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Carolina Journal Radio No. 879: Coronavirus pandemic highlights government barriers that limit response

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
March 23, 2020 8:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 879: Coronavirus pandemic highlights government barriers that limit response

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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March 23, 2020 8:00 am

The coronavirus scare reminds us about government-erected barriers that stand in the way of an effective response. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, discusses policy changes at the state level that would help North Carolina deal better with problems linked to the virus’s spread. Medicaid expansion has dominated the N.C. political debate in recent years. A recent report challenges a key claim from expansion’s proponents: They say the infusion of government money linked to expansion would help shore up struggling rural hospitals. Roy Lenardson, government affairs director with the Foundation for Government Accountability, explains why those claims are wrong. As the coronavirus began to affect patients in North Carolina, state health director Mandy Cohen offered lawmakers updates on the state’s response. You’ll hear highlights from one of those initial briefings. Economic freedom sounds like a good concept. The more one learns about the impact of economic freedom, the better it sounds. Fred McMahon, resident fellow and economic freedom chair at the Fraser Institute, outlines key benefits of freedom. He explains how North Carolina compares to other states in freedom and how the state could improve its national ranking. When Mark Johnson decided to run for another statewide office, he guaranteed that North Carolina would elect a new superintendent of public instruction this year. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the superintendent’s job. He also discusses the two candidates Democrats and Republicans have nominated to replace Johnson.

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From chair to current and the largest city in the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most of public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio I Michiko got during the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state Medicaid expansion is dominated North Carolina's political debate in recent years will learn about a new report. The challenges she claimed from expansions.

Proponents report says Medicaid expansion will not help keep rural hospitals afloat. Economic freedom sounds like a good concept. The more you learn about the impact of economic freedom, the better it sounds will chat with an international expert on the topic when Mark Johnson decided to run for another statewide office, he guaranteed North Carolina would have a new superintendent of public instruction in 2021 will take a look at the race for that post will learn about the candidates, Democrat Jen Mangrum and Republican Catherine Truitt, North Carolina, along with the rest of the world is dealing with the coronavirus to hear some highlights from news briefings about the state initial response and speaking of the coronavirus Donna Martinez addresses that topic in the Carolina Journal headline the outbreak of the coronavirus has focused the public on access to quick, effective, and affordable medical care. Right now there are some barriers in place that prevent that goal from being achieved.

Barriers that state officials right here in North Carolina could in some cases are actually eliminating Jordan Roberts as healthcare policy analyst with the John Locke foundation. He's been looking into all of these aspects as we deal with the coronavirus. He joins us now with some recommendations.

Jordan welcome back to the shelf experiment. One thing that it struck me is the issue of well people wanting to practice social distancing. Stay inside their homes. If you're having some sort of symptoms, but people also want to have access to a nurse or a doctor that is really brought the spotlight on on to something you've written about. For many, many, many months that his telemedicine is right so you say one thing first noticed a special thank you to all the people in the healthcare system that are working tirelessly to deal with this impending crisis so just regular shout outs all exit can be done without them. But yes telemedicine you know we we talked a lot about it, it's becoming more more commonly used in especially with a case of adenovirus like this that's it's very contagious and it's you we don't really have a lot of ideas worth spreading to you and where cases are coming from. So a lot of the recommendations of been to distance yourself socially from people. That means you know, minimizing as much contact as to not spread this disease because even though you may not have symptoms, you might not be affected, that you could spritz other people may so telemedicine is been recommended by a lot of the top public health officials is one way to limit the amount of contact with someone may have meant it would also what it does is it supplements your good normal routine of care by you or someone needs a diagnosis they can use videoconferencing to get more information that could, you know better inform their decision of whether I truly need to go to the urgent care whether I can stay home and isolate myself.

So just helps you people inform their decisions better and you know it's it's in line with all the public health recommendations of distancing. It wasn't too long ago that at least for me, the thought of using my smart phone or my laptop computer to access medical advice or medical care, which I had never thought of that Dragon but this thing is really advanced a lot absolutely and in in a way that the fact that were having this crisis of the coronavirus really has made people understand that this can have a really positive impact and help people that it doesn't just need to be an innovation that we use as a last resort for this idea first resort yeah exactly, you know were trying to flush out all diagnosed cases and where would people actually need to go get tested and get into treatment so you telemedicine can really help us by better allocating the resources and directing people more better information to make the decision on what to do here. Here's the problem, evidently because of licensure rules were not able at this point to access any doctor nurse that we would like to see. Tell us about that is right so current regulations North Carolina right now stipulate that if you are a patient's accessing care through telemedicine. The doctor that you see has to be licensed in North Carolina and so was plenty of doctors all well-qualified, highly trained doctors all around the country right now. They're willing to offer their diagnosis and services through telemedicine means, but make we can do that North Carolina right now so that's what the recommendations received to just increase the access to diagnosis and information from well-qualified doctors we can waive this these regulations to allow people North Carolina to see someone that's doesn't have a North Carolina license because once again, just across the state. As a member of the quality of medical care goes down anymore and we should just open this up to your allows many people to assist in this pandemic as possible and so your CVS minute clinic offers a $59 video visit to one of their licensed physicians or nurse practitioners, but services available here North Carolina and you know this is one of the ways receded how people access the healthcare system now very affordable pricing and get information that can help them better make this decision and is more people are diagnosed and were seeing closures, etc. at least at the time that you and I are speaking we still at the point where were seeing increasing numbers of writers them across the country and across the world. It is putting in a especially difficult burden on medical professionals. SOI given the shout out. Because this is one of those times where something that we just take for granted and really grams into the spotlight as being essential. So Jordan, how do we make sure that we have enough access to care and affordable care, particularly if you look at some of the hospitals. They have a limited number of doctors a limited number of surgery centers or hospital beds, etc. and the state of North Carolina is realizing that this is a question as well tell us what the issue is right so North Carolina were certificate of need state meeting in order to expand bags or expand the facility by something new. You usually need permission from the government so you something like this. We have a virus spreading and cases are gonna come up suddenly we might you know that might be a case where the hospital needs to make quick decisions on transferring transforming beds and to treat these folks or increasing beds or you know just making quick decisions on the ground based on what's happening in front of them and the certificate of need laws we get in the way because anything above 10% increase in your beds. You have to get permission from the state from but last night we saw Sec. of Health and Human Services Sec. Mandy Cohen talked about their working with the state to get these these laws waive so that if hospital did need to increase their beds by more than 10%. They would they would be able to do that without you know, spending resources, getting permission from the state so rapid to see that's happened.

Obviously you know the John Mark foundation would we fix certificate of new law should be repealed in a situation like this account highlights the reason that we know we we should trust the medical providers. The private actors on the ground to make these decisions based on what they're seeing as opposed to someone in Raleigh so that I would love to see that because we just want to make sure that these providers and hospitals are able to treat these patients. However they see fit.

No matter what situation might come up in front of them. Once we have this set virus contained in taking care of and and we get through the.

The immediate issue here and we start looking back hope that that's very, very soon. Of course, once you start looking back, it could be a really interesting lightbulb moment on lessons learned moment as we look at those barriers and really the different things that we can do the state level, not waiting for the federal government or relying on the federal government in terms of rules and regulations. We can actually do things and if it ends up helping people in a crisis situation. Maybe we can now I'll come to the agreement that we should just leave it this way. Let those people on the ground make those decisions as they need to write you and we talk about ways certificate of need laws and license reciprocity. You know, recognizing out-of-state licenses to come in and treat North Carolina patients in a time of crisis and emergency and governed about this before.

If we trust them. A time of emergency. Why would we trust them. Other times, and these are licensed well-qualified physicians in good standing and so just to increase access and just to give the as much power the private actors, the individuals making these decisions on the ground we think is the right direction to go.

Will Jordan you been doing some really interesting writing on this as we have seen this set virus situation grow and folks. You can read all of his work@carolinajournal.com and also John Locke.org the different aspects of medical care portability access things like that. Jordan, thanks so much for joining us to talk about all of this. Jordan Roberts is the healthcare policy analyst for the John Locke foundation is much more Carolina journal radio to come in just a moment tired of fake names tired of reporters with political axes to grind. What you need to be reading Carolina journal, honest, uncompromising, old-school journalism, you expect and you need even better, the monthly Carolina journal is free to subscribers sign up Carolina journal.com you'll receive Carolina journal newspaper in your mailbox each month.

