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Carolina Journal Radio No. 729: One coastal N.C. county cuts off new solar projects

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
May 8, 2017 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 729: One coastal N.C. county cuts off new solar projects

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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May 8, 2017 12:00 am

One coastal North Carolina county is fed up with solar energy operations. Currituck County commissioners have enacted a moratorium on new solar operations. Carolina Journal recently highlighted the commissioners’ concerns. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson highlights key points from the Carolina Journal report. Some advocates are pushing North Carolina to engage in “mens rea” reform. “Mens rea” is Latin for “guilty mind.” The idea is that some state laws – especially those linked to regulations –  do not specify that a person should have an intent to do harm before they can be charged with a crime. Joe Luppino-Esposito, policy analyst for Right on Crime and the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, explains how North Carolinians would benefit from a clearer application of “mens rea” in the state’s law books. Retailers and consumer advocates are speaking out against the proposed border-adjustment tax under discussion now on Capitol Hill. You’ll hear highlights from a recent news conference on the topic. It featured leaders of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association and Americans for Prosperity, along with the CEO of discount retailer Variety Wholesalers. Those who want North Carolina to reform is electoral redistricting process continue to make their case to state lawmakers. A bipartisan group within the N.C. House filed a bill again this year to change the current process, which allows legislators to draw the maps for their own elections and for congressional races. You’ll hear why both Republicans and Democrats are supporting reform. A national news publication recently recognized North Carolina’s best high schools. The top five were all schools of choice. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, assesses the significance of the U.S. News and World Report ranking for the state’s growing school choice movement.

Carolina Journal Radio
Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
Carolina Journal Radio
Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

From Cherokee to Currituck from the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most of public policy events and issues welcome Carolina Journal, radio, luggage, coca during the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state. Should you be charged with a crime in North Carolina. Even if you had no reasonable way of knowing that what you did was wrong if you said no you want to learn about reform of something called men's radio. It's a Latin term for guilty mind. Not every crime requires some members of Congress want to create a new border adjustment tax bill or by retailers and consumer advocates in North Carolina are fighting the idea they say it could cost the average family an extra $1700 per year. Redistricting reformers continue to push for change in the way North Carolina draws its election maps you'll hear from Republicans and Democrats who support the change will discuss national recognition for some of North Carolina's highest performing schools of choice they make up the states five best high schools cording to one major national magazine. Those topics are just ahead.

First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline large-scale solar energy projects are now cropping up across North Carolina replacing cropland with panels that can be several miles long and wide in the industry is boosted by state law that requires North Carolina utilities to buy a growing percentage of their power from so-called renewable sources, but some officials are starting to push back the Currituck County commission has now imposed a moratorium on solar farms following the opening of a giant MIT farm Rick Anderson is editor-in-chief of Carolina Journal and of course Carolina Journal following this story of the solar industry in our state very, very closely. Rick welcome back to the program. Thank you so why is Currituck County saying they really had enough of solar, mainly because the projects have gotten so big one that in particular that we are focused on is one that is operated on behalf of MIT and this one covers 650 acres of the if you go to our story Carolina or see the of the print edition of those of the story you will see how large is you'll see that it dwarfs nearby houses. It's a massive massive project, and neighbors that are considered to be a nuisance.

One thing the project itself. The people who constructed it were not responsible for building any kind of barrier around plant vegetation or something like that to block it from the view of passersby will there's nothing like that. There are also concerns about when the project was constructed were clearing all this land, you are not putting up anything to get his place and so you get that he had issues with vermin with snakes with other source of the possible damage to the water system moving always sucks or something to restart account for when the solar farm was authorized said the commission then said okay we don't want to see these some in our county anymore because of all these issues that you brought up and also as Carolina Journal has been reporting some of those neighbors who actually do live right next to this are not too happy that either. That's right. There's they say that what's happened is that it is damaged property values again that there's possibility of health concerns from potential groundwater damage because for these this problem with grassland. This was your basic maven used for regulation is for open space. But anyway, there was vegetation there. Their waster of offset problems.

If you have big rainstorms or something like that. Now you just got the solar panel sitting on bare ground.

How prevalent are these types of solar farms in North Carolina. The only will this make in the major operation right now is what we reported about four which is the Amazon is also hundred and solar farms all over the states usually are most project with their solar farms all over the state.

