Civitas Review

So where are the parents?


Appointments to the Academic Standards Review Commission (ASCR) are now complete. They are:

State Board of Education Appointments
Bill Cobey – Chair, North Carolina State Board of Education
Olivia Oxendine – State Board of Education member,  Professor of Education UNC-Pembroke

Governor McCrory Appointment
Andre Peek, IBM, NC Business Committee for Education

Speaker Thom Tillis Appointments
Sara "Katie" Lemons – Stokes County – English Teacher
Dr. Jeffrey  A. Isenhour – Catawba County – Middle School Principal
Ms. Tammy Covil – New Hanover County – New Hanover County Board of Education
Mrs. Sharmel "Denise" Watts – Mecklenburg County – Area Superintendent,  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Senate President Phil Berger Appointments
Dr. John T. Schieck  – Wake County – Retired Professor
Laurie McCullum  – Rockingham County – Assistant Principal
Ann B. Clark – Iredell County – Dep. Supt. of Schools, Member of Central Management Team for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Jeannie Metcalfe – Forsyth County – Winston Salem Forsyth County Board of Education

ASCR by the numbers -

6 – number of commission members who are professional educators
4 – number of commission members  who are current State or local school board members
0 – number of  commission members who listed "parent" on appointment release.

As we feared, the final ASCR appointments are top-heavy with professional educators and administrators and lack representation by those most concerned about the implementation of Common Core Standards, parents. After a year of testimony and research, it looks like the views of parents matter little to this process.

This is not a good start.

Also is it just me or is anyone else bothered by the location of the first meeting, the State Education Building — essentially the DPI offices. Legislation establishing the Commission specified ASCR was to be administered through the State Department of Administration. If that's the case, why is ASCR meeting essentially in NC DPI's building? Yes, I know the meeting is in the Construction Room and it's technically a DOA office in the building. But I also know DOA said the meeting location was a SBE decision, and NOT a DOA decision.

ASCR is supposed to be an independent commission representing a range of interests. Looking at members' occupations, the preponderance of professional educators and the lack of parental representation, sadly, this list looks like business as usual.

Someone convince me I'm wrong.

Could NC's Economy Grow Without Handouts to Cronies?


The N&O today published my article describing what I'd like to see in a special session in Raleigh to address economic incentives. A sample:

Imagine with me for a moment what would happen if Gov. Pat McCrory’s office and state legislative leaders released the following joint statement regarding a special session to address economic development in North Carolina:

First, we recognize that government handouts to specific corporations are simply wrong. It is inappropriate and unacceptable for the government to use its force to coerce tax dollars from hard-working citizens only to dole those tax dollars out to politically favored companies that have the most lobbyists roaming the halls of the legislature. Not only does this provide an unfair competitive advantage to the subsidized companies, forcing other companies to downsize or go out of business, it also invites a culture of political corruption with corporations jockeying for a spot at the taxpayer trough. In this special session, we will introduce legislation to eliminate all government subsidy programs that involve taxpayer dollars being given to companies.

You can also read the article at the Civitas website.

Waste of the Week: UNC-TV


This week the Civitas Institute's "Waste of the Week" spotlights North Carolina's taxpayer subsidized television station: UNC-TV. Here is a slice:

State tax dollars provide about half of the annual revenue for UNC-TV’s operations, and in addition UNC-TV received $78 million in taxpayer dollars for capital expenses from 2000 to 2011, according to news reports.

UNC-TV had been receiving annual operation support of about $12 million per year for several years, until FY 2012-13 when its funding was reduced to about $9 million per year.

For almost 60 years, scarce tax dollars in the state budget have been diverted to a TV station. Every one of those hundreds of millions of dollars throughout the years is one less dollar for teachers and public safety or, most importantly, one additional dollar taken from taxpayers.

CFO's Confirm the Obvious: Minimum Wage Hike Will Cost Jobs


This Triangle Business Journal article confirms the obvious:

Chief financial officers in the United States say a minimum wage increase to between $10 and $15 per hour would cause immediate harm to the economy.

According to a survey of chief financial officers from global companies, a minimum wage increase “would result in immediate layoffs and significantly curtail future hiring at firms that would be affected by these wage hikes,” as reported in the Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business.

In the survey, CFO's also confirm that the higher the minimum wage hike, the more layoffs would occur; and the slower growth of future hiring. And of course, it is the very people that minimum wage hikes are allegedly supposed to help that will be the ones disproportionately effected.

Among firms employing these low-wage workers, the expected effects of proposed minimum wage hikes are dramatic. According to CFOs at these firms, the low-wage employees that increases are designed to help will also bear significant employment risk, potentially losing their jobs as firms implement labor-saving technologies.”

Demand curves slope downward.

UNC Board of Governors to Review Research Centers and Institutes


Per the N&O:

The UNC Board of Governors has launched a review of the more than 200 centers and institutes housed at North Carolina’s public universities.

UNC board members said there is no immediate plan to eliminate or cut any of the largely research-focused institutes, which brought in $556 million in federal grants and other external funding in 2013-14.


There are 237 centers and institutes across the UNC system, with most at the largest research campuses. UNC-Chapel Hill has 80 and N.C. State University has 48. Of the 237, 116 receive state appropriations totaling $68.9 million; 41 others receive some type of support from the state, totaling $14 million. Eighty receive no state support.

This year's state budget included instructions to the UNC system to consider redirecting some of the funding for these centers to other purposes. Civitas has written in the past about these UNC centers and how many of them could be considered duplicative or highly politically partisan in nature.

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