Carolina Journal Weekly Report

April 03, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of April 03, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — Only 14 of the 100 North Carolina schools served by state dropout prevention grant recipients saw substantial improvement in dropout and graduation rates from 2006-07 to 2007-08. Those numbers suggest the grants made little impact, according to a new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report.

“It’s important to know whether these grants offer any benefits, since Gov. Beverly Perdue has set aside $6.7 million for more dropout prevention grants in her plan for the next state budget,” said report author Terry Stoops, JLF Education Policy Analyst. “When schools and state agencies face cutbacks, there’s no good reason to continue funding a program that doesn’t show signs of success.”

Stoops’ latest report tackles the arguments from “politicians and advocates” who claim that dropout prevention grants have worked, he said. “Because of research limitations, there’s no way these proponents can substantiate that claim,” Stoops said. “They cannot establish a causal connection between the grant program and changes in the dropout rate. A number of grant recipient schools had lower dropout rates, but there is no evidence the grants themselves were the primary cause for the decline.”

Preliminary results don’t look particularly good for those claiming success for the dropout grant program, Stoops said. “Out of the 100 schools examined, 45 improved their dropout rates at a higher rate than their respective school districts,” he said. “On the other hand, 55 schools failed to improve dropout rates relative to their districts.”

“When you take a closer look, only 14 of the 45 schools with improved dropout rates also recorded higher graduation rates,” Stoops added. “As a whole, the schools that received dropout prevention grant funds did not substantially raise graduation rates or lower dropout rates compared with district and state averages.”

News Features

CJ: Unemployment shows problems with government solutions
RALEIGH — The latest increase in North Carolina’s unemployment rate should signal government leaders to stop pursuing policies that have no chance of improving the economy. That’s the assessment of a John Locke Foundation analyst with a Ph.D. in economics. A new report from the N.C. Employment Security Commission lists the state’s unemployment rate at 10.7 percent for February, up a full percentage point from the January rate of 9.7 percent.

CJ: Lawyers spent gas-tax funds on beer and candy
RALEIGH — Washington lawyers assisting Attorney General Roy Cooper in his suit against the Tennessee Valley Authority used North Carolina gas-tax revenue to purchase alcohol, candy, airline flight upgrades, and valet parking, an investigation by Carolina Journal reveals.

CJ: Out-of-wedlock births an issue to be addressed
CHARLOTTE — Preliminary numbers are in for the latest round of American birth statistics, and among the headline-grabbing news is that 39.7 percent of births in 2007 were to unmarried mothers. In North Carolina, that number was 41.2 percent, up about 1 percent from the year before. The bad news doesn’t stop there.

Smoking ban faces steeper hill in Senate
RALEIGH — The proposed ban on smoking in restaurants and other businesses is now in the hands of the N.C. Senate, where it has the support of the powerful Democratic leader. “My take would be that, yes, we would pass it,” Marc Basnight, the Senate’s president pro tem, said yesterday. But the bill’s fate is far from clear, because it faces new opposition from the state’s restaurant owners, who are angry over an amendment to the bill that occurred in the N.C. House.

NC Senate could unveil budget proposal next week
RALEIGH — The Senate will pass a budget bill for state government by next weekend, chamber leader Marc Basnight predicted Thursday, a plan that he said ultimately would contain tobacco and alcohol tax increases lower than Gov. Beverly Perdue sought. The spending proposal, portions of which could be released as early as Monday, would be unveiled just three weeks after Perdue announced her nearly $21 billion plan.

Upcoming Events

Monday, April 06, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Joseph Coletti
Budget and Transparency

Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Western N.C. Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest John Hood
How To Get Involved With Your Local Freedom Club

Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.
The State of Our Constitution: Taxation
with our special guests Gene Boyce, Dr. Jeff Broadwater, Dr. John Dinan
Taxes and the North Carolina Constitution

John Locke Foundation Carolina Journal Online
The Locker Room Carolina Journal Radio

Capital Quotes

All we’re doing is putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.
— Rep. Jerry Dockham, R-Davidson, as quoted by the Associated Press, in voting against a proposed fix of the state’s health insurance plan. The proposal was approved by the House Insurance Committee on a 9-7 vote and now goes to the House Appropriations Committee.

There is absolutely no difference between what is happening here and what Hugo Chavez did.
Kevin Lowery, a spokesman for Alcoa, as quoted by the Charlotte Observer, comparing the state’s request to assume control of hydroelectric projects on the Yadkin River to the seizure by socialist Venezuela of an Alcoa subsidiary in that country.

If you really want to hit the peak season, we can close down (schools) for three weeks in October.
— Rep. Phil Haire, D-Jackson, talking to the Asheville Citizen-Times about a state law, passed in 2004 at the urging of the tourism industry, that specifies dates that the school year must begin and end by. An attempt by eight western North Carolina school systems to start their school years earlier was rejected by a state House committee. Haire contends that the exemption was appropriate given the potential number of snow days the systems can experience. He also noted that the peak tourism season in the mountains is in October, not during the summer.

I feel sorry for them but they brought a lot of this on themselves.
— Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, as quoted by the Asheville Citizen-Times, on a bill passed by the Senate that would require mo-ped and motorized scooter drivers drivers to have insurance and a license plate. The bill is aimed primarily at those convicted of driving while impaired who have lost their driver’s licenses; a driver’s license is not required in North Carolina to operate a mo-ped. Apodaca figures those who have lost their license won’t be able to afford insurance and thus won’t be able to operate a mo-ped.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Joe Coletti offers his fiscally responsible alternative state budget, Tim Phillips of Americans for
Prosperity explains key battles his group is fighting in Washington, State Health Plan administrator Jack Walker tells legislators about long-term challenges, Max Borders of the Free to Choose Network discusses the need to communicate effectively about freedom and free markets, and Jenna Ashley Robinson of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy directs listeners to the many resources to help pay for college.

NC Spin

This week on NC Spin…
Join moderator Tom Campbell for another week of political discussion and debate on the most intelligent television talk show in the state. Topics this week: The new lawsuit regarding duties for the Superintendent of Public Instruction; the beach insurance battle; how transportation fared under Governor Perdue’s proposed budget; and who might oppose Senator Burr next year. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; Jack Betts, columnist for the Charlotte Observer; and former Justice Robert Orr, Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Law.

At Issue

This week on At Issue…
Watch At Issue, hosted by Kim Genardo, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Also available on the web at


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