Recently in Justin Guillory Commentary Category

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As Progress NC previously reported, the TV ads sponsored by the extreme conservative groups Americans for Prosperity and the Civitas Institute are full of lies and distortions about the effect of the 2011 state budget on education. The Charlotte Observer called the NC Real Solutions ads "egregious" as they deny the plainly obvious cuts to education dictated by this budget.    Conservatives know that their cuts to education are terribly unpopular and this is their attempt to muddy the waters. They aren't fooling anyone.   Apparently -- having convinced no one with their spin -- the conservative attack machine is Read More

Figures lie, liars figure

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The new AFP/Civitas TV ad claims the state budget "added funding for 2,000 more teachers." That is a blatant lie. There are 915 fewer teachers this year, than last. If the Republican-led budget was so great, why didn't they claim they were funding 2,000 more teachers last summer when they passed the budget?   Instead, Republicans claimed they "fully funded every teacher position." Another lie, but also a far cry from 2,000 more teachers.   The truth is that AFP/Civitas is engaged in a blatant misuse of statistics. They cite a spreadsheet from the Department of Public Instruction created in January Read More

Progress NC told you this week how a NC House committee was proposing to privatize NC Pre-K classrooms and redefine "at-risk" to severely limit the number of kids eligible for NC Pre-K. But after the meeting today, Committee members have backed off their proposals -- a victory, at least for the moment.    After hundreds of parents, educators and other citizens -- including hundreds on the Progress NC email list -- contacted Committee members, and after State Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow Co.) inexplicably argued, "We have nobody in the state of North Carolina living in extreme poverty," the Committee backed Read More

          Both are middle-aged white guys with short hair and big egos with a penchant for ejecting citizens who disagree with them. Read More

Not that we were expecting Gov. Perdue to accept anyway, but Sen. Berger's proposal is not in good faith.    In a press conference this afternoon, Senate leader Phil Berger says that Gov. Perdue's recent campaign to raise the sales tax 3/4 of a cent to pay for education is one sided. Berger says a public debate between himself and the governor would help folks compare both sides of the issue.   We are all for fair and honest debate, but that's not what Sen. Berger is proposing. He's looking to score political points and demagogue.   Both Berger and Read More

Can we ever lead again on PreK?

According to the AP, expansion of PreK programs around the country has slowed.   The expansion in public prekindergarten programs has slowed and even been reversed in some states as school districts cope with shrinking budgets. As a result, many 3- and 4-year-olds aren't going to preschool.   For years, North Carolina was a national leader on PreK. But as our budget shrunk so did our commitment to our youngest and most vulnerable students.    My question is: When the economy turns around, will we continue to be a leader on PreK or have our values changed?    North Carolina Read More

Tillis: "Power is a corrupting influence"

Hear it straight from the horse's mouth - er - website:   Prior to 2010, our state had a disturbing trend of political corruption, with numerous political leaders being prosecuted for abusing their office. I believe power is a corrupting influence... And Tillis had this to say to the AP in March:   "We're living up to our commitment to be more transparent," said House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg.   I think teachers, progressives, good government advocates and editorial boards around North Carolina would disagree with that statement today. From the Wilmington Star-News:   So this is what Republicans meant Read More

News last week from Speaker Tillis' office is that hearings on education budget cuts with local superintendents could start as early as February. For months, Speaker Tillis has toured the state saying lawmakers fully funded teachers and that superintendents who laid off teachers would have a chance to "explain themselves" at hearings in Raleigh.   In the meantime, Tillis has had no problem blaming superintendents for the layoffs - and not the $400+ million cut from the state education budget.   Here are a few predictions about the hearings, whenever they do happen.     The Mooresville Graded School District Read More

Thom Tillis: The Next Great Baker?

"I'm not convinced that you have to create a bigger pie to get a bigger slice. I think it's how you move it around and get it to the areas that will have the most impact." - Thom Tillis   That's Tillis' latest explanation for his stance on funding for early childhood education. He wants more money for early childhood, but wants it to come from the older K-12 grades. In Tillis' mind, schools have plenty of money, they just need to slice the pie differently.   Of course, that ignores the fact that the pie actually got smaller this Read More

Tillis "clarifies" his stance on NC Pre-K

At a town hall in Pittsboro on Monday night, Thom Tillis "clarified" his comments on NC Pre-K and early childhood development. Earlier Tillis had indicated he was in favor of more resources for Pre-K. On Monday he set the record straight (Tillis starts around 1:25):     The cliff-notes version is that Tillis says he's in favor of more resources for early childhood education as long as he doesn't have to raise any new revenue for it. He's even in favor or shifting money from older K-12 grades into early childhood. Not sure how's that going to be helpful.   Read More