Investigations into government spending revelations about boondoggles who the powerful leaders are and what they're doing in your name and with your money. We shine a light on it all with the stories and angles.

Other outlets barely cover but there's a bonus print newspapers published monthly by our daily news site gives you the latest news each and every day. Log on to Carolina journal.com once, twice, even three times a day won't be disappointed.

It's fresh news if you'd like a heads up on the daily news sign up for daily email do that Carolina journal.com Carolina journal rigorous unrelenting old-school journalism. We hold government accountable for you. Welcome back to Carolina journal radio. I mixed coconut Medicaid expansion of service.

One of the key political issues in North Carolina politics Roy Cooper and legislative Democrats favor expansion Republican legislative leaders oppose it. Recent study from the foundation for government accountability. FDA adds more evidence to the debate. Joining us now to discuss that study is Roy Leonard's and he is government affairs director at SGA. Thanks for joining us. Was good to be here. Thank you for having you and I should add Jordan Roberts, you're right here at your organization. John Locke was also the co-author of our latest study so Ashley teamed up with you guys right here North Carolina UFT is based out of Florida. We work in over 30 states 501(c)(3) but dumb. We partner with groups particular groups like you guys which we value the importance of this actually cobranded will the Medicaid study. Obviously this is something that's been part of our politics is a key issue and now your study is saying that in terms of how it affects hospitals. Medicaid expansion is not all it's cracked up to you here's what's interesting is the data starts to roll in here were for five years into this.

It's one piece of bad news after another for the folks of the expanded Medicaid so if you look at. It's almost like the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse of Tecumseh Medicaid expansion.

One is the enrollments are more than 100% off in the states had expanded so if you said you're going to have 100 people you have been 200 people in your states and unfortunately what is more likely said 200,000 end up having 400,000 into every single solitary state that is expanded Medicaid has been off by a factor of more than 100%. For the most part, some even much larger than that.

So the woman was wrong so that's sort of the horse.

Number one, and when the enrollment numbers wrong. It's not just there are more people that bankrupts budgets. What we like to say is it almost Pac-Man's your budget. So think of things that you care about. Here, North Carolina. Your roads, your great university education Europe top-notch K-12 education bridges public safety you taking care of your environment, your beach is the mountain. Let me North Carolina has all where do you think the money comes from to pay for Medicaid.

It literally eats the other pieces of the budget. So we see in some states where the Medicaid budget now consumes almost 35% of the state budget, and so more than that. You don't typically say, but only about 20% education.

That's what happened used to be 20% Medicaid that hired education that's reversal literally eating your budget alive, and there's nothing you could do because once you expand Medicaid you're beholden to the federal government so you got the enrollment explosion you got the cost explosion. The other absolutely dreadful thing. This doesn't folks don't realize is that if you earn between 100 and hundred and 38% of poverty. Okay, 16, $17,000 a year, you are eligible to be on the Obama care exchange was a totally different federal program for free or maybe 10 bucks a month depending on your income, but very minimal that is private insurance.

Okay, so if you're right now in North Carolina between 100 hundred and 30% poverty you're not on Medicaid you're on private healthcare for 10 bucks a month. If you pass Medicaid expansion, North Carolina those people and there are tens of thousands of them here in their state are no longer eligible for the private insurance program. They are forced onto the welfare program. Joint people need to understand that you are literally condemning tens of thousands of North Carolinians who right now have insurance on the private sector paid for by the federal government with a small subsidy it's against the law.

You can't be on it you are kicked off immediately and transferred to a Medicaid program which is inferior insurance okay is medical welfare.

The other one is private insurance so that's the third thing you kick off people and condemn them to a life of welfare and you're the only requirement is stay poor.

Medicine does not seem to be the kind of message that you will be sending the other issue here is what is this due to your economy you have stitch over 250,000 open jobs right now or in North Carolina. More than 40% of those open jobs provide insurance.

You don't need able-bodied adults to stay poor and stay home. You need able-bodied oats to get off the couch and go to work, Medicaid expansion as exact opposite effect of that that incentives there that he removes the incentive to go to work, so it's really dreadful. And so to get to the newest information in Jordan and Nick's report on hospitals.

