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The State of Public Education in NC: 2019

Since Republicans have taken power, we’ve witnessed a shrinking commitment to public education at all levels. While funding remains mired at pre-recession levels, Republicans prioritize tax cuts for corporations and those at the top. We need to invest in our teachers and students.

Thousands of N.C. teachers are gathered in Raleigh to ask lawmakers to prioritize education while the House Appropriations Committee meets to discuss the state’s 2019-20 budget. How did we get here?

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene, Pitt)

Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene, Pitt) is currently serving his fifth term in the North Carolina Senate. Before his election, Davis taught sociology at Lenoir Community College, Pitt Community College, and East Carolina University. He also served eight years of active duty in the Air Force. Davis got his start in politics as the mayor of Snow Hill, serving from 2001 to 2008.

Davis supported Republican leadership instead of standing up for the people in his district. Davis voted for a Republican budgets that shortchanged teachers and cut taxes for corporations instead of raising per pupil spending. He again stood with Republicans and voted to dismantle health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Read more here.

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Teacher donation requests display the legislature’s failure to fund classroom needs

The 2019 budget included a provision to grant a site called DonorsChoose, which connects teachers with crowdfunding for classroom supplies and other needs. The budget provision faced criticism because it specifically funded requests only in then-Sen. Jeff Tarte’s district. DonorsChoose decided to turn down the funding rather than single out specific teachers for help.

Real Facts examined a sample of the requests made on the DonorsChoose website by North Carolina teachers throughout the month of March 2019 and found that basic needs (supplies available at an office supply store) made up 24 percent of requests, following technology needs as the second most common request category. Teachers across the state turned to an independent crowdfunding website to ask for paper, markers, pencils for EOG testing, and whiteboards because state funding remains consistently inadequate on this front.

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REPORT PREVIEW: 2020 Legislative Races to Watch

With the Republican supermajority broken in both chambers of the North Carolina Legislature following the 2018 election, 2020 will be a crucial election for both Democrats and Republicans. Republicans will be looking to hold onto their majorities, while Democrats will need to work hard to hold onto the gains they’ve made while expanding into new areas. In addition, despite their crucial role in post-census redistricting, legislative races will have to compete with Presidential, Gubernatorial, and US Senate races for attention.

Following is our initial look at the 28 House and 17 Senate districts we think will be crucial to the 2020 legislative elections. These districts were chosen based on analysis of 2018 election results and campaign finance reports, as well as long-term district data.

In the coming weeks, look for a full report with details on incumbents and their district with reports on Council of State and State Supreme Court races to follow.

These Races to Watch are an an initial look at the 2020 landscape. Redistricting litigation is ongoing at the state and federal levels and the Wake County House districts will need to be redrawn before the next election. Due to this and a number of other factors this list is likely to change as the election approaches.

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What did Greg Lindberg want from Dan Forest?

Real Facts NC seeking records from Department of Insurance, Lt. Governor Dan Forest that could provide crucial insight into ties to Greg Lindberg, bribery scandal

Real Facts NC filed requests with the NC Department of Insurance and the Lieutenant Governor’s office Thursday seeking records of contact with Greg Lindberg and other indicted individuals, and public figures with known relationships to Lindberg and his network in the bribery scandal rocking the NCGOP.

The group is specifically seeking all correspondence between both departments and Robin Hayes, Greg Lindberg, John Gray, and John Palermo, the four men indicted on bribery charges, as well as correspondence between both departments and Rep. Mark Walker, mentioned in the indictment as “Public Official A.” Real Facts is also seeking correspondence between the departments and former Sen. Wes Meredith (R-Cumberland) who took nearly $40,000 from Lindberg and immediately filed a bill backed by Lindberg’s Eli Global.

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During a hectic week, NCGA Republicans moved bills that could further cuts to education and continue advancements of unchecked privatization of public schools

A recent study found that just 23 percent of 4-year-olds in North Carolina have access to pre-k, below the national average. Meanwhile teacher pay in N.C. remains $7.8k less than the national average and NC teachers make 35.5 percent less than other 4-year college graduates in the state. Teachers pay out-of-pocket for school supplies to meet classroom needs. However, unchecked growth of charter schools has created a fiscal burden on local school districts of $500 to $700 per student.

A number of education-related bills are moving through the NCGA this session, but some appear to do more harm than good. We’ve highlighted three of those bills below.

H485 seeks to address a problem created by Republicans when they rolled back Smart-Start funding and, since then, continually failed to address the growing pre-k waitlist. Instead of funding pre-k, lawmakers want to send 4-year-olds to school online. Experts have concerns about the virtual learning pilot program because the value of pre-k “is less about the skill-learning in reading and math and more about skill-learning in social-emotional domains.” Virtual pre-k is a short-sighted effort to solve a funding failure with long-term impacts.

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Latest Republican abortion bill is another attempt to control the relationship between patients and their doctors

 

  • S359 is another Republican attack on health care using sensationalist claims not based in science. 
    • S359 seeks to “protect survivors” of abortions by criminalizing doctors
    • This practice does not exist in North Carolina because abortions are banned after 20 weeks.
  • Republicans are using an extreme agenda to intimidate patients and their doctors
    • North Carolina Republicans are trying to threaten doctors with criminal action and shame patients over practice not based in the reality of abortion care.
    • Doctors who fail to follow the law as prescribed in S356 could be subject to felony charges and health care practitioners would be required to report noncompliance.
    • There are already rigorous standards and requirements placed on abortion care.
  • This bill is part of an extreme agenda that seeks to ban abortion outright. 
    • This bill models a similar national bill that seeks to criminalize doctors
    • North Carolina House Republicans filed several abortion restrictions in 2019, including a 13-week abortion ban that would make North Carolina the state with the earliest abortion ban in the US outside bans that have been blocked by courts.
    • Since the Republican supermajority was elected in 2010, North Carolina has passed some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation.

Read the full report here.

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MEDICAID REPORT PART II: Republican plan won’t close the gap and will cost more

Republican health care plan could result in thousands losing coverage and is more costly and complex to implement than Medicaid expansion. Read the full report here.
  • The 2019 Republican health care planfails to cover thousands of North Carolina families.
    • Most people who lose coverage under work requirement plans are complying with requirements and are dropped due to reporting issues.
    • After Indiana implemented a plan cited as the model for the Republican plan 91,000 people were dropped from coverage
    • 17,000 Arkansans lost coverage under the state’s work requirements that were struck down by a federal judge
  • Implementation of the Republican plan would be more costly and complex than Medicaid Expansion.
    • Work requirements and premiums increase uncompensated care costs for hospitals which treat people regardless of whether or not they are insured. A system that forces more people to use the hospital to get care costs more.
    • States did not save tax dollars when they implemented work requirements and premiums.
    • Work requirements in other states have cost between $70 million and $170 million to implement, the federal government will not pay for much of the cost of implementation.

Read the full report here.

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GenX: Where are we now?

Gen X: Where are we now?As is the unfortunate trend in politics, crises often receive major press coverage only to recede from the public consciousness before the root problem is solved. The GenX crisis in NC is a perfect example. Since major news coverage lapsed over the course of 2018, the…

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Does money bail actually keep us safe or is the entire system flawed?

Ending money bail has emerged as an urgent rallying cry in many cities across the U.S.; organizers in Durham, North Carolina have pushed this issue to the forefront of municipal and state political conversations. Right now, people who have not been convicted of a crime are incarcerated becau…

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