This is the largest one in this is the only commercial level I of this magnitude, but there are some at almost very many counties. It could be as small as a residential solar farm. It could be something that's being used ostensibly to power or to provide some energy for what say a space server installation for one of the big companies like Apple or Google or it could be something that's used when you see these in places in which they will have solar farm that she used up to provide electricity for the grid that's supposed to help our school like that small medium large but they are become more becoming more and more prevalent is that because their subsidized tests entirely because of what was known as time Senate bill three which was a provision past 10 years ago that will require utilities to eventually generate upwards of 15% of all their electricity from sources of the current there currently. I believe 6% for this and what they have to do what utilities have to do is either purchase 6% of their total output from renewable sources. And that includes solar wind also includes hydroelectric so that's that's part of it or to save 6% use energy efficiency methods.

This is sort of the cheaters. What is your site what we could have this really awful this this really awful coal plant that produces all this pollution replace with a natural gas plant, which produces less carbon emissions and so that's an account that the account that offset counts but the percentages are ratcheting up year-by-year and so because of that, and also because of various subsidies that have been granted to offset the production costs in the land costs of these facilities then that is now a viable industry. One of the reasons that these are more more prevalent cropping up in different counties, is that you have big organizations and I think MIT is is one of them, they say, look, we want to reduce our so-called carbon footprint to get involved in something that is a renewable energy source. But as I understand it from the reporting that Don Carrington has been doing on the story it it Carolina Journal.

That facility actually doesn't hook up to the grid that that would actually be on the grid that MIT would be using electricity from right that's right, the power from this facility goes on the grid that's operated by a subsidiary of Dominion power, and that grid covers the mid-Atlantic states. Now, MIT gets its power from the grid that covers northeastern states affect all of its energy gets from a natural gas producing plant is located right on campus and that it purchases the rest of the local utility but what MIT is doing is essentially saying you're producing this green energy here North Carolina and because were producing screen energy and putting that on making that power available to consumers in eastern North Carolina.

Since in southeastern Virginia. Therefore, we are all sitting all the bad stuff were doing for the power that were using in Massachusetts. That's a real head scratcher because, yeah, yeah it seems as if maybe that's ate a noble cause. If they think that's important to do, but they're not actually reducing their energy use another not then this is you allegories talk about offsetting is carbon footprint so he would jet around the planet in these planes were doing terrible things to the environment. But what you also do is he make his whole house cream so because his house is not consuming as much energy that's offsetting the bad stuff that is doing what is jetting around plant telling people how awful global warming is that's part of of what's going on and the other.

Another reason that these these facilities are popping up is because of.

In many cases, people who own the property do not actually use the property, they may be absentee owners who have the option of leasing it to someone farm or leasing it to someone to put a solar farm up and it turns out that solar operations get an 80% profit local property tax rebate. So again, there's another taxpayer-funded incentive for someone to use the land in a way Leno doesn't care whether you are growing tobacco or cotton or corn or you're producing solar energy. I want the best return for the money and the best returns are getting is on a market return with a government government subsidized return and so that's all. Another reason why a lot of the stuff soldier popping up real estate and because of everything that you've just described. There are some state legislators who are thinking that this is not a very good deal taxpayers right. There are several legislative vehicles are active right now of different laws and house and Senate that would stop the growth of this renewable energy mandate that might freeze it 6% might let it go to eight but certainly will try to get down below the highest level which right now looks like 12 1/2 is what the really shooting for. But at least try to cut that off so that people can sit back and figure out some way to see if this is really the best way to produce low cost, reliable energy for Carolinians and then if that were to happen. The interesting thing would would be to watch what happens to the industry. Does it kind of parent self back because it has to actually compete in the marketplace without that subsidy I think that's it? That's right, exactly, and Carolina. Journal of course will be reporting on all of the updates on the solar industry in North Carolina.

We've been talking with Rick Henderson. He is editor-in-chief.

Thank you very much. Thank you. With this much more Carolina Journal radio to come just government plays a key role in your life affecting your paycheck the way you educate your kids the way you do business.

How can you tell if government is doing a good job making the right choices.

Spending tax dollars wisely. Carolina tackles those questions every day.

The John Locke foundation publishes Carolina Journal imprint each month and on the web each day at Carolina. you'll find exclusive investigative reports on topics.

No one else is covering what else a rundown of the best new stories, editorials and opinion columns in North Carolina.

John Hood's daily Journal news stories and important public and the voices of the newsmakers themselves at Carolina Journal radio imprint on the air and on the web.

