Opinion: Columnists

Feb. 17, 2015 @ 11:38 AM

Martin: A Black History Month valentine

Each February we celebrate Valentine's Day and Black History Month.

Feb. 16, 2015 @ 12:22 PM

Judge Roy Moore stands on the wrong side of history ... again

In June, it will be 52 years since George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door.

Feb. 15, 2015 @ 04:02 PM

Americans should curb their pessimism

Barack Obama's tone of mild exasperation when tutoring the public often makes his pronouncements grating even when they are sensible. As was his recent suggestion that Americans, misled by media, are exaggerating the threat of terrorism.

Feb. 15, 2015 @ 02:42 PM

Fund drives insure WUNC, public radio’s vital service

In the mid-1970s, my wife, Pat, and I lived in an apartment that was half the second floor of a house on Raleigh’s Chamberlain Street, a few blocks from the N.C. State University campus.

Feb. 14, 2015 @ 10:35 PM

School letter grades teach many lessons

Those who care about education reform learned a lot on Feb. 5 when North Carolina released its first letter grades for public schools. The grades reflect three sets of information: average performance on end-of-year tests, the amount of annual growth in those scores, and graduation rates.

Feb. 13, 2015 @ 02:50 PM

Brian Williams' lies are not equal to those of Fox 'News'

There's this speech I give my students. Distilled, it goes like this.

"Your primary asset as a journalist is not your dogged curiosity, your talent for research or your ability to make prose sing on deadline. No, your one indispensable asset is your credibility. If you are not believable, nothing else matters."

Feb. 12, 2015 @ 11:51 PM

Duke lets status quo win battle on divestment

There is increasing pressure on universities to divest from fossil fuel companies on the basis that the industry threatens our climate and future on this planet. As a society, we hold educational institutions to be the forefront of knowledge, and yet many of them are blatantly ignoring climate risk in their endowment management decisions.

Feb. 11, 2015 @ 08:01 PM

The Pence paradox

WASHINGTON -- Although he is always preternaturally placid, Mike Pence today exemplifies a Republican conundrum. Sitting recently 24 blocks from Capitol Hill, where he served six terms as a congressman, and eight blocks from the White House, which some Republicans hope he craves, Pence, now in his third year as Indiana's governor, discussed two issues, Common Core and Medicaid expansion, that illustrate the following:


Feb. 10, 2015 @ 12:10 AM

Who could succeed Tom Ross as UNC head?

Five years ago, when the University of North Carolina board of governors was searching for a candidate to replace Erskine Bowles, I wrote in this column, “The Board will be looking for the new president who has two critical qualifications:

1. A good feel for North Carolina’s traditions and the state’s needs, and,

2. Successful experience at the highest level of university administration.”

Feb. 09, 2015 @ 01:16 PM

The Secret Knowledge, just ignorance by another name

I call it the Secret Knowledge.

Meaning that body of information not everyone has, that body known only to those few people who had the good sense to go off the beaten path and seek it. It is information you'll never see in your "newspapers" or "network news" or any other place overly concerned with verifiable "facts" and reliable "sources."

Feb. 08, 2015 @ 11:45 PM

Education is the business of the states

In 1981, Tennessee's 41-year-old governor proposed to President Ronald Reagan a swap: Washington would fully fund Medicaid and the states would have complete responsibility for primary and secondary education. Reagan, a former governor, was receptive. But Democrats, who controlled the House and were beginning to be controlled by teachers unions (the largest, the National Education Association, had bartered its first presidential endorsement, of Jimmy Carter, for creation of the Department of Education) balked.  

Feb. 08, 2015 @ 12:14 PM

How to consider low school letter grades

I have been worrying about the grade my youngest son’s school would receive for weeks. And, on Thursday, a date that was marked on my calendar, the first thing I did when the grades were released was type in Moore Square Middle School.

Feb. 07, 2015 @ 09:30 PM

End to gerrymandering for legislature could happen

Many readers probably received a recent email greeting from Congressman David Price. It opened by saying, "I am honored to return to Washington to represent North Carolina's Fourth District in the 114th Congress."

Feb. 07, 2015 @ 09:27 PM

Insurance deadlines and financial fines loom

Ensuring you have good medical and prescription coverage is both daunting and really important. Outside of annual or special enrollment periods, individuals are surprised to learn that they cannot add coverage during the year, so it’s critical to pay attention to deadlines. In addition, uninsured individuals who don’t qualify for an exemption will pay penalties for not having coverage

Feb. 07, 2015 @ 09:13 PM

Wrestling with a past that’s ‘not even past’

Just off the University of North Carolina campus on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, a little-noticed plaque put there in 2003 (replacing an earlier one) notes that road is part of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway.