SCPS Newbie Policy Wonk’s Common Core Whiff

I don’t have a lot of time to go over this article by an inexperienced policy wonk from South Carolina Policy Center (SCPC), Dillon Jones, that was published at The Daily Caller:

So here’s the thing, the entire article can be summed up as, ‘Don’t blame the government for states taking the money that now binds them to Common Core’. Why not just write, “ya’ll need to shut up’? Would have been faster.

In the most simplistic terms, yeah, the states did take the money. In the grand scheme though, taking the money had all sorts of moving parts, waivers and requirements attached.  It was like dangling a carrot in front of a starving rabbit.

I’ll refer Mr. Jones to an article by Neil McCluskey of Cato Institute, which oddly enough has given funding to SCPC.  Quick excerpt, read the whole thing:

For far too long a big part of the Common Core debate has been about establishing simple fact: the federal government provided serious coercion to get states to adopt the Core, and the Core’s creators asked for such arm twisting. Indeed, just yesterday, Andy Smarick at the Core-supporting Thomas B. Fordham Institute lamented that the write-up for President Obama’s education budget proposal gives the administration credit for widespread Core adoption. Wrote Smarick: “The anti-Common Core forces will likely use this language as evidence that Common Core was federally driven.” Of course it was federally driven, by Race to the Top (RTTT) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers! But the budget proposal tells us far more than that.

The big story in the proposal is – or, at least, should be – that the president almost certainly wants to make the Core permanent by attaching annual federal funding to its use, and to performance on related tests. Just as the administration called for in its 2010 NCLBreauthorization proposal, POTUS wants to employ more than a one-time program, or temporary waivers, to impose “college and career-ready standards,” which–thanks to RTTT and waivers–is essentially synonymous with Common Core. In fact, President Obama proposes changing Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – of which NCLB is just the most recent reauthorization – to a program called “College- and Career-Ready Students,” with an annual appropriation of over $14 billion.


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Paging Senator Tom Udall…Grass Roots Calling

by Liberty Speaks LS

Something I have noticed in New Mexico regarding it’s politicians is they are particularly difficult to unseat.  It seems the only way to get them out of office is if they have term limits, and sometimes that only keeps them out for a couple of years.  I am hoping that our Senator will be the exception to that slow-moving ‘Land of Enchantment’ rule this time around.

Tom Udall was elected to the US Senate along with a tsunami of Democrats winning office during the ‘Oh My God We Hate Bush and the Republicans’ election year in 2008.   He became part of the Democratic Super Majority led Senate and the ‘Fundamental Change’ of our great country.   New Mexico is now paying that price; slow job growth, tens of thousands loosing their health care to the ACA, low wages and high poverty.  The state feels more like the ‘Land of Entrapment’.

However, there are a few things that give me hope that New Mexico may have a new Senator come November 4, 2014.

First, two challengers have emerged to take Udall on.  David Clements and Allen Weh.  Clements is the Dona Ana County Assistant District Attorney and Republican Chairman for the county, and Weh is Chief Executive Officer of CSI Aviation, a local business in Albuquerque.  Both men qualified for the primary ballot and both seem able, competent and ready for the challenge that is ahead of them.  We will see who comes out victorious after the June 3rd primary

The second thing that is giving me hope is a couple of grass roots websites have popped up on the radar here in New Mexico.  One in particular stands out.  It has a southwestern appeal, is simple and clear in its message and the title says it all..

Does New Mexico Know Udall?

I found the site after a post was shared on a Stop Common Core NM face book page regarding the Common Core video “Building the Machine” and the connection with Udall’s support of  “Race to the Top”.  I had to see what the site had to offer and I was pleased to see it deals with New Mexico specific topics.  The questions being asked on the pages keep the reader engaged, and the reader has no choice but to ask the same questions:

  • Do you know Tom Udall?
  • Did you know who donates to his war chest?
  • Do you know he was voted most liberal and most progressive in the Senate?
  • Do you know he wanted a “single payer” health care system?
  • Do you know he sent a letter to IRS urging targeting of Conservative groups?


The other grass-roots website is a whole other ball game.  It offers bold information and opinion on our senator with strong Libertarian and Constitutional principles. It hits home on a National level.  This site could very well be about any Democrat running for re-election this fall.

Does Tom Udall Represent You?

“This website is intended for New Mexico registered voters who plan to vote in the 2014 elections. It is for voters looking for background information on important issues Americans face today. The site is designed to profile New Mexico Senator Tom Udall who always votes more partisan than he campaigns.”

Both sites show a very different view of the Senator.  One I am sure he may not want.

