Sunday, June 23, 2013

MSNBC Video: "Must See" TV - State Employee Art Pope Does A Little Lobbying

Please watch this segment from the MSNBC show, "All In" with Chris Hayes. Please forward this to all of your contacts. Voters in NC must learn and remember on Election Day 2014.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Restore the NC Teaching Fellows Program

I believe the Senate Leadership is in error concerning the decision to eliminate the NC Teaching Fellows Program. Both my daughter and her husband were 2003 Teaching Fellows. They fit the requirements of being the "best and the brightest" and are dedicated educators to this day.

My daughter was recruited and accepted to many colleges, including an elite Ivy. In the end, she chose to accept the Teaching Fellows scholarship at UNC-Chapel Hill. My son-in-law, second runner-up for the prestigious Park Scholarship, chose to accept the Teaching Fellows at NC State. Both of them attended college with the assistance of the Teaching Fellows Program.

In my view, the Teaching Fellows Program needs additional funding. While we were - and are - immensely grateful for the scholarship, it does not come close to being "a free ride." My daughter still had to take a student loan. Given that teachers are woefully underpaid, she will be paying this back for years to come.

I remember the day we went to purchase my daughter's textbooks. The bookstore had not yet received the money from the State of NC and they would not allow her to take her books that day. As a contrast, many of the football scholarship students were, indeed on a free ride. And, guess what? The bookstore handed over their books with no waiting.

The Teaching Fellows Program is a proven success. The evaluations and years of experience is clear. NC is a national model for teacher recruitment. Please restore it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Save the NC Child Fatality Task Force

I would like the NC General Assembly to reconsider the proposed elimination of the NC Child Fatality Task Force. I privileged to be the Executive Director of the Task Force in 1996. There is no question that the work of the Task Force over the years has saved children's lives. So many of these child deaths are preventable--and preventing them is the legacy of the Task Force.

Gov. Jim Martin established the statewide Task Force as well as a local committee in all 100 counties. This was the Governor's response to NC holding the embarrassing place of #48 out of 50 in infant mortality. 

Some issues are county-specific and can be handled best at the local level; often without legislation. But others have an impact on our children throughout NC. It is efficient and cost-effective to pursue a statewide fix to persistent problems.

I am particularly proud of the Graduated Driver License law that we passed. Like most of our bills, this was a bi-partisan effort. The law has been improved upon over the years, but NC was among the first states to pass it and other states soon replicated our efforts.

This is a small expenditure of money for a positive result.