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Quick to leave DPI

Angela Quick is leaving her job as deputy chief academic officer at the state Department of Public Instruction to become a vice president at N.C. New Schools.

Quick has been with DPI since 2008 and as spent untold hours talking about school accountability, testing and curriculum development at State Board of Education meetings.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said Quick "has been extraordinary in her service" and is "respected among her colleagues throughout North Carolina."

Quick attended her last board meeting Thursday, leaving a void in future agendas for explanations of Bloom's Taxonomy, Moodle, and computer adaptive testing.

Changes in classroom lessons and state tests featured on UNC-TV

State Superintendent June Atkinson and two state Department of Public Instruction administrators will be on UNC-TV this week explaining changes in public education and how parents can help students.

The network will air "North Carolina Schools and You: What Changes in Our Schools Mean for Parents and Students" at 10 p.m. on Thursday.

It will repeat Friday, Sept. 27, at 4:30 p.m.

Atkinson, chief academic officer Rebecca Garland, and Garland deputy Angela Quick will talk about the new state curriculum, the Common Core standards, and new state tests.

Morning Memo: Amid controversy, political hire further fans DHHS flames

ANOTHER POLITICAL HIRE IN AGENCY UNDER FIRE: Former McCrory campaign filmmaker will work on DHHS 'brand' A lobbyist and filmmaker who made an election-night video for Gov. Pat McCrory is the new brand and marketing manager at the state Department of Health and Human Services. Aaron Mullins, 38, started the job Sept. 4. He makes $68,000 a year.

Mullins is one of several new staff members at state agencies with political connections. Ricky Diaz, who worked on McCrory’s campaign, is a spokesman at DHHS making $85,000. Heather Jeffreys, finance director for McCrory’s campaign, has a communications job at the N.C. Department of Transportation making $58,879. Read more here.

***Get a statewide political news roundup below in the Dome Morning Memo -- and look for more polling numbers on the govenror later today.***

Forest unhappy with DPI's response to his 40-page letter about Common Core

File this under: Ask and ye shall receive.

Back in July, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest sent a letter to the Department of Public Instruction with 67 questions about the Common Core State Standards, the new learning goals adopted in North Carolina and most other states. Forest has been a critic of the Common Core, which has become a favorite target of the Tea Party and conservative talk show hosts.

Forest asked State Superintendent June Atkinson for the answers by the start of this school year.

His letter was not 67 simple questions, however. Including appendices, the letter ran on for 40 pages and the questions had more than 150 sub questions and requests for documentation.

Earlier this month, he got answers. He described the DPI response Thursday in a news release and YouTube video: 12 boxes with 40,000 pieces of paper with references to 134 websites, 320 separate reports, 40 presentations, a blog post and a thumb drive. Apparently he didn't want to read it all.

Morning Memo: National Republicans launch billboards targeting Hagan

REPUBLICANS LAUNCH BILLBOARDS HITTING KAY HAGAN: The National Republican Senatorial Committee is debuting seven billboards across the state targeting U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's support for the federal health care law. Republicans are trying to make the case that Hagan, a Democrat facing re-election in 2014, accomplished nothing besides supporting Obamacare in the first five years of her term. (See a copy of the billboard here.)

"Kay Hagan promised North Carolinians that she would govern as a centrist, but instead has been a Democratic partisan, supporting the President's signature initiatives lock, stock and barrel," said Brook Hougesen, a NRSC spokeswoman.

The effort is designed to put the one-term incumbent -- who polls show is vulnerable -- on the defensive while the GOP struggles to find a dominant candidate. House Speaker Thom Tillis is the most prominent name in the race but other major Republicans are still considering whether to run. Cary physician Greg Brannon, a tea party candidate, is also making a bid. The billboards are located in Greensboro, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and the Raleigh-Durham area.

***More North Carolina political news -- including U.S. Senate campaign updates -- below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: New poll gives Hagan the edge; Hillary Clinton bashes NC voter law

U.S. SENATE POLL: Politico is offering a sneak peek at the latest U.S. Senate poll numbers in North Carolina this morning. Public Policy Polling shows Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan with an eight-point edge in hypothetical matchups against Republicans Thom Tillis and Phil Berger. Both legislative leaders, along with other possible candidates, have negative approval ratings with many voters still not sure what to think. The margin of error is 4 percentage points. Look for more numbers from PPP when the poll is released later today.

