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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: A conversation with former UNC journalism school dean Susan King

Despite the frustrations of her stormy final year in office, King remains optimistic about the future of the 'J School' and the profession it supports Last week Susan King was inducted into the NC Media & Journalism Hall of Fame, a career curtain call after completing a decade as dean of the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

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Education News Top Story

GOP’s “stealth slate” of candidates seeks to shift school board balance of power in one of NC’s most Democratic counties

On paper, electing a slate of registered Republicans to the Durham County school board appears to be a near mathematical impossibility.  In this county, Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 5 to 1. In partisan races, such as the Board of Commissioners, GOP candidates are rarely successful.  

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Education News Top Story

High stakes at the state’s highest court over school spending mandates

The colossal dispute over the proper financing of North Carolina’s public schools that has played out over 28 years is heading to a showdown before the state Supreme Court. Yes, again. Sometime after April 18, the high court will decide whether the General Assembly is fulfilling its duty to ensure that the state’s public school students – and especially those in counties where poverty is endemic – have a fair chance to get an education good enough to meet the state constitution’s guarantees.

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Environment News Top Story

“Outer Banks Strange”: Are unexploded bombs a threat to environmental safety?

SOUTHERN SHORES, NC – Standing before the town council in early March, Southern Shores Town Manager Cliff Ogburn began yet another presentation on the bombs potentially buried around town. It was strange, but it was "Outer Banks Strange." Strange like side-of-the-highway historical markers recounting German submarines sinking U.S. ships off the coast.

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News Top Story

‘Sitting on a time bomb’: Mobile home residents at risk in red-hot housing market

WASHINGTON — Jon Zang walks his dog several times a day in his mobile home community in West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania. It’s quiet, as most of his neighbors are at work. But he often wonders how many more walks he and his bulldog mix, Ladybug, will have down the streets of the place he’s called home for 21 years. “We’re literally sitting on a time bomb that we’re sure is going to go off at some point, but we don’t know when,” Zang said.

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Health News Top Story

‘A shared challenge’: Parents, military advocates push for more resources to reduce suicides

U.S. Senate committee learns that more than 1,100 service members took their own lives in just the past two years Dr. Beth Zimmer Carter remembers her son as "vivacious, bright, funny and handsome," who was fulfilling his dream of being an Army Ranger. But on Chris Carter's first deployment to Afghanistan, he witnessed the gruesome deaths of his best buddy, his interpreter and a female Special Forces member.

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Congress Education News Top Story

More than 1,500 books have been banned in public schools, and a U.S. House panel asks why

WASHINGTON — A U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee panel on Thursday examined why thousands of books, predominantly written by marginalized authors, have been banned from public schools, and the impact of those actions on students and teachers. “Most books being targeted for censorship are books that introduce ideas about diversity or our common humanity, books that teach children to recognize and respect humanity in one another,” said the chair of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Rep. Jamie Raskin.

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Education News Top Story

State Board of Education reviews controversial draft overhaul of teacher compensation

Despite assurances from DPI officials, some teachers worry that the plan would devalue classroom experience in favor of test scores and student surveys  A new compensation and licensure proposal that rewards “competency and skill” has some state teachers worried that "classroom experience would no longer be valued in North Carolina,” State Board of Education member Jill Camnitz said Wednesday.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Hampered by opposition from doctors’ groups, nurse practitioners want to change state law to give them more freedom to treat patients

Cindy Cross was diagnosed with breast cancer about 15 years ago and found compassionate medical care when she first visited Michelle Taylor Skipper’s office in Laurinburg.   Cross has been a patient of Skipper’s ever since, and her two adult daughters see her, too.

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News Top Story

Standing their ground outside the abortion clinic

GREENSBORO — On this Saturday, two groups of people stand watch in the 20-space parking lot of a Japanese steakhouse, each staking out their own territory. When a car pulls in, often with a woman driving, each group springs to action. Those wearing rainbow-colored vests motion in the direction of the abortion clinic, guiding drivers to the proper place to park. Others, dressed in navy "Sidewalk for Life" hoodies, wave, smile and put their hands in a praying position.

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Environment Top Story

Renewables company could transform how millions of tons of hog waste are managed in NC

Montauk Ag Renewable has test site in Duplin County and plans to operate plant in Sampson County, but will it work? Outside a large steel barn in Magnolia, Martin Redeker scooped loads of dried hog waste, composted with carbon, onto a snow shovel for anyone to take a deep whiff.  It smelled. 

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at gag orders in K-12, higher education

Last month PEN America, the non-partisan non-profit that just celebrated 100 years of protecting free expression, published its latest roundup of educational "gag order" legislation across the U.S. The organization is actively tracking a national wave of  bills, many now becoming law, that make patriotism compulsory and restrict what can be said, read or taught about race and American history. 

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Environment Top Story

PW exclusive: DEQ cites Greensboro company for “imminent and substantial endangerment” over handling of hazardous pharmaceutical waste

A financially troubled company stored more than 500 containers of flammable liquids, gases and hazardous pharmaceuticals without a permit, posing an “imminent and substantial endangerment,” according to state regulators. Pharmaceutical Dimensions, which leased a warehouse at 7353-A W. Friendly Ave. in Greensboro, was cited by the NC Department of Environmental Quality in early March after repeatedly failing to comply with hazardous waste rules for nearly a year.

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Higher Ed Law and the Courts News Top Story

Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases could curb colleges’ use of affirmative action

Conservative SCOTUS majority likely jeopardizes race-conscious admissions policies at UNC and Harvard WASHINGTON — A U.S. Supreme Court dominated by conservative justices could fundamentally reshape the college admissions process later this year when it takes up two landmark cases challenging affirmative action in higher education. The court recently agreed to hear two cases that challenge race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the nation's oldest private and public universities.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Email trove reveals new details of UNC Board of Governors’ refusal to reappoint popular UNC Press Board chair

More than nine months after a UNC Board of Governors committee refused to reappoint a widely respected UNC Law professor to the University of North Carolina Press Board of Governors, the UNC System has released hundreds of pages of email communications Policy Watch requested in connection with the conflict.

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Education Top Story

Final outcome in NC’s landmark school funding case remains in limbo as legislature seeks to derail enforcement

After nearly three decades, the Leandro case has yet to produce the remedy the plaintiffs say the constitution requires. Now, the courts will weigh in again Attorney Larry Armstrong has been a part of the state’s landmark Leandro school funding lawsuit for more than 27 years. The attorney for Halifax County Schools filed the original legal challenge in 1994.

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