Entries by Mike

My Jimmy Carter Moment

As all Americans pray for the healing for former President Jimmy Carter in his battle against cancer, I believe it may be of interest to share a personal experience which illustrates his character.

Friday Interview: An Insider’s View of N.C. Governors w/ Phil Kirk

Chief of staff for two North Carolina governors and a U.S. senator, two-time chief of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Resources, the youngest state senator in North Carolina history at the time of his election, 16-year leader of the state’s chamber of commerce. He shared his assessments of those governors earlier this year during a presentation for the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society. Kirk discussed the same topic with Mitch Kokai for Carolina Journal Radio.

NC Senator Phil Kirk to speak at ECU lecture series

Tonight Phil Kirk will be coming to East Carolina University to speak as a part of the Leadership Lecture Series hosted by the ECU Honors College.

Kirk is a political figure in North Carolina who has held many positions on boards and committees at universities and colleges in North Carolina and was the youngest person ever selected to the North Carolina Senate.

McCrory a man of honesty

The front-page news story “ Tree.com payouts to McCrory questioned” on a stock payout to Gov. Pat McCrory is a new all-time low and smacks of biased reporting by The Associated Press. The headline and questionable sources seek to raise questions about the governor’s integrity for accepting money for work rendered before he was elected. The stock payout is 100 percent legal and acceptable per company policy.

Phil Kirk: Pope beneficial to state

Art Pope is to be commended for his many years of public service, especially for his 20 months as the state’s budget director.

When Gov. Pat McCrory wisely persuaded Art to assume the most important appointive position in state government, several asked my opinion, probably thinking I would be critical. I responded each time that the governor could not have found anyone who knew the budget, state government and the legislative process better. This was especially important because of the administration’s lack of experience in state government.

Pope beneficial to state

Art Pope is to be commended for his many years of public service, especially for his 20 months as the state’s budget director.

When Gov. Pat McCrory wisely persuaded Art to assume the most important appointive position in state government, several asked my opinion, probably thinking I would be critical. I responded each time that the governor could not have found anyone who knew the budget, state government and the legislative process better. This was especially important because of the administration’s lack of experience in state government.

Focused On Getting It Right With Wake Schools

What would make more than 700 people gather on a Wednesday night to sit at small tables and talk about their aspirations for public education?

This is not a hypothetical question. This is what happened in Wake County the first week of August when the Wake County Public School System convened a town hall new strategic plan. Plenty of people have blamed public education for all sorts of society’s ills and have little good to say about a system that is still a community’s best path to prosperity. They might say it’s easy for a system the size of Wake’s to gather that many people. That it’s no big deal.

Necessary Accountability

The political debate over the Common Core State Standards is more riddled with ironies and myths than any issue I have been involved with in 50 years.

These standards are a set of clear, consistent goals and expectations that describe what students should know in math and English, no matter where they may live in the United States. That is critical for many reasons but especially because of the mobility of families, including the mil-dent in Colorado need to know more or less than one in North Carolina?

Energy Efficient Schools Improve the Learning Environment

When it comes to construction, renovation and the operation of K-12 schools, it seems that the adage “do more with less” is a way of life. The public is resistant to tax increases. Local and state governments are cash strapped and are often calling for across-the-board cuts in spending. Voters are wary of new bond issues and increasing government debt. All the while, these same groups are demanding improved test scores and graduates who have strong language, math and technology skills to be ready to enter the workforce or higher education programs. Attention to the energy efficiency of the learning facilities is a “do more with less” strategy that can help in balancing both sides of the equation.