You can find the information you welcome back to Carolina Journal radio I Michiko guy doesn't make sense to charge someone with a crime if he had no reason to believe that his conduct was wrong. That question lies at the heart of efforts to reform North Carolina's rules regarding the Latin term mens rea is a topic that led to a recent forum at Campbell University Law school in one of the expert to address the issue, joins us now. Joe looking know Esposito is a policy analyst for right on crime and the Center for effective justice at the Texas Public policy foundation. Thanks for joining us. Before we get into mens rea remind us right on crime is a group that focuses on criminal justice issues nationally correct.

Yes, that's correct. So were based out of Texas but we are in a national campaign for conservative criminal justice reform so we handle a wide range of issues, whether at sentencing, prison reform and mens rea in criminal intent is another big issue that we be looking at in North Carolina number of other states of the federal level. Why is this mens rea issue something that's so important that it auto attracts of national attention right. It was interesting about mens rea. I think a Grover Norquist once joked that you know this is in a new issue because we know that flatten it out. This is a criminal intent lots really basic tenet of criminal law.

But unfortunately I think the regulation sometimes is bad lawmaking has become an issue. What occurs, essentially, is that when there is a crime is not enough intent put in the crime image simply say you may not do X well if you do it by accident, then you also guilty of a crime, but as we learn when you have the most basic thing that you learned in law school, which is that every crime must consist of a bad action and that intent and now are going to be convicting people of accident, so we don't really need to be in mens rea for those who are new to the tournament due to the issue is talking about that intent to this is the intent piece of the right, not just the action right yet the intent piece and note were all familiar with the idea of say first-degree murder second-degree murder. These are different levels of intent us. This is something that even a layperson understands, but for some reason we sort of lost our way.

When it comes to making laws where that's a simply or not they are not done correctly now in North Carolina. Is it correct to say that the problem with mens rea really isn't in these areas like murder or robbery, but it's in newer crimes, especially ones that have to deal with the criminalizing regulations and regulation of mistakes right absolutely and you know it's a maximum flow that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but that ideas around the. The opprobrium of moral crimes right these the things that were actually concerned about only say that the regulations it's very difficult sometimes to really know what is illegal and what is not and you're actually right when it comes to regulation that may simply say you may not knowingly submit this false form well to what degree do you have to know even do know that you mailed it to you know that it was false.

I was the will try to get out of that we don't want people sending in phosphorous but there's a lot of things that can complicate this. Unfortunately, that's where we lose our way. We are chatting with Joe Lupino Esposito, policy analyst for the national group right on crime. Also the center for effective justice at the Texas Public policy foundation. So this is a problem.

You're looking at in North Carolina is a social problem that we see in other states that this this mens rea or the intent of the crime is missing from too many crimes and in other states yes absolutely not sure their two states that took some action regarding this so most recently in Michigan, they adopted what we would call default mens rea term so they did was for any laws that did not have a term or if it was unclear. The assigned one of three different levels of either intent of recklessness or willfulness. So in those cases, rather than just trying to guess if someone was doing something illegal. Now actually know if they actually had that intent in Ohio. Similar measure was taken where any front of the not possess a level of intent was assigned a level of recklessness as the level of intent and further, any new crime to go on the books in Ohio that do not have criminal intent in there and you specifically say look, we mean for this to be strict liability, meaning that there is no intent required that laws to simply avoid based on the experiences in other states do you have a sense of how easy or how difficult it would be for North Carolina to make that type of change. It can be difficult. Actually the two biggest things that we found both of states and at the federal level are two biggest concerns are first a political one. Frankly, it's a lot of folks on the left. People are environmentalist serve anticapitalist thing. Look, someone needs to go to prison for whatever.

Of course, when we talk about other aspects of criminal law and criminal justice reform.

In particular we know it is simply locking people up does not really solve the problem of me to talk about how to enforce laws and their other issues involved as well.

So that's one issue that we struggle with sort of a political one on top that we also does have the legal question and this can come from all different angles come from prosecutors who say looks that it's difficult to see how were going to handle this. What could we possibly do if you just pass in the fall term. We don't know all the laws that are in there not what this will affect that I say that's exactly our point. We can't just apply it across the board well to protect defendants well then we should just having laws that don't have this intent their associates to the biggest reasons why we have difficulty in doing this, but there are other ways to do it. Besides the default terms are things every codification where you look at the whole system overall and you can say look, we do mean to have certain intent, terms for these types of crimes and certain penalties for other types of crimes and that's really more holistic way of looking at it and avoiding some of the issues that we run into guessing some people are going to hear us and say this sounds like something of interest to some particular groups of lawyers who are haggling over this if we did have some type of reform to our our mens rea rules in North Carolina. What kinds of benefits would just the normal average person.