Since I have lived in New Mexico for over half of my life, these questions as well as many others regarding our Senator are in my mind.  I know what my answers are, but I am guessing many in New Mexico do not.   The current polling data shows Udall with a 55% approval, 33% disapproval, and 15% are not sure.   Both Weh and Clements show at 33% against Udall.  I am hoping that sites like these keep popping up and start to drive that 55% down.  With 15% of the voters not sure about Tom Udall maybe a little grass-roots effort can ease that confusion.  We will see.  I myself, am hopeful.











Posted in Democrats, Elections, GOP, Government, IRS, Liberty Speaks, New Media, Reality Bites, Senate, Senate 2014 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

NC Supreme Court Races: Chief Justice Race

In my previous article, The NC Supreme Court Races, I outlined the main events and the candidates in each one. In this installment, I’ll be looking at the Chief Justice race.  The current Chief Justice is Sarah Parker, who will be retiring this year on her 72nd birthday as per North Carolina state law.  Running for this top position are Mark Martin and Ola Lewis. Whichever candidate is elected will serve for the next eight years.  Here’s a closer to look, starting with ladies first.

About Ola Lewis

Judge Ola Lewis presides over the 13B Judicial District of the Fourth Division of the Superior Court. This division serves Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus counties. Her term there doesn’t expire until 2018.  In her last election in 2010, Lewis ran unopposed. For more information and a timeline of her career, visit Judgepedia.

Judge Lewis has an about page on her website which gives the basic profile and background. Here’s the opening paragraph, which includes that she served former Speaker of the House, Dan Blue:

Judge Lewis graduated from Fayetteville State University in 1986  and received her Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University in 1990.  Upon successfully passing the Bar in 1990, She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Speaker of the House, Dan Blue, in his firm of Thigpen, Blue, Stephens and Fellers in Raleigh.  Hired as an Assistant District Attorney for the 13th Prosecutorial District (Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus counties) she went on to become the youngest and first female African-American Judge in Brunswick County. Judge Lewis is currently the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for District 13 B.

Highlights and other relevant details include being a former Democrat and Former Governor Hunt appointee.

Lewis began her law career 22 years ago as Democrat. She was an Assistant District Attorney serving in Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus Counties from 1991-1993. She was appointed to the District Court Bench in 1993 by then Governor Jim Hunt.  After seven years Lewis was appointed by Governor Hunt to the Superior Court Bench. 

In 2002 she successfully ran for the position of Resident Superior Court Judge.  Shortly after winning that election, Lewis switched parties and joined the GOP.   

In 2010 Lewis ran unopposed for her current position as Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for Brunswick County.  - WECT

More on that party switch back in 2003 and mention of her appointment to the Superior Court by Former Governor Easley:

Superior Court Judge Ola M. Lewis of Brunswick County on Thursday switched her registration from Democrat to Republican. Lewis is one of two black female Superior Court judges in the state. She was appointed by Democratic Gov. Mike Easley and won election this past November.

Lewis said the Republican Party “embraced me for who I am and did not expect anything from me.”

She said the “Democratic leadership was not sympathetic to me during my campaign last fall.” – News and Observer

About that last statement – Two Democrats in Superior Court spots were up for reelection in the campaign Lewis speaks of. It would appear that perhaps the Democrat party backed the incumbents.  As a result of that backing, it would appear Lewis changed her affiliation and then ousted one of those incumbents.  For whatever reasons, feathers looked to have been ruffled.

Speaking of ruffled feathers, it would appear Judge Lewis has done some ruffling of her own in the Brunswick Republican party. In an op-ed at WWAY3, an ABC affiliate, there is mention of Judge Lewis with regard to a libel case and another involving young drivers classes and traffic court. The WWAY op-ed said Lewis likes to ‘throw these kind of grenades and run’.

More detail on the traffic court complaint and the anger around it in the Brunswick Republican party can be found in another article at WWAY:  Judge Lewis’s role in David-Jolly battle causing Republican rift

The decision on the libel case was initially split on two separate posts (one on a blog and one on Facebook) by activist Ed Rapp.  Rapp’s attorneys argued Rapp’s comments were protected under the First Amendment. The final decision didn’t agree; Lewis would be awarded $105,000 for the libel charge. The details of that case are well worth reading:  Jury rules in favor of judge in libel suit; awards $105,000

In another story involving the First Amendment, media were barred from the Brunswick County Bar Association meeting in May of 2011.

When we tried attending the meeting, we were escorted out by a sheriff’s deputy and told it was “private meeting.” When we followed up, we were told that Brunswick County Judge Ola Lewis had requested security for the meeting to keep anyone from coming in.

We called Judge Lewis and reminded her that the Bar Association was meeting in a public building (the courthouse) and using tax-payer resources (sheriff’s deputies) to run security for the meeting, therefore it should be open to the media and public in general. She said they always had their meetings there, and even though it didn’t look good, said the meeting should be closed. -WWAY3 ABC

Election Musical Chairs

So what’s being said about the reason for Lewis dropping out of the Beasley race, where she would have been a clear front-runner, and into the Chief Justice race? Depends who you ask.

Lewis was recently quoted as saying “political gamesmanship” was responsible for her getting into the Chief Justice race against Sr. Associate Justice Mark Martin.  There is an implication here that Lewis was upset when Mike Robinson entered the Beasley race, making it a three-way run requiring a primary to reduce the number to two candidates. From that implication, one might wonder if Robinson had the GOP encouraging him to run, but attempts to verify such an attempt have not panned out. Regardless of what groups did or did not encourage Robinson to enter the race, the net effect for Lewis in hopping into the Chief Justice race has not been positive coming from the Republicans. Read more:  Ola Lewis says ‘political gamesmanship’ influenced her decision to run for chief justice


Local outlet, The Beaufort Observer, isn’t mincing words and calls Lewis’s actions ‘backstabbing‘ and highlights a nice chunk of money raised by Martin and Newby, which will now be used in the race against him:

For months, Ola Lewis has been telling people she was running for an Associate Justice seat on the state Supreme Court. She is a black Republican Superior Court judge from the southeastern part of the state. She got GOP Justices Mark Martin and Paul Newby to raise $50,000 for that race for her. However, she held off on filing until the last day and failed to show up for the NCGOP ExCom meeting last Saturday, where the other judicial candidates appeared. Now at the last minute she has filed for Chief Justice against Mark Martin. She will use the $50,000 Martin helped raise for her against him instead of against the Democrat appointee she claimed to be running against. Ola Lewis has revealed herself as totally dishonest, a thoroughgoing liar, and a backstabber. This conwoman does not belong in any type of black robe. Those who have given her money should demand it back, and if she doesn’t return it, file an ethics complaint with the State Bar against her. Lewis is slime.

Editor’s note: Attempts to contact Judge Lewis to get her comments on this reader’s post have been unsuccessful. We will post any response she wishes to offer if/when she furnishes us one.

A related item on the donations for viewing:  Carolina Journal’s Rick Henderson discusses Judge Ola Lewis’ surprise run for chief justice

I’ve also reached out to Judge Lewis for comment, specifically asking for more clarification on her “political gamesmanship” reference. When and if she responds, I’ll update accordingly.

Beyond the “political gamesmanship” remark, another statement drew my interest which was published by the News and Observer’s Under the Dome blog.  The comment was about a ranking of NC’s court’s productivity and it looked similar to the teacher pay ranking theme. The reporter on the story didn’t follow it up, but I did. Here is the section:

 In her three-minute address at the district convention, Lewis criticized the high court’s productivity. “Our current Supreme Court is one of the lowest ranked Supreme Court’s in the nation, ranked 36th by way of productivity,” she told Republican activists. “My opponent having only written five opinions in the last year.”

Lewis called herself the “most qualified candidate for the position” and “a natural born leader.”

She finished with this line: “It is time to move North Carolina forward, not to be steeped in mediocrity and complacency.”

Martin, senior associate justice with 15 years on the Supreme Court, countered by saying every chief justice in history had served on the court first.

36th in productivity? By who? What scale? What source? Until one know where that statistic comes from, it should be discarded. The only recent rankings of the High Courts in the states I found was from 2008 out of the University of Chicago. The report gives scores based on productivity, independence and influence. Productivity related to number of opinions. NC in this report ranked 50th out of 52.  If we’re now 36th, we’ve apparently made a lot of progress. I have to question thinking it is better to have cranked out a lot of opinions versus having fewer but of good quality and solid judgement.

More to come in the next installment when we look at Senior Associate Justice Mark Martin.


UPDATE: Thank you to Carolina Plott Hound for linking!

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Large District Superintendent’s Clique’s Letter to Pearson

The NC Large District Superintendent Consortium (NCLDSC) has a beef with Pearson and Powerschool. In a letter I obtained through a FOIA on the NCLDSC, it would seem Pearson’s Powerschool is not well thought of by the Large District Clique.

From that FOIA, it would seem that this Large District clique is working closely with NC New Schools and BEST NC. Both of which have promoted the Common Core or have ties to the NC Chamber of Commerce’s attempt to drown out parents on the topic– Hire Standards. More on the NCLDSC Clique later, back to Powerschool.

According to the letter, the reps from Pearson have been rude and the NCLDSC is asking for “no charge” for the 2014-15 school year “as a good faith investment in our long-term partnership”.



