28 Jan

What Matters for Thursday, January 28, 2016

ABC….easy as 1, 2, 3, right? Not necessarily. Chad shares a couple of stories about our state’s educational system. One is about a proposal to have the five lowest performing schools taken over by charter companies overseen by a Superintendent selected by the Department of Education. A Charlotte Representative is pushing the bill to have this done on a five-year trial with a three-year extension upon success. Chad points out there is no mention of a curriculum change discussion during the meeting. The other is about a push by the Superintendent of Public Instruction for a raise for all state teachers and bonuses for experienced teachers who coach fellow educators or teach in low-performing classrooms. He points out the committee is looking at how much to raise teacher salaries, but questions where the state will get the money. Chad shares how tests show all minority students are doing better in charter schools than in traditional public schools, as are female students. He says instead of attacking charter schools, perhaps leaders in education should look into what they’re doing that make them successful and emulate them.

Next, Chad speaks to WBTV Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner. They discuss the I-77 toll road issue. Nick says it has yet to be seen whether this will cause a real problem for the Governor in the March primary against Rep. Robert Brawley. They move on to requests for public records. Nick tells Chad he now has the longest standing public records request with the DOT. He says since there is no evidence of cronyism as has been alleged on the I-77 issue, he requested the records to see if there is or is not any proof. Chad questions why the DOT wouldn’t want to show there was no impropriety in the deal. Nick says he doesn’t know. Chad asks if he’s reached out to anyone in the Governor’s office about this issue, and Nick says he has but keeps getting referred to the DOT. He says he’s also getting pushback from the State Auditor’s office on the toll road issue. With questions over contractual relationships, Nick reached out to Auditor Woods office. He still hasn’t received anything from them, either.

In the second hour, Civitas Policy Director Brian Balfour joins Chad. He and Chad discuss a study of fiscal responsibility by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. They did an in-depth look at a bunch of fiscal issues in North Carolina like pensions, state budget growth, taxation, incentives, and more. When it comes to healthcare, Brian says the study shows Medicaid expenses can be driven in line with other states by controlling growth. On education, Brian says the study says the state is spending its money wisely, but think school choice should be expanded to raise numbers on quality of education. Chad asks about the amount of money spent on each child and if the study considered charter schools. Brian says he believes they put charter schools in with public education. Chad questions the section referring to the problem with fiscal illusion. Brian explains it pertains to the issue of funding current and retired state employee’s healthcare and pensions. There was also no positive correlation found between incentives and economic growth. It said it encouraged targeted lobbying and cronyism. Chad points out that insurance regulation is given an “F” in the study – something he’s not given much thought. Brian says he was surprised by this fact as well. He says the recommendation is a closer examination of the insurance system and a rollback of regulations to be in line with other states. This is an interesting segment and study you’ll want to take a look at, too.

Finally, if you think you’re a highly successful and productive person, you could be even better with these 15 tips. Here’s a hint – skip meetings and write everything down.

Tomorrow Citizens United President David Bossie, NCSU Political Science Professor Dr. Andrew Taylor, and News14’s Tim Boyum join us.

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