See right so I mean for anybody their small business owner or just an individual. There are a lot of crimes on the books in every state and III don't even look in north Carolina code to know there are a lot of crimes that probably should not be crimes and unfortunately and is not imputing any nefarious anything to anyone in particular but if there is a crime on the book on the books and summer want to convict you of it and there is no intent, you will be convicted of noted to take a line from one of Stalin's ministers. You show me the man off on you the crime and enforcing that the situation we are in, especially when it comes to regulations. So if we see some reform of mens rea that that that possibility becomes much less likely to happen yes absolutely. You won't be seeing those types of issues pop up because it's going to be clear that you're doing something wrong or there is no way for you to plead ignorance of that law. Given your experience in other states, even if there is some difficulty in this process. Is it likely that people who learn about this are willing to at least talk about it and try to make something happen.

Actually, I think so at you know a lot of folks the matter what side of the neuron and whether you're more pro defense Pro prosecutor whatever you want to say that he is that we won't have justice year and we don't want to just have been taking away their liberty just because of something that we don't like.

The same goes and we talk about nonviolent crimes regulatory crime that's really consider why were taking someone's liberty away while giving them a heavy fine. Other other ways to deal with this. Let's look at that really consider how we can be less damaging but still effective. One of the things that the John Locke foundation is recommending is to have just the complete, you mention the storm earlier the codification of the entire criminal code something like that help yes absolutely. And it really gives the opportunity for everyone to come together all the stakeholders. Law enforcement young defense prosecutors. Everybody can come together and say why are we really convicting people of certain crimes and to what level we want to do it because a lot of times crimes.

There are created and penalties are given, but they don't really match up with other things that are on the books, sort of my favorite stories. The from the federal level, when John Kerry was a senator right around the time of the hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic proposed a bill that would make a for up to a five-year penalty for disturbing the Titanic site now. Not only that the silly will put that aside for a moment, but there ready laws on the books of disturbing artifacts that had a penalty of up to one year in prison so he's now making a special crime for something that probably should be a crime in the first place. One person is going to be watching closely as North Carolina deals with this issue of mens rea and the prospect for reform is Joe Lupino Esposito, policy analyst for right on crime and the Center for effective justice at the Texas Public policy foundation. Thanks much for doing extra will have one Carolina Journal radio just a moment. Are you looking to make North Carolina more free the John Mott foundation is in here are three things you can do today to help us make it happen.

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Welcome back to Carolina Journal radio language co-guide groups representing retailers and consumers are speaking out against the tax proposal from Congress and the Ellen of the North Carolina retail merchants Association explains it's not often that Washington proposes a new tax but in case you haven't heard, Washington is proposing something brand-new and is called the border adjustment tax often referred to his back.

It would create virtually everything would take virtually everything went on a family by today, groceries, prescriptions, home goods, gasoline, shoes, clothing, you name it everything you go to a store to buy. It was like a giant 20% increase on virtually every one of these items that's important added up. Experts predict it will cost the average family. An additional $1700 every single year $1700 that many families just don't have to spend some of suggested this tax will encourage people to buy American. Without rhetoric, walking, telling denies the reality of our modern modern global economy. Our economy knows no lines, either oral, among states or among countries.

Donald Bryson of Americans for prosperity also opposes the border adjustment tax. According to statistics from 2014. Total value of imports coming into North Carolina was around $52.8 billion that $52.8 billion is equivalent to 11.17% of North Carolina's GDP is roughly 1/9 of our states GDP based on our report. These statistics mean that North Carolina ranked 22nd in sensitivity to about 20% that would lead to 10.57 billion that $10.57 billion in new taxes on North Carolina's economy. Businessman Art Pope explained the negative impact using the example of a $10 pair of pants below $10 cell calls good so maybe six dollars and then you have what's called your operating calls for SG and excels in general, most great expenses was about three dollars I got total cost of nine dollars at one dollar profit you pop 35% corporate income tax write that one dollar profit.