One of things you all been hearing this will save hospitals, particularly rural hospitals. That is a bold faced lie. I would encourage folks to go to your website or the SGA.org and read this report is not a silver bullet for hospitals, rural hospitals are continuing to close at even greater clip in the expansion states not to get too wonky. But here's the problem.

When you put people on Medicaid and they walked to the front door of your hospital. They're paying between 60 and $0.75 on the dollar of the cost. So every single person on Medicaid that walks through the door. The hospital loses money on that person. That's not a success model and what happened is I told you remember I told you all those people who got kicked off of private insurance and on the Medicaid will people may not know this but the private insurance folks. They're paying 250 to 250% of the costs. Okay, so they're subsidizing the other group. When you get rid of all these people who are private pay and put them on public pay is a double whammy right you're losing all that money and then the other thing that happens is you should skyrockets so hospitals in them become inundated can afford can afford to do business in the losing money. Colorado is look at the reports of Vermont doesn't matter the state if you expanded Medicaid your rural hospitals are closing and you're losing money. That's the key take away. I think that's one of the most frustrating things because hospitals are important to communities, I would argue that hospitals are actually not.

The building is not important as the doctor or the nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The nurses, the CNA's all the folks to provide direct care are important and so maybe rural areas not to think about.

Are we in a big brick building always are doing it the old way that we get is in some of the small facility or smaller clinic.

So I think his way to provide healthcare, the Medicaid debate is not the one to have but doesn't help some people who been following is this debate will say well there are some pros and some cons of Medicaid expansion.

If they listen to what you're saying that it is a way but it sounds like it's all because no pro these people are poverty paddlers. Don't forget that they need people on welfare to establish their value to some of the value of the human being. The dignity of going to work and having a job and earning a paycheck and supporting your family. Their value outcome is highly more people can we put on welfare or food stamps write the American dream is built on work.

There's no other way to spend it is not built on a government handout you asked yourself and the folks listing a very simple question. What would you be more proud of your first welfare check or your first paycheck. That's the question for folks in North Carolina need to answer. Do you want to condemn someone to a life of dependency, or you want to put some on the path to the American dream the American dream is built one paycheck at a time, not one welfare check at a time.

Once again, the new study shows that Medicaid expansion does not have the promised increase or impact, positive impact on hospital jobs that report coming from the foundation for government accountability and John Locke foundation we been speaking with Roy Leonard's in his government affairs director for SGA. Thanks much for joining such great to be here and think you will have more on Carolina journal radio just a moment.

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You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups across North Carolina all in one place North Carolina conservative.com it's one stop shopping.

North Carolina's freedom movement and North Carolina conservative.com. You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carolina journal.com reporting and quick takes Carolina journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and let foundation analysts, opinion pieces and reports on higher education James G.

Martin Center for academic renewal, commentary and polling data from the scimitar's Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council. That's right, all in one place North Carolina conservative.com that's North Carolina spelled out conservative.com North Carolina conservative.com. Try it today. North Carolina is changing not just day-to-day but outward to our minute to minute and 2nd to 2nd, how can you keep up with the changes, especially the ones that affect you, your family, your home, your job, make the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal part of your social media diet on Facebook like the John Locke foundation like Carolina. Journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal news, insights and analysis you'll find nowhere else. Thanks to the experts at the John Locke foundation and thanks to the first-class investigative reporting of Carolina journal. Don't wait for the morning newspaper. Don't wait for the evening news if it's happening now it's happening here the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal. Have you covered with up to the second information like us on Facebook the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke NC and at Carolina journal. Who knew you could shop and invest in freedom at the same time it is true online shopping is now a great way to support the John Locke foundation just shop using the Amazon smile program and designate the John Mott foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop Amazon donates money to pass the John Locke foundation.

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What otherwise healthy leg need to start limiting their going out around this because your all your little unpredictable for meaning. I hear older adults we defined more specifically, I like Chris is now older man, can we look for older men, 65 mean different things for us. 65 and older or chronic now also means if you are 65. Yes, I think there is even more so. This is why folks need to make their own personal about what is right for their family.

