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Student data mining system raises privacy concernsStudent data mining system raises privacy concerns
[Mar. 26, 2015] North Carolina public schools are developing a multimillion-dollar student data mining system intended to compile and analyze reams of information to improve educational outcomes. But critics say it poses a “creepy” potential to engineer the work force and easily could fall prey to a variety of “malicious” abuses. Known as the P-20W system, the program captures student data from pre-K through graduate school and follows individuals into their work years. The Department of Public Instruction is collaborating with the UNC system, North Carolina Community Colleges System, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the state Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Commerce to gather, manage, and analyze the information. By Dan Way
 
Low-income children, high performing schoolsLow-income children, high performing schools
[Feb. 19, 2015] Since the release of grades based on the state's new school performance grade system, the mainstream media and liberal advocacy organizations have focused on the number of low-income schools that received a D or F. If they weren't so hell-bent on criticizing and ridiculing Republican education policies, they would celebrate the outstanding achievements of the 150 low-income public schools that earned an A or B. By Dr. Terry Stoops
 
North Carolina school grades: Don’t get lost in the noiseNorth Carolina school grades: Don’t get lost in the noise
[Feb. 9, 2015] On February 5, North Carolina released A-F grades for all traditional public and charter schools. News outlets have been all over the story and pundits are angling to put a spin on what is expected to be a tough day for many schools. For the past several days, public school officials have been bracing themselves for what they expect to be a torrent of bad publicity and questions. Officials at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction have been coaching local officials about how to explain results. If they didn’t see a need they wouldn’t do so. By Bob Luebke
 
Can a redistricting panel avoid politics?
[Feb. 9, 2015] Kudos to Senate leader Phil Berger for his incisive answer as to whether he would support an independent redistricting commission. According to Gary Robertson of the Associated Press, Berger said: “I have yet to see a so-called independent redistricting commission that is truly independent. … I’m still out there looking for that nonpartisan soul that really has no opinion about politics one way or the other that has an informational background in politics.” Common sense and the experience of other states show how difficult – or even quixotic – the quest for a nonpartisan commission is.
 
North Carolina still outpaces regionNorth Carolina still outpaces region
[Jan. 30, 2015] Ever since conservatives won majorities in the North Carolina General Assembly and began reducing taxes, spending, and state regulation, liberals have predicted doom. Without sufficient government spending, they said, the North Carolina economy would suffer. Businesses don’t place as high a value on cost as they used to, liberals assured us, so efforts to promote growth with lower taxes and regulatory burdens will accomplish nothing. Instead, they counseled more spending on schools, infrastructure, and even public assistance as a stimulus. By John Hood
 
N&O Editors: Deny WCPSS budget factsN&O Editors: Deny WCPSS budget facts
[Jan. 29, 2015] “Do you have any interest in reporting the facts?” That’s the question I’d like to ask News & Observer editors after reading the recent editorial, “Time for Wake Schools to Build Back.” They cherry-picked data and cobbled together shallow or misleading arguments in order to claim the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) needs more money to recover from years of budget cuts by Republicans. The reality is far different: Despite a long-lasting recession and a dip in support from the federal government, Republicans in the legislature and the county commission generally bolstered education spending in the district.
 
Mapping the Left: Introduction
[Jan. 23, 2015] In North Carolina, left-wing nonprofit advocacy groups for decades have wielded an alarming amount of power in the media, state politics, and government. They work together, both in loose coalitions and organized networks, to influence and control public policy. Only now, however, is there a user-friendly online database that sheds light on this vast, shadowy network. Mapping the Left combines data and on-going stories about the organizations, the people and the funders that make up the radical liberal left in North Carolina. By Susan Myrick
Also: Mapping the Left
 