The federal government is $0.35 retail kick $0.65 under the border adjustment tax. The cost is good so that six dollars will be quote add it back into your taxable income is that of one dollar real profit being attacked. Your net income into touching seven dollars meal at the lower 20% right that comes out of dollar $0.40 to 35% 35 set taxable dollar profit $10 sale to pay a dollar 44% increase about the way your your income really is a dollar so you have a dollar 40 taxes all dollar incomes you lose them on a repair Apache so that's what's will force retailers to pass on a huge price increase their customers listening to criticism of a federal proposal called the border adjustment tax back will return with more Carolina Journal are you tired of fake news.

Well you won't find it here at Carolina Journal. We don't make things happen and we don't presume or assign motives. There's no simpler way to put it then that were proud to say that honest, factual, rigorous journalism is the Carolina Journal way our reporting team is focused on accountability in government and policymaking. No matter which political party is in power, and regardless of the person taken to task in the story and Carolina Journal were beholden to the truth and to transparency. Unlike fake news lies, innuendo, questionable sourcing are meant to create controversy not inform the debate. So the next time you're confronted with fake news log onto Carolina or pick up the latest print edition you'll find compelling news reporting from a team that knows what it means to be real journalists committed to truth Carolina Journal, you can count on us for the facts. Welcome back Carolina Journal radio I coca some state lawmakers are pushing again this year to change the way North Carolina draws election maps. Specifically, maps for elections to Congress and the Gen. assembly.

Lawmakers draw the maps themselves.

Now, through a process called redistricting but House Bill 200 would change the process. It would set up a temporary appointed commission to handle the task. Republican representative Chuck McGrady is leading the push for redistricting before when we were in the minority.

This bill was something that Republicans generally rallied around and what I'd say to that is if it was the right thing, then it is still the right thing now we have to serve the people of North Carolina and we must make sure that they have full confidence in the integrity and fairness of our elections. Competition is always good thing, whether it's in business elections, so we would welcome a better redistricting process that will provide more competition than we have now when a party again was in power now that were in power. We seem to move somewhat see these issues somewhat differently.

The same was said not that long ago when when the Democrats for power. I don't think is a general matter, legislators to be doing their own redistricting. They certainly are constitutionally have a role to play.

But in terms of how they get the process starts that's that's not where we should be McGrady and three other Republicans serve as lead sponsors, but democratic representative rear. Martin is one of the top advocates for reform. I have the dubious distinction of being the last Democrat to actually draw legislative districts when the courts order the redrawing of the Pender and New Hanover County districts are chaired the committee that did that and shortly thereafter, Chuck's party took control sees the reducing pin for my hand the way we draw districts in this country is about partisan problem and it is so rewarding for me to be part of five parts or group of North Carolina legislators will be part of crafting a bipartisan solution to Martin doesn't want to overpromise the benefits of redistricting reform bill before you is not a cure at all for the problems of redistricting at all, but it is a wonderful treatment to a chronic problem from which our democracy suffers whenever you have a completely nonpartisan redistricting string is one of the most inherently partisan activities that we do as a product. There will always be partisanship, but this bill will put a layer of insulation between partisan hacks all of us up here and drawing of our districts.

Regardless of which party is in charge. I think that's the best way forward. This bill is something that we got through a Republican-controlled House something that when my father was in charge never and I feel confident that the planets aligned with the house again and then it's off to the Senate will join us. Republican representative John Harvester is one of the roughly 40 representatives one third of the statehouse signed on to the measure I think is right thing to do. Thought this was right thing to do for long time. I advocated for doing this when my party was in the minority for many years. I wrote letters to legislators. I made phone calls, legislators, and said we need to implement redistricting reform and didn't have to. Democrats didn't want to let go of the powerful Nomar partisan power and I felt like as stated earlier, this was right thing to do. Back then it still the right thing to do today some hopeful that we can move this forward. I'm grateful for the primary sponsors of the bill. I'm glad to proceed in a bipartisan effort to get this done and hopefully we can get it done. I do want to say for the record, from my perspective only speaking for myself that I don't see this as an affront to the current legislative districts that are currently being litigated. I believe speak for myself.

Those districts are constitutional, but I would submit that there's a better way for this process to be done as ribs and of Martin said a few moments ago is probably not possible to completely eliminate the influence of politics and British redistricting process, but you can reduce the influence of politics in the process and this is what that's what this bill would do and therefore am hopeful that we can get this done. Bill spells out details for a redistricting reform plan but McGrady says supporters are willing to tweak it thing is absolutely in cement.