They need be someone who category that lives at home with someone bringing home the virus is just as concerning as it has anything else that everyone needs to be using good judgment. There is not perfect information here will evolve quickly right now are targeting high-risk folks change, we could say that there are more populations we want to be sure to be protective of his guidelines easy or fast will also wanted to know about the scale of the states response as the department is planning for this and you're thinking about more cases. What is more main main twice seven or visit main a thousand times seven question. All I can do is look at the places that have been impacted early earlier. I'm looking at how quickly Haley went from having 600 cases being on full countrywide state Health and Human Services Sec. Mandy: answering questions about North Carolina's response to the coronavirus term more Carolina journal radio where doubling down on freedom at Carolina journal radio were proud to bring you stories that impact your life and your wallet. And now get twice as much freedom when you also listen to our podcast headlock available on iTunes and@johnlocke.org/podcast headlock is a little bit different.

It's a no holds barred discussion that challenges softheaded ideas from the left and the right, like Carolina journal radio headlock is smart and timely. But with Hadlock you'll hear more about the culture wars get some more humor as well. We guarantee great information and a good time double down with us. Listen to Carolina journal radio each week and listen to Hadlock to remember, you can listen to hadlock@johnlocke.org/podcast or subscriber download each week iTunes Carolina journal radio and headlock just what you need to stay informed and stay entertained both brought to you in the name of freedom by the John Locke foundation. Welcome back Carolina journal radio I get your coca economic freedom. Sounds like a good concept. The more you learn about it the better it sounds in here to help us learn about economic freedom and to discuss the implications for North Carolina is Fred McMahon. He is Dr. Michael a Walker, chair of economic freedom. Research at the Fraser Institute. That organization compiles rankings of economic freedom.

Thanks for joining us pleasure to be here North Carolina.

First of all, before we get into the rankings and what they say when we're talking about economic freedom. What we talk about economic freedom is basically the ability of individuals and families to make their own economic decisions free crony capitalist greed and free of overly ambitious government.

So it means are relatively low taxes when government expropriated sure property reduces your economic freedom John Lockwood have a lot to say about that is view on property. It means relatively low government spending, even if the money comes from somewheres else because the more government spends less room there is for free exchange. It means a sound legal system sound property rights that's probably the most in Portland aspect of economic freedom, less so in North America or Europe, and in developing countries really struggle with it because without that the rich and the powerful abuse their position to gather more Richardson well you should be able to trade with the world and regulation should be low and in place only when necessary. Otherwise it blocks your freedom to do things cells like the bottom line is something along the lines of making sure that people get to control as much of the income that they generator the wealth that they have as possible. That's true, but with the other aspects that they have more freedom to generate that income and that wealth by not having to face bizarre and onerous regulations. For example, so tell us about how your Institute puts together rankings that show just how well states, provinces in Canada nations.

How well they do on economic sure we have two we have several indexes with two significant ones economic freedom of the world were we rank hundred and 62 jurisdictions and economic freedom North America where we rank the Mexican states for US states and the Canadian provinces we use only third-party data because it's so easy to have subjective opinions on such things and those will affect your rankings to matter how much you try to avoid it. So we use only third-party data and we look at how much government spends how much goes street-level. How much government taxes and labor labor regulations at the state level and then coming together with all of the data, then you end up as we said ranking ranking.

The agencies do you think that this ranking proves helpful for people to see just how well their country stacks up against others or how will their state stacks up against others. Oh, it's immensely helpful on the international area I was in Lebanon last week were a free market group is using the index to promote economic freedom in Lebanon. After that I was in Bosnia or again a local free market group is doing the same, Cte d'Ivoire, South Africa, Nubia.

I probably been to about 20 nations where local free market groups turn to the Fraser Institute's economic freedom of the world. Judge how other nations doing to see where the reforms are necessary economic freedom. North America is more recent the signal at the state level because of course your part of the nation is a little bit more muted but yes this is been referred to in the Congressional record in any number of statehouses free-market institutes across the United States like cures like the John Locke foundation. Use it to talk to their legislators. Why aren't the people in our state is free as a neighboring states economic freedom in and of itself.

Sounds like a good thing, but economic freedom from your research correlates very well with some other things that we should like doesn't yes you know when the project was getting underway.

