Carolina Journal Weekly Report

Weekly Report 2005-04-30

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of
April 30,

Reaction of the Week

A 2004 study on the academic
and effectiveness of charter schools
in North Carolina, authored
for the Terry Sanford Institute by Robert
Bifulco and Helen Ladd, reached
some harsh conclusions about the performance
of charter schools. Using
three models that compare state end-of-grade
test scores for regular public
school students and charter school
students, Bifulco and Ladd concluded
that North Carolina charter schools are not only failing to improve their
students’ academic performance, but are actually hurting it.

An analysis
by the John Locke Foundation
suggests that the Bifulco and Ladd’s research
faces serious problems.
While the problems are numerous, two are highlighted.
First, they do
not consider specific student characteristics that could
affect the results of their study. For example, the fact
that charter
schools have a much smaller percentage of gifted students
than regular
public schools is ignored.

Bifulco and Ladd also do not
distinguish among types of charter
schools, many of which were established
to serve “at risk” students.
Adjusting the Bifulco and Ladd study to account
for these differences
in student population cuts the difference between
charters and regular
public schools by more than half. In fact, such an
adjustment nearly
eliminates the differences in reading scores.


Senate budget to contain lottery, tax hikes
Senate leaders plan to release a tax package next week
that relies chiefly
on the extension of a half-cent sales tax that
legislative leaders characterized
as a “temporary,” two-year tax when
it was enacted in 2001. In addition,
Senate leaders plan to include
legislation creating a state-run lottery
in the budget – although critics
say that legislators shouldn’t combine
such a major policy decision
with a $16.9 billion spending plan.

may change Cherokee gaming law

CHEROKEE — The leader of the Eastern
Band of Cherokee Indians said
Gov. Mike Easley on Wednesday offered to
discuss changes to North
Carolina’s gaming laws that could allow
live-dealer card games at
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. The offer is
the first public indication
since Easley took office in 2000 that he would
consider changing the
gaming compact.

Lawmakers to try again on malpractice
— Doctors, lawyers, Democrats and Republicans agree
medical malpractice
cases are creating a crisis in the state. But while
many physicians and
Republican legislators say tort reform is the
single best cure, others
— including a number of lawyers and Democratic
legislators —
say the solution needs to encompass reform in both the
legal system and
insurance industry to achieve the desired result. A
new bipartisan push
may have some success.

E-NC authority seeks more funds
state organization that was
originally created in 2000 under a temporary
status, but was extended
two years ago, has used up its original $30 million
allocation and now
wants $2 million more from the state to stay afloat.
The E-NC Authority, formerly the Rural Internet Access Authority, is
low on operating funds and wants to extend its life beyond the
requirement that it cease activity on Dec. 31, 2006.

NC Wesleyan 9/11 class
fuels debate

ROCKY MOUNT — The classroom where N.C. Wesleyan College’s
political science professor is teaching a course titled “9/11: The
to Tyranny” has become the latest battlefront in the campus culture
Today, the six students enrolled in the elective course taught by
T. Christensen are to attend the course’s final session: “Police
USA (Where Do We Go From Here?)”

DOT Currituck ferry failed specifications
— A boat purchased by the N.C. Department of Transportation’s
for a new ferry route across the shallow Currituck Sound
not meet the requirement that it be able to operate in 18 inches
of water.
The Division of Marine Fisheries inspected the boat and
determined that
it might require more than 42 inches of water to
operate. While the boat
was delivered to the state shipyard in Manns
Harbor in August, the operating
limitations of the vessel became public
only recently.

Embattled Triad
air quality improves

GREENSBORO — For the first time since 2001, the
Point metropolitan area didn’t make the
list of the country’s 25 most
ozone-polluted areas. It slipped to No.
27 on that list of 195 metropolitan
areas released today by the
American Lung Association in its annual air
quality report. Guilford
County also went from a failing grade to a marginally
passing mark for
particle pollution, the other air quality issue studied.

has obtained air quality permit

WASHINGTON — Agri-Ethanol Products,
LLC, has applied for and
received an environmental permit through the
N.C. Division of Air
Quality. Agri-Ethanol Products, or AEP, is an entity
seeking grants and
financing to build an ethanol plant on approximately
250 acres of land
in the Aurora area. The state permit, numbered 09486R00
in the air
quality division’s files, was issued December 2004. The permit
November 2006, according to division documents.

Akbar sentenced
to death for killings

FORT BRAGG — A Fort Bragg jury deliberated for
seven hours Thursday
before sentencing Sgt. Hasan Akbar to death for the
March 22, 2003,
murders of Army Capt. Christopher Seifert and Air Force
Maj. Gregory
Stone. Akbar stood motionless in the packed Fort Bragg courtroom
as he
listened to the verdict at 8:37 p.m. Relatives of the victims gasped
the president of the 15-member jury, addressing Akbar, said the jury
you to be put to death.”