There are various ways to go about nonpartisan redistricting. This is one way, but it's not the only way and so were quite quite prepared to have that discussion. If and when we can get the bill moving McGrady reminded his audience of recent legislative history of redistricting reform bill like this past the house in 2011 and then hasn't moved in the house in 2013 and 50 so I mean it's it's uphill struggle. I always said about the redistricting issue that this going to be a time when Republicans and Democrats both feel like it's in their best interest to move the bill like this and I want to have a bill are ready and queued up to go when that time occurs.

It could occur around natural mineral census and redistricting time, but it could also occur around the court decision that might cause people to go. Maybe we ought to be doing this a different way. Grady says there's an advantage to having a reform bill ready to go. I came out of the environmental world.

We ofttimes introduced bills because we we need to rally public support around the bill mean most of the time when I when I did advocacy work. I wanted to create demand for what it is I was putting forward so this this paints a picture. What about the complaint from many Republicans that redistricting reform is now a partisan issue. Democrats wanted Republicans should oppose it. Yeah I get that but again if you have any historical perspective you understand.

The shoe was on the other foot. One time, and so yes be lying if I didn't say the answer to your question was, yes, some people see that way but I think actually that's the right way to see it if you got any historical perspective, you know, Republicans were solidly on nonpartisan redistricting bill before we remember Geordie Democrats refused to let that move and now we saw find yourselves in a different situation. What I'm actually gratified by is that despite that, I've got to all Republican coat primary cosponsors rear stepped aside to allow extra ones got people that are in leadership in in the house and so that would suggest that you know there you know it it doesn't split out exactly the way you you suggested that's Republican representative Chuck McGrady of Henderson County. He's leading the push this year for election redistricting reform will return with North Carolina Journal if you love freedom we got great news to share with you now.

You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups all across the state. All in one place North Carolina one-stop shopping for North Carolina's freedom movement North Carolina You'll find links to John Locke foundation blocks on the days news Carolina reporting and quick takes Carolina Journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke foundation analyst plus opinion pieces and reports on higher education. All of that from the Pope Center for higher education policy commentary and polling data from the Cintas Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council.

That's right, all of that, all in one place North Carolina that's North Carolina spelled out North Carolina Log on today. Welcome back to Carolina Journal radio I'm Donna Martinez parents want high schools to excel so that their kids have the best shot at being prepared for adulthood. Taxpayers of course want high schools to do well so that they can see that their hard earned tax monies being used well, but how do we know for sure that any of this is happening. One measure is the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of high schools in America. Dr. Terry stoops who is the John Locke foundation's vice president for research and the director of education studies is here to share the data on North Carolina Terry welcome back to the program. Thank you. Tell us about the top five high schools in North Carolina will top five high schools in North Carolina. According to U.S. News & World Report.

All schools of choice and that really mirrors what's happening nationwide. If you look at the national ranking of the top high schools. It's the same deal is that we have a lot of charter schools at the top. What a magnet schools a lot of alternative schools but they're all schools of choice for the most part now doesn't mean that the whole list of courses full of just schools of choice, but it does mean that not only North Carolina but nationally that the top high schools are schools where parents get to choose to send their children, whether it be a a magnet school which is the top score North Carolina the Philip J Weaver center in Guilford County for a charter school such as Raleigh charter, which is also up there on the top five or an early college or Guilford, which is also at the top five.

These are the different choices that North Carolina parents have.

And of course they're making their mark in performance on these rankings or what do these five schools have in common. Well, they don't have a whole lot of common to be honest, except that there are schools of choice summer in urban areas summer in suburban areas in summer evening in distant areas like Thomas Jefferson classical which is in Rutherford County. This is not what you would call in an inner-city school. So you see that they are scattered about the different places in different counties with very different demographics. There are some of the schools that have almost no disadvantaged students and then you have some like Thomas Jefferson, classical has a decent population of disadvantaged students and that's one of the things that this ranking looks at if you look at the methodology. The two U.S. News & World Report employees. They look at student performance, but even beyond that to look at student performance disadvantage groups. These are low income students. These are African-American students, Hispanic students and how they perform on state tests. So it's very important that these schools are reaching out to different populations. They provide parents choices in different ways and they're located in different areas in the state.