Milton Friedman, who with Michael Walker and Rose Friedman basically coordinated the project. He said that economic freedom was an intrinsic right that people deserved whether it made their lives better off or not but he also said he didn't think we would endure unless it did make people's lives better off let me just say this look around the world, which is good and look at the nations that are doing well and those that are doing poorly. There is no nation without free markets that have stable democracy. There is no nation without free markets that has a high level of prosperity, except maybe Petra states there is no nation without a high level of economic freedom protects other rights and freedoms and this is the cost of the, the.the social dynamics of complicated but basically we, if you're free economically than you could explore other freedoms and insist on your other rights about North Carolina. Where do we stack up but today released in the latest data that you have compared to other states in the state.

North Carolina is around the 15th. Right now just looking at the state level. Interestingly, it's had some ups and downs in our index so among the better states, but not among the very top it exactly right. In looking at the subcategories that you use one of the ones that stand out what we use three subcategories look at subnational governments, government spending, taxation and labor market freedom North Carolina does not do great on either government spending or on taxation city around 20 fifths another words a little bit below your overall rank in your heart and your overall rank as you do very well in labor market freedom. In general, when you talk to folks in the state level in their asking, what could we do to make our economic freedom ranking better. What are some of the things that they should be looking at lower government spending, leaving more space for free market exchange. And of course the flipside of that is lower taxes when you take a lot of money out of the economy. You discourage people from going there. We also discourage in investment in a lot of states have problems with labor market freedom. So, for instance, you will have minimum wage laws. The poorest and least educated from participating in the workforce, which is a tragedy, you will have unions attempting to control the labor market marketplace and we also measure the size of government employment. If government employees, too many people again undertake the mode of the free marketplace. Do you see signs that some agencies and government officials look at this report.

Find ways that they can make improvements and then do it.

No legislatures going to say we did this because the Canadian think tank told us to do this, but we we have heard that it is very powerful tool in talking to legislatures all that Canadian think tank is the Fraser Institute, its chair of economic freedom. Research is Fred McMahon. We thank you so much for joining us flesh to be here and will have more on Carolina journal radio in just a moment really influence you either have it or you don't and at the John Locke foundation we have it, you'll find our guiding principles in many of the freedom forward reforms of the past decade here in North Carolina. So while others talk or complain or name call.

We provide research solutions and hope our team analyzes the pressing issues of the day jobs, healthcare, education, and more. We look for effective ways to give you more freedom, more options, more control over your life. Our goal is to transform North Carolina into a growing, thriving economic powerhouse, the envy of every other state research is how policymakers make decisions that ensure you keep more of what you are. Expand your choice of schools for your kids.

Widen your job opportunities improve your access to doctors. The recipe for stability and a bright future for truth for freedom for the future of North Carolina. We are the John Locke foundation. Welcome back to Carolina journal radio Donna Martinez who will meet North Carolina's next head of public schools. The field is now set in either Democrat Janet Mangrum or Republican Catherine Truitt will be elected by North Carolina voters in November but behind who will lead the department of public instruction. What impact will actually have and what should they try to pursue for that we turn to Dr. Terry stoops. He is vice president of research. Also, the director of education studies for the John Locke foundation Terry welcome back to the shelf. Thank you for so let's talk about the two candidates a bit tells first about Democrat Democrat Janet Mangrum and Dr. Mangrum is a professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and her specialty is is reading, research, and she has been a professor there for some time.

She's a former public school teacher and she ran unsuccessfully against Phil Berger for his state Senate seats two years ago so that's really where she came on the scene and she has beat out the fields of democratic opponents to be their candidate for superintendent on the Republican side, the candidate who won the primary, is Catherine Truitt tell us about Catherine Truitt. Catherine is the Chancellor Western Governors University North Carolina. That's an online University, a fairly new one here in the states. She's a former classroom teacher also former advisor to Gov. Pat McCrory, so she has been in North Carolina policy circles for a few years, stepped out for a short while serving in her capacity as Chancellor and is now back on the scene.

Let's talk about what will come once one of those two women is elected in the fall. There has been conversation for years you and I've talked about it on this program you have written extensively about it.

The issue of the murkiness of how public education is actually governed in North Carolina so this is a statewide elected office, superintendent of public instruction how much influence and power. Does that office and the person who holds it. Actually have no one really knows. And that really is the problem is that there have been numerous proposals to turn this into a an appointed position either appointed by the Gen. assembly or the governor or even members of the state Board of Education is a way to try to get a little more idea of who is ultimately accountable for public schools. But it's not a statewide elected position with two primary functions.

The first is to serve as the secretary of the state Board of Education at the nonvoting role essentially as an advisor to the state Board of Education and just as a reminder, the state Board of Education is a 11 member appointed board along with Lieut. Gov. and the treasurer and their appointed by the governor, but the most important function is as head of the department of public instruction, that's a large education agency that oversees a lot of the implementation of programs that are approved by the Gen. assembly or regulations that are approved by the state Board of Education so that is the most important function of the superintendent is to oversee that agency and doing so also gives them quite the soapbox of the media always seeks out the superintendent and when there are opportunities to weigh in on certain policy matters, and so the superintendent definitely has a very visible role in the media that is fascinating because your description implies that it's really an administrative office in terms of running the operations of the Department of Public instruction, which is a vast big agency but yet it's a non-voting member of the Board of Education, which sets policy.

So does that make then for kind of a rough relationship, so to speak.

Well, it certainly has. As long as Mark Johnson was the superintendent of public instruction then and Mark decided not to run for reelection and instead five for the Lieut. Gov. nomination from around the Republican side and and did not do so successfully.

There was a contentious relationship between Mark and the members of the state Board of Education. So much so that they want the courts to sort it all out and unfortunately, the courts didn't give us much of an answer about who is ultimately responsible for some of the functions in public schools, it did clarify a few of the human resources issues that were an issue between the superintendent and the state Board of Education. But the shortly after the courts release their decision about the lawsuits.

Basically both sides declared victory and that's how I knew that I really have answers about whether there was any clarity about who was in charge because both the superintendent and the chair of the state Board of Education said the courts basically said that we want and so were still stuck in Ground Zero. Basically, as far as trying to determine who exactly is in charge of North Carolina public schools fair to say then that the relationship that the superintendent develops with those members of the state Board of Education is really critical as to whether or not the person who is the superintendent actually has an impact on policy decisions. Well, it doesn't need to be an amicable relationship because if the superintendent believes that the state board is acting incorrectly. They should speak up and affect one of the things that I've criticized the state Board of Education for and this is been happening for decades is that everyone seems to agree on every issue in all the votes seem to be unanimous, and no one speaks up and objects to some of the policies that are proposed, and superintendent Johnson was willing to do that and and are low. He was criticized for that. I see that is a very positive thing because we should have voices of dissent, especially when there are important issues at stake, and of course the public schools are 1.5 million students in the system and therefore serve tremendous tremendously important issues at stake and so I really do applaud superintendent Johnson for speaking up when he found that the state Board of Education was perhaps not acting in the best interests of children. Okay Terry so I'm gonna give you a bit of power.

Here is you and I are talking let's say that damn you have been chosen to be the host and moderator of the debate between the two candidates for the superintendent position that would be the Democrat Janet Mangrum and the Republican Catherine Truitt what would be a key question that she would ask both of those candidates were deftly start with school choice because Dr. Mangrum has made it clear that she is not necessarily a fan of private school choice or charter schools. And so, as the head of the Department of Public instruction which has the responsibility of overseeing North Carolina's charter schools I would like to know what she plans on doing with that office to to basically fulfill the duties of oversight for the states charter school so that would definitely be one of teachers how she plans on making the profession of teaching through the Department of Public instruction more attractive. So basically those who are in universities and from out of state. So I think that I would probably start with those two issues particular issue or question that you would ask Catherine Truitt who is the Republican candidate deftly what she plans on doing in reforming the states read to achieve program.

This is the third grade reading proficiency a program that has seen better days. That has been under fire for many years taken the two candidates Democrat Janet Mangrum and Republican Catherine Truitt. Thank you Terry, thank you. That's all the time we have for the program this week. Thank you for listening on behalf of Mitch Donna Martinez will join us again next week for more Carolina general radio Carolina journal radio is a program of the John lock foundation to learn more about the John Locke foundation including donations support programs like Carolina radio send email to development John Locke or call 66 GLS 166-553-4636 Carolina journal radio is the John lock foundation airline is maintaining Carolina broadcasting system, Inc. all opinions expressed on this program are so clearly reflect the station. For more information about the show. Other programs and services of the foundation timeline toll-free at 866 JM would like to thank our wonderful radio affiliates across Carolina and our sponsors. Carolina journal radio. Thank you for listening.

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