State may push to consolidate districts
— A push to eliminate city school systems in NC is being
by state lawmakers as a possible means of cutting costs.
Kannapolis and
Cabarrus County officials said they are unsure of how
seriously legislators
in the Senate are treating the idea, but said it
ought to be rejected.
Katherine Joyce of the NC Association of School
Administrators sent an
e-mail to the superintendents of the state’s 15
city school systems
Wednesday warning of the plan.

Upcoming Events

Monday, May 02, 2005
at 12 Noon

Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with Michael Badnarik
What It’s Like
to be a Third Party Candidate

Monday, May 09, 2005 at 12 Noon
Society Luncheon

with Fred W. Kiger
Four Days in May 1856: Meteors of Coming
Civil War

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 6:00 pm
Headliner Evening Event
with John
Freedom and Its Enemies

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

Capital Quotes

I don’t
know what they were smoking.

Jim Rooney, executive director
of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, commenting to The News
& Observer

of Raleigh and visiting Raleigh officials, aiming to build
a similar
covention center, on estimates provided by outside consultants
that its
new facility would draw 60 major events this year. The actual
number is

It’s really ironic that on one hand the Senate’s trying
to ban video poker, and on the other hand it’s seriously considering a

Sen. Richard Stevens, R-Wake, as quoted by the
Winston Salem-Journal
noting that the Senate Judiciary I Committee voted
last week – for the
third time in recent years – to ban video poker in
the state.

I did tell them up front that we were looking at Hickory.
I said that competition is out there, and you need to beat them.

Al Berg, a vice president with RJE Telecom, as quoted by the Rocky Mount

describing his negotiations with the City of Rocky Mount for
government incentives to locate an RJE drafting shop in the city.

you read what they say about him, you expect to see somebody in a Klansman’s

James B. Craven III, a Durham criminal defense attorney
and self-described “bleeding-heart liberal,” as quoted by the Raleigh News
& Observer
the vitriol surrounding the nomination of federal
Judge Terrance Boyle
to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Craven has practiced
law in front
of Boyle for 20 years and describes the judge as “super-compassionate.” 

were very upset about us in the General Assembly giving away property that
belongs to the state.

Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, as quoted
by the Raleigh News & Observer
describing complaints lawmakers received
this week after both chambers
of the state legislature passed a bill to
give away over 535 acres of
state land
to Currituck County for an industrial

The traditional schools have to have some way to compete and
raise their standards.

Carol Parker, member of the Wake County
School Board, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer
why traditional public schools are seeking more educational
options as
they compete for students with public magnet schools in the

The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
Join host John
for the most informative news hour on the North Carolina radio waves.
This week, Pope Center for Higher Education Policy Director George Leef
will discuss inalienable rights and how some think this should extend to
an individual’s economic rights. Next, Carolina Journal associate editors
Donna Martinez and Chad Adams will host another edition of Locker Room
Talk, a discussion on this week’s best blogs from the John Locke Foundation
weblog, The Locker Room. Then, North Carolina University State Professor
of Political Science Dr. Philip Munoz will discuss religion and the Supreme
Court. Last, Craig Shirley will discuss his book Reagan’s Revolution: The
Untold Story of the Campaign That Started it All
Shirley will detail
the often-overlooked beginning of the revolution,
which North Carolina
played a key role in getting off the ground.

NC Spin

This week on NC Spin…
moderator Tom Campbell for
another week of political discussion and debate
on the most intelligent
television talk show in the state. This week’s
topics include: North
Carolina’s growing population, nuclear energy options
for the state,
taking back control over federal lands, and the embattled
Global Transpark. This week’s panelists include: former Secretary of State
Rufus Edmisten, political consultant Brad Crone, Chris Fitzsimon of NC
Policy Watch, and John Locke Foundation President John Hood.

At Issue

This week
on At Issue…

Triangle viewers can tune in as host Monty Knight moderates
another panel discussion with Carolina Journal’s Donna Martinez and the
Carolinian’s Cash Michaels. This week panelists discuss the contentious
debate surrounding corporate incentives with Dan Gerlach, senior budget
advisor for Gov. Mike Easley, and Mandy Jones from the Triangle Business
. Next, Chris Neeley with Americans for Prosperity and Elaine Mejia
with the NC Justice Center will debate TABOR, a taxpayer bill of rights.
Last, Cary Mayor Ernie McAlister and Apex Mayor Pro Tem Mike Jones will
discuss bond referendums for their towns.


© 2005 John
Locke Foundation
| 200 West Morgan St., Raleigh, NC 27601, (919) 828-3876