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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.

Morning Memo: GOP faces messy veto politics, with Tillis in spotlight

UPDATED: THE POLITICS OF THE VETO: In pushing to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s of an immigration bill in coming days, Republicans find themselves in the middle of a political mess. The bill won near unanimous approval in the state Senate (43-1) but a solid block of conservative House Republicans voted against it (85-28). Now that McCrory has framed the bill as an anti-immigration conservative test, will that change? A leading Republican -- who voted no -- says the vote isn’t likely to change. And another no vote, GOP Rep. Frank Iller, issued a statement Tuesday saying the bill "opens up too many loopholes in the eVerify system."

EYES ON TILLIS: But what will Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis do? Political analyst John Davis said the race is too "fragile" for Tillis to upset the conservatives in his party. