- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Recent editorials from North Carolina newspapers:

Feb. 2

News and Observer, Raleigh, N.C., on state universities leading in affordability:

Amid all the turmoil of the last several years involving academic scandal and athletics, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has maintained a distinction, a No. 1 ranking, in an area that really matters.

The Princeton Review ranks it tops in the country in terms of being a “best value” in education. N.C. State University was fourth, and UNC-Asheville, UNC-Wilmington and Appalachian State also were mentioned as good value for what’s delivered. From the private side, to no one’s surprise in this state, Wake Forest, Duke and Davidson College ranked highly.

That UNC-CH can continue this distinction (a top ranking is almost predictable, for example, in the annual Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine) is a positive stroke for the university.

But let’s hope affluent trustees don’t use it as a taking-off point to advocate higher tuition and fees, in the name of not being too good a bargain.

There is no question, even among those who have rightly worried about the evidence of academic fraud and problems with men’s athletics that UNC-Chapel Hill has been, is and will continue to be a top educational institution. That it’s a bargain is all the better.

Online:

http://www.newsobserver.com

___

Feb. 1

News & Record, Greensboro, N.C., on keeping teachers:

It takes two hours to drive from Greensboro to Salem, Va.

How many Guilford County teachers made that trip Friday or were on their way this morning?

“I’m hearing an awful lot,” Liz Foster said Wednesday. She’s president of the Guilford County Association of Educators, and she’s worried about the state of her profession in North Carolina.

On the other side of the Virginia line, this is a time of opportunity. A consortium of 20 public school systems ran ads in small North Carolina newspapers touting a teacher recruitment fair at the Salem Civic Center Friday and today. For teachers interested in relocating, it said, a state education official would be there to provide licensing information.

Why would this be inviting to North Carolina teachers? For one thing, on average, teachers in Virginia are paid $4,000 a year more. In fact, teachers in almost every other state are paid more. It’s disgraceful how poorly North Carolina educators are paid.

But that’s not the only reason teachers are unhappy with their circumstances here.

“We’re being undercut at almost every turn,” Todd Warren said at a press conference held Wednesday by Aim Higher North Carolina, a newly formed organization whose ambitious mission is to call for teacher pay to return to the national average.

Education reforms are needed, but driving teachers away isn’t a formula for success. The local teachers who attended Wednesday’s media event, holding signs with slogans such as “Better Pay = Better Schools,” have a point.

Is it getting through?

Gov. Pat McCrory says yes. Although he didn’t push for a teacher pay raise last year, he now says the low salaries are unacceptable and promises an increase this year.

State leaders must find good answers, or “an awful lot” of our teachers visiting job fairs in other states won’t come back.

Online:

http://www.news-record.com

____

Feb. 3

The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C., on portraying black history:

Born in coastal West Africa, Shibodee Turrey Wurry was about 16 when he was captured by slave traders in 1757 and sold in Rhode Island to a Capt. John Gilmore, who gave his new slave the name Toby Gilmore.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, young Gilmore enlisted — probably to gain his freedom, according to the winter 2011 newsletter of the Raleigh chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

“War records indicate that Gilmore fought three separate tours of duty and participated in the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga and the Continental Army’s bitter winter encampment at Valley Forge.”

A generation or so ago, his accomplishments probably would have been unknown to many Americans, certainly to most white Americans. He is one of many African Americans who played a key role in the Revolutionary era and who were portrayed in an exhibit of Michelle Nichole’s oil paintings this past weekend at the main branch of the Durham County Library.

Nichole talked about her exhibit, “In Hopes of Freedom: A Tribute to African American Heroes of the American Revolution,” Sunday as a kick-off of Black History Month. Many of those heroes, she said, she discovered “by accident,” and she wanted others to know of their contributions.

We would like to think that by the 14th year of the 21st century, more than 150 years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and nearly 50 years after the passage of landmark civil rights legislation, that the history of African Americans in America is no longer an under-studied topic.

But even today, as evidenced by Michelle Nichole’s mission, we have much to do to ensure that we fully understand how black history is intertwined with and too often has been overshadowed by the broader historical narrative for so long largely written and defined by a white majority.

Online:

http://www.heraldsun.com

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