Each week, staff at Carolina Journal looks back at the week in N.C. politics and chooses several interesting, relevant stories you may have missed. Here’s this week’s review:
DRIVE Task Force: Gov. Roy Cooper has appointed members to a new task force with the goal of advising the governor on ways to improve equity and inclusion in education. The DRIVE Task Force is made up of educators, education advocates, administrators, professors, and state and local representatives. “North Carolina is committed to living up to our responsibility to deliver a quality education to every student in every county,” Cooper says in a news release. “This group of experts knows how to tackle the inequities across our state in order to ensure quality education.”
HPU Poll: A large swath of North Carolinians see COVID-19 as a major threat to the economy, a new poll from High Point University finds. HPU surveyed 404 N.C. residents between April 16 and May 1. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9%. When asked whether COVID-19 poses a threat to the state’s economy, 71% of respondents said it was a major threat, while 20% said it was a minor threat. Fewer residents — 65% — said COVID-19 was a major threat to the health of the U.S. population.
RNC State Convention: The N.C. Republican Party has postponed it’s annual State Republican Convention because of COVID-19. Originally set May 14-17, the convention will now be held from July 9-12 in Greenville. “The North Carolina Republican Party is firmly committed to hosting our Convention, holding our elections and hearing from a great roster of speakers,” NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley says in a news release.
Drive-in graduation: COVID-19 has ruined the chance for high school graduates to enjoy a traditional graduation ceremony, but some school districts are getting creative in marking the special occasion. Cabarrus County Schools will hold a drive-in graduation at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where students and families will remain in their cars and watch the ceremony on the track’s giant TV. Students will drive across the finish line to receive their diplomas. “These students have worked for years to get their diplomas, and they deserve to mark this milestone in a big way,” Greg Walter, Charlotte Motor Speedway executive vice president and general manager, says in a news release. “We’re honored to engage our gigantic Speedway TV to help our neighbors create North Carolina’s first ever drive-in, drive-through graduation ceremony.”
Senior grades: The State Board of Education voted Thursday to allow high school seniors to only use a pass or withdrawal grade, rather than having the option to choose a regular letter grade. Seniors will only receive a pass or withdrawal grade for the spring semester, and it won’t count toward their grade-point-average. The 8-3 vote was split largely along party lines, with Republican-appointed members voting against the measure. But SBE Chair Eric Davis, appointed by former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, voted with the Democratic appointees. The grading policy was recommended to help ease anxiety of seniors worried about graduating, Deputy Superintendent David Stegall told the News & Observer. Members who voted for the proposal said it was too late to change to allow the option for a letter grade. Those who voted against it said students who went the extra mile deserved a chance to boost their GPAs.