A good day to read some N.C. newspapers. Stories from their front pages:
Asheville — The march to dilute education continues with the legislature’s mandate for something called “virtual charter schools.” The Citizen-Times describe these schools, which allow online learning for K-12 students provided by private companies. Do they work? Evidence from Tennessee suggests they don’t. “The ratio of students to teachers would be one teacher for 50 students in kindergarten through eighth grades and one teacher to 150 students in ninth through 12th grade classes.” Sounds good!
The Citizen-Times also has a tough-minded story that starts: “North Carolina will miss $51 billion in federal payments over the next decade unless lawmakers expand Medicaid under Obamacare, according to a new report.” Naturally, in their wisdom, N.C. lawmakers say they won’t expand Medicaid.
Raleigh — When you get legislative power, you pass the laws you want. When the courts rule against those laws, you stymie the courts. Welcome to N.C. GOP rule. The News & Observer describes the latest attempt by the legislature to make sure it gets its way. “Beginning in September, all constitutional challenges to laws will be heard by three-judge trial court panels appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court. The move takes those cases out of the hands of individual Superior Court judges and sends them to be heard in Wake County, where the panels of judges from across the state will assemble when needed.”
Charlotte — The Tony Stewart-Kevin Ward II incident was quickly overshadowed in the news by Robin Williams’ death and Ferguson. But the Observer rightly swings back through with a good story about deaths at short tracks. More than 520 people have died in the past 25 years at tracks, and safety regulations have been slow coming. “‘Short track racing is usually mayhem, hopefully controlled. That’s what people want. It’s like ice hockey with cars.’”
Gaston — I am so out of the drug culture. The Gazette introduces its readers to “spice,” a synthetic marijuana sold over the counter as potpourri or incense. And it can be dangerous.