmas by now.   The snowmen appeared at the mall like fat, tardy ghosts a day after Halloween.  But I am a sucker for Christmas anything and everything.  I am like Auntie Mame belting out “Yes, we need a little Christmas!  Right this very minute!”  Even in March.

Jan. 02, 2014 @ 03:19 PM

N.C. tax reform package burdens students

To offset income tax decreases, the major tax reform package that the GOP-led legislature passed this past summer includes numerous sales tax changes that were set to go into effect Wednesday.