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Opinion

Last year, soon-to-be state House Speaker Thom Tillis began sporting a wrist ban reading, “Think Jobs.” The wrist ban was actually part of a campaign from the state's top business group, the North Carolina Chamber.

After the recently completed legislative session, Tillis and business leaders had something to crow about on the jobs front.

The Republicans now in charge of the legislature had kept a pledge to allow a two-year tax hike to expire on time. They had passed bills to change the state agency regulatory process, to limit medical malpractice awards against doctors, and to adjust the state’s workers compensation system.

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I hope that last weekend’s Mountain High BBQ, hosted by the Franklin Chamber of Commerce did well. Economic times being what they are, any boost in revenue for the community is greatly appreciated.

Kathy from Myrtle Beach was more than glad to pay the $5 admission fee for an event that would cap a two-week business stay in the area. What she wasn’t prepared for was the $213 ticket issued for parking along the road adjacent to the Macon County Fairgrounds. The actual fee for the citation issued by a State Trooper was only $25. However, the special bonus feature of $188 for court costs is what she took issue with. And, here I thought that shipping and handling charges for products sold on TV were a scam.

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Butch Davis never seemed to recognize that the blood in the water was always his own.

His bosses and supporters never seemed to recognize that, no matter how many lawyers you hire, neither the laws of physics nor the laws of scandal are magically suspended at the Chapel Hill city limits.

The laws of scandal, always the same whether involving sports figures, politicians or celebrities, run something like this: As long as blood is in the water, sharks will keep circling; the only way to stop the sharks is to stop the bleeding, or get out of the water.

Davis couldn't or wouldn't stop the bleeding because he never provided a full accounting of what he knew about the improprieties surrounding his football program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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“Teaching to the test” has been a perennial shortcoming of the public school system. However, in recent years, it has mutated into a viral form of “teaching to the standardized test.” While standardized tests can be an indicator of general proficiency, the only thing they measure directly is the ability to take a particular test.

My son Nick’s initial Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) score jeopardized his chances to gain admission to Georgia Tech, even though he had straight A’s in high school. With a little study he was able to boost his score by over 200 points on his second SAT. That was good news, but it certainly cast doubt on the validity of a testing system that supposedly accurately measures a student’s readiness to attend college. The fact that knowing or learning “how to take a test” can significantly alter the results makes that test suspect. Of course, the testing companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars annually will tell you otherwise. Despite what his first SAT score indicated, Nick would go on to earn a masters degree in civil engineering at Tech, finishing near the top of his class.

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published: 10/18/2013
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