Now this is fascinating to me because it sounds like they really don't have a whole lot in common. So what should we draw from this Terry. The top five high schools in our state happened to be schools of choices that coincidences there or is there some nugget to be drawn from well I think what choice does is it gets parents involved in the one thing we know from the research is that when parents are involved in the education process. The performance of students increases in the way you get parents involved is to give them choices make them sit down and decide which school is best for their child.

When you start taking decision-making away from the parents you automatically. In a lot of ways, remove them from the process and you make them believe that the education their child is being handled by someone else or someone else is taking care of that issue getting them involved is what's absolutely critical. And that's what choice does so when you start providing choices and it doesn't have to be in the form of charter school can certainly be within the traditional district system like a magnet school or even providing choices within that system. Parents are more involved in student performance thrives. It's interesting because it it's really buy-in is what you're talking about the parents have bought into this and we try to teach this to our kids. A lot of times are the classic example that I would take away from this is when you have a teenager who wants a car and you say well that's fine. Mom and dad will pay for half of it, but you gotta go get a job and save your own half. They bought into the process and somehow it's more meaningful to them when they exceeded that car that essentially what's happening here. Yeah I think that's it. That's a lot of it and you know some of it to is that you have more affluent parents are more involved in their kids education. You certainly have instances of that end in some of these schools, but if you look at Thomas Jefferson classical Academy. For example, you deftly don't have that of Rutherford County is a low income county in a fairly rural part of the state so you don't have that same level of parental involvement than you would have it, sale Raleigh charter or at an early college in Guilford which are in the top five. If you look at some of the other schools in North Carolina their say in the top 20 have a lot of schools from the traditional district system East Chapel Hill high school Carrboro high school, but you also find there a lot of charter schools represented Raichlen Academy in wake County. You have Greystone day school so there are plenty of other charter schools, even the top 20. But also you see a lot of traditional public schools also represented you mentioned Raleigh charter high school number two on the list of the top five in North Carolina school just kills it every year it seems like their name, they really do. And you know that's what is really important about having any school that's high achieving is the expectation there will continue to achieve achieve at a high level now Raleigh certain Raleigh charter certainly attracts a tremendous number of applicants.

In fact, it's one of the hardest things to get into Raleigh charter high school because thousands literally thousands of applicants vied for a very limited number of seats, so getting into Raleigh charter is very difficult to begin with, and that just speaks to the quality of the school also speaks to the fact that we could have probably two or three more Raleigh charters and we could fill them up instantly and that's one of the difficulties about charter schools is that we don't have the opportunity to replicate them as quickly as we would like because if we did, we could have far Raleigh charters that would accommodate thousands of more students and hopefully accommodate them at the highest level that we have the current Raleigh charters Terry, I think you've just given us a really good reminder about public charter schools. How do people get in well you just apply and it's a lottery that's right if the applicants exceed the number of seats you have to be chosen by lottery know that's not a rule that's universal hundred percent of the time because there are charter schools are allowed to use a weighted lottery, which means they can choose students from certain demographics first and then choose the other students via lottery, but Raleigh charter has to choose their students by state statute, via a lottery so they can pick and choose who comes to the school and who gets the seeds of this is true for charter schools across the state. It would be easy for any charter school would just take the cream of the crop and enroll them in the school, but I think the pre-people who created charter schools in North Carolina did not want that to happen and that's not what happens. You have to be chosen by lottery, which is a random process and Terry Wiebe right now to the United States at the data in this U.S. News & World Report is rather interesting, because traditional public schools did quite well. They really did. And you know the state that the best was Arizona State. I know that you know very well with the Arizona charter schools in particular have really separated themselves from the other public schools in Arizona, a tremendous system of charter schools. The basis charter schools in Arizona is the name of the group of charter schools that really excelled, and year after year find themselves at the top of these kind of ranking will what I love about a list like this is that it certainly not to be on the end but it is a good indication just one more piece of data that parents and taxpayers can take a look at and see what it means to them if it's helpful to them. We been talking with Dr. Terry stoops. He is the John lock, foundations, vice president for research. A recent promotion. Congratulations you and I'm also the director of education studies Terry, thanks very much. Thank you. That's all the time we have for the program this week. Thank you for listening on behalf of my cohost Mitch. Okay I'm Donna Martines. We hope you'll join us again next week for another edition of Carolina Journal radio Carolina Journal radio is a program of the John learn more about the John Locke foundation including donations support programs Carolina Journal radio send email to development. John 1:166 JL left info 166-553-4636 Journal radio nation airline is maintained.

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