Better to be a Bitter Southerner

As Southerners, we get to choose what we keep and what we let go of. How you can love the South but hate the Flag.

Excuse me--and forgive me--for joining the bandwagon of people around our country who are demanding the removal of the Confederate flag from its official posts in South Carolina and elsewhere in the South.

I acknowledge it's hardly a brave thing to say that the flag is overdue in its removal, particularly after none other than the likes of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Lindsey Graham have added their noteworthy voices to this chorus.

Indeed, much of Southern, conservative leadership has seemed to take on the cause of taking down the rebel Stars and Bars from the corner of the Capitol grounds in Columbia, SC. It is more than a little surprising, given how flaccid their opinions were only recently--but who am I to blame? It's not like I've been standing on that soapbox myself as of late.

But before you pass too much judgment upon me and my desire to see the flag gone, allow me to share with you my story as a Southerner.


Senate Budget Ends Retired Teacher Healthcare

The Senate's Budget Bill, which was approved by vote last Friday, will end healthcare benefits for thousands of teachers when they retire.

Your healthcare could be in danger.

The North Carolina Senate just won't stop. Last week, the chamber voted on its budget proposal, which among other things ends the retirement healthcare benefit for any teacher hired after January 1, 2016. 

The change is buried deep, deep in the budget--you'll find it on page 445--and it primarily amends who is qualified as eligible for retirement benefits. The new language defines that as anyone who's hired after 1/1/2016 or anyone who returned to state employment after that date--and took their retirement funds when they left.


How Music Ed Helps Math Scores

Here's what happens when you don't know enough science to understand music ed makes better math students.

Steve Johnson, the Iredell County Commissioner who raised multiple objections about last fall's bond referendum to finance multiple public school building projects, used this week's county budget hearing as a chance to sound off about education curriculum. As he was quoted in the June 4 edition of the Statesville Record & Landmark, "I think we should teach more math and less dancing and playing musical instruments."

Johnson was talking about his concerns with how we teach the so-called STEM subjects--science, technology, engineering, and math. There's plenty of evidence--and unfilled American jobs--that suggests our students need more comprehensive training in these fields.

But kicking the arts under the bus because dance and music classes take too much away from STEM? That's downright ignorant.