VOTER ID, ELECTIONS BILL SIGNED: The implications of Gov. Pat McCrory's signature on the elections bill that requires a voter ID at the polls is far-reaching -- and so is the coverage. Get a round up below -- including Hillary Clinton's comments on the bill, a new PPP poll showing it unfavorable and more. Also, a story from Boone shows Republicans taking over local elections boards will likewise mean major changes.

***The Dome Morning Memo continues below. Thanks for reading.***

Morning Memo: Tillis dodges shutdown questions; McHenry pressed on Obamacare

TILLIS DODGES GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN QUESTION: Republican Thom Tillis is emphasizing his opposition to the federal health care law in his campaign for the U.S. Senate but at the same time he's avoiding answering some questions on the issue. A Democratic Party operative recently asked the Republican House speaker about whether he agrees with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others who suggested shutting down government to defund the federal health care law.

While walking to a recent D.C. fundraiser, Tillis didn't offer a direct answer -- even though if elected he may face similar circumstance. "It's not my decision to make but anything we could do to slow down or eliminate Obamacare would be good for the nation," he said in a video posted online. (Watch above.)

Does Tillis agree with North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr that a shutdown is the "dumbest idea" ever? Again no answer. "I'm going to leave that to the duly elected senators but i think we can do to stop Sen. Hagan and President Obama from creating all the uncertainty and cost that comes with Obamacare it would be a good thing," he said. Expect both questions to return soon.

***See the Tillis video below in the Dome Morning Memo, along with another video from Republicans punking people at the "Moral Monday" rally.

Morning Memo: GOP moves to limit early voting as budget debate begins

REPUBLICANS MOVE TO CURTAIL EARLY VOTING: Republicans are moving in the final days of the legislative session to cut early voting by a week, limit Sunday voting and curtail some voter registration efforts in a sweeping bill that is expected to debut Tuesday. The measure also may advance the state's presidential primary to a week after South Carolina's first-in-the-South contest. The last-minute election measures will appear in a Senate bill requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. (Check Dome for more on the bill later today.)

EDUCATION FOCUS OF BUDGET DEBATE: The N.C. Association of Educators is threatening to sue over the tenure provisions in the state budget. State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said for the first time in her 30-year career, she fears for the future of public education. “I am truly worried about the ongoing starvation of our public schools,” she said. “I see other states making a commitment to public education. In our state I see in this budget we’re cutting teachers, we’re cutting teacher assistants, we’re cutting instructional support.”

With education as the focus, the House and Senate will take budget votes Tuesday and Wednesday as they race toward the end of session.

***More on the state budget and other North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Forest's Common Core questions

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest continues to question the national Common Core education standards that state public schools implemented last year.

The State Board of Education has spent part of its last two meetings talking and asking questions about the standards.

Forest on Thursday released 20 pages of questions he wants answered before the board's August meeting, and an accompanying video.

The questions were in a letter to state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.

" I am concenred that North Carolina has not done the proper due diligence in vetting everything associated with the Common Core standards and what it will mean for our children, our parents and our schools," Forest said in the video.

Morning Memo: From voting rights to marriage, N.C. eyes turn to SCOTUS

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The legislative pot is beginning to boil. A busy week with a lot of moving parts continues Wednesday. A House panel will consider a bill to allow nonprofits to have casino gambling events for fundraisers while a Senate committee considers changes to the state health plan that are being closely watched by the State Employees Association. Another House committee will debate a bill -- S638 -- that the Sierra Club warns would “declassify almost half North Carolina's wetlands overnight.”

Democratic lawmakers will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. to highlight the end of federal extended unemployment benefits July 1, a move prompted by a Republican-crafted bill to curtail benefits and lower the state's debt for paid claims. The N.C. NAACP will also press Gov. Pat McCrory's office this afternoon on a variety of issues as part of its continued effort to blunt the GOP legislative agenda.

The Senate calendar is full later in the day and the House will consider a massive overhaul of the state’s commerce agency with a bill that would privatize some job recruiting efforts and debate a bill about abortion education. Gov. Pat McCrory will hold an event this morning to sign the transportation funding bill, one of his early policy victories.

SCOTUS RULING PUSHES VOTER ID FORWARD: The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act could have far-reaching effects in North Carolina – affecting everything from voting districts to voter ID legislation. The court effectively struck down a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Though it left intact Section 5, which gives the Justice Department special oversight over voting laws in some states, it nullified the formula on which that oversight is based. The ruling’s most immediate impact could be felt in the expected passage of a new voter ID requirement in North Carolina. “(It) should speed things along greatly,” Sen. Tom Apodaca said.

***More on the voter ID measure in a lengthy rundown of the action at the #NCGA below in the Dome Morning Memo. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com.***

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