NC DPI has dropped millions of dollars into Powerschool and it was never intended to support a whole state. It was built with single districts in mind. The single, initial contract for Powerschool was over four millions at $4,303,150.  Between personnel, hardware, software, installations, migrations and CEDARS spending — the number goes way higher.  I’m still digging through the 4 big boxes of paper DPI sent me to comply with my FOIA for Powerschool.  Related: Pearson Powerschool Contract – September 2012

For those of you not up to speed on Powerschool and what a cluster it’s been, get up to speed with some of these articles.

The irony of Pearson and Powerschool being tied to the Longitudinal database required by Common Core and the big push by the NCLDSC to lock Common Core in for 7 years in North Carolina should not be missed here.



Posted in Common Core, Education, FOIA, ladyliberty, The Articles | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Occupy Monday – Tennessee Edition

North Carolina’s Far Left protest movement has cropped up again. I’ve previously documented Moral Monday in Chicago, Wisconsin, New York, Florida and Georgia. We’ve even seen a Moral Monday protester selected to fill the late Senator Nesbitt’s seat at the North Carolina General Assembly. This time we’re seeing it in neighboring Tennessee.

From The Tennessean, emphasis added:

Activists representing unions, a student group and other left-leaning organizations launched a new protest movement Monday evening with a rally inside the state Capitol.

About 60 protestors gathered for the first of what could become a series of events meant to fire up liberal voters ahead of the fall elections and keep them energized afterward. Calling their event a “Moral Monday” — a reference to much larger protests that began in in the North Carolina Capitol last year — the group pressed for stronger labor representation, the repeal of new voter identification requirements and the expansion of TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

“This is what? Our house,” organizer Justin Jones said, leading the group in a call-and-response. “They’re scared of us.”

State police, lobbyists and other bystanders looked on as the group protested for about an hour outside the closed doors of the state Senate and House of Representatives. The protest did not disrupt proceedings in either chamber, and the group appeared to disperse peacefully without any arrests.

The group included a few ministers, several activists from the United Auto Workers and representatives from organizations such as Jobs for Justice and Tennessee Citizen Action. Jones, a freshman at Fisk University, was one of a handful of students who attended.

So, Occupy style chants, more complaining about Voter ID and Medicaid, Far Left liberal groups and Unions again.  Basically calls for more big Government in our lives.

I see “Jobs for Justice” in there too. Here’s the East Tennessee website. Jobs with Justice is a union front group pushing for minimum wage increases. See what they’ve been up to in North Carolina: Occupy 2.0: NC’s Triangle Jobs For Justice

About Justin Jones

The Tennessean article quotes “organizer Justin Jones”.  Justin Jones likes to travel it seems, as he was also an “organizer” in California at a rally over the George Zimmerman acquittal in July 2013.  Jones is apparently an Oakland, California native. He’s perhaps at Fisk University because according to the ‘U.S. Peace Index’, it’s one of the “5 most violent states“.

From San Francisco Gate:

The July 20 rally in front of the federal courthouse in Oakland had been peaceful, in contrast to other protests in the city over George Zimmerman’s acquittal on murder charges in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Then Mayor Jean Quan began speaking, and the energy shifted.

Hecklers drowned her out, and unease spread through the crowd of several hundred people. It seemed possible that another Oakland demonstration would spin out of control. Speakers calmed the crowd, but it wasn’t until a young organizer named Justin Jones, dressed as if he was headed for a school function, jumped onto the makeshift stage that the rally’s peaceful passion returned.

Jones, 17 – the same age as Trayvon Martin – led the crowd in singing “We Shall Overcome.” The rally carried on, and the day ended with no confrontations with police and no windows smashed.

Jones worked the demonstration like a lifelong activist that day, talking to each heckler to keep the peace and shaking hands with people in the crowd. Few realized it was the first time Jones had organized something of its kind.

It won’t be the last, said Jones, who just graduated from Hercules High School and is planning to start at Fisk University next month.

Jones apparently is smart enough to get into a University but unable to get a driver’s license, passports, gun permit or other photo ID. Really? He’s very good at singing, however:

Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, tried to amend a bill he presented in the House subcommittee Wednesday to allow valid student ID cards. Fisk University student Justin Jones told the subcommittee he has registered to vote in Tennessee but has no driver’s license, passport, gun-carry permit or other photo ID required under the law for voting. He asked that his Fisk photo ID, and others issued by Tennessee colleges, be allowed.

The panel killed the amendment but voted to send the issue to a state research agency for study and a report to lawmakers in 2015, which Hardaway agreed to. But when Carr called up the next bill, the students began singing. -



Posted in Left Leaning, Liberals Gone Wild, Moral Monday, Occupy, Occupy 2.0, Social Justice, The Articles, Voter ID | Tagged , | Leave a comment