Civitas Waste of the Week: Taxpayer funds to benefit Reverend William Barber
[Jan. 21, 2015] A Goldsboro-based organization headed by the Rev. William Barber this year received nearly $350,000 of your tax dollars. Yes, that William Barber – the ringleader of highly partisan political protests against the General Assembly the past few years. The protests were dubbed “Money Mondays” by the Civitas Institute after research exposed the fact that organizing groups received more than $100 million in direct state grants in recent years. By Brian Balfour
 
Latest O’Keefe video validates “Phantom Voter” menace
[Nov. 3, 2014] Investigative journalist and agent provocateur, James O’Keefe, of Project Vertias, today, released video evidence of how one person can easily steal “a busload of votes” during the early voting period of an election as he successfully demonstrated how any criminal-minded voters could steal elections in states lacking effective voter ID laws.
Also: Veritas Report Video
 
WaPo: 17,900 non-citizen voters in NC’s 2008 electionsWaPo: 17,900 non-citizen voters in NC’s 2008 elections
[Oct. 27, 2014] Stunning numbers from Friday’s Washington Post and VIP’s own research raise some serious doubts about SBoE reassurances that only 1,425 non-US citizens are registered to vote in NC. We estimate the number to be at least 10,000 and the Post pegged it around 17,900.
 
Brace for a ruling against NC vote law changes by 4th Circuit Appeals Court panelBrace for a ruling against NC vote law changes by 4th Circuit Appeals Court panel
[Sep. 29, 2014] “NC Vote suppression Laws Struck Down by Federal Judges.” At least, that’s how those McClatchy “news” papers describe laws designed to reduce vote fraud and equalize the rights of all citizens seeking free elections; but even sadder, that will be the gist of their “news” reports. North Carolina’s trial of the century will probably suffer this setback along the way, but don’t be discouraged! There is reason for optimism.
 
Voter fraud game changer is hereVoter fraud game changer is here
[Sep. 24, 2014] Glen Englram was stunned. After winding down his private sector career, almost four years ago, he and his wife, Ruth, bought their Western North Carolina retirement home and began the next phase of their lives. But they briefly thought they were back in Chicago when they learned that three unknown persons were registered to vote from their address, more than three years after the couple had signed their mortgage and moved into their new home.
Also: Phantom Voter Project
 
The truth is that North Carolina has raised school spendingThe truth is that North Carolina has raised school spending
[Sep. 17, 2014] Just before Labor Day, the publicly available polls of likely voters had incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan roughly tied with her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis. Since Labor Day, the polling average has shifted about three points in Hagan’s direction. How come? The main cause, it seems, is that Hagan and her allies have vastly outspent Tillis and his allies on TV ads since Labor Day — and the claims in those ads, on education funding, have both pulled some swing voters into Hagan’s column and pushed some Tillis voters into the undecided column. By John Hood
 
NEA campaign ad dodges facts, raises financing issues
[Sep. 14, 2014] “I always want my students to start with facts, and the fact is Thom Tillis is terrible for education in North Carolina.” That’s the beginning of a pointed TV ad featuring Chapel Hill teacher Vivian Connell. The ad is part of a $1.7 million campaign by the National Education Association’s Super PAC, the NEA Advocacy Fund, and it’s airing in 95 percent of the state over a 10-day period. Vivian Connell is a member of the advisory board of Public Schools First NC, which is an affiliate of Blueprint NC, the left-wing umbrella organization behind a memo calling for the Left to attack Republicans, and to “Eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern” while “crippling their leaders (McCrory, Tillis, Berger etc.).” By Bob Luebke
 
Work at today's minimum wage is better than 'moral' unemploymentWork at today's minimum wage is better than 'moral' unemployment
[Sep. 5, 2014] Labor unions and "moral" activists have once again somehow gotten a few of the poorest and least educated workers in the Triangle to walk off their jobs and demand publicly that they all be priced out of work and their jobs be taken by machines.
True, that isn't what any of them think would happen. Practically, however, if they got what they wanted, that's what would happen. Working for the lowest allowable wage is nobody's ideal. It's better than not working at all, however -- a lot better than misguided activists seem to appreciate. By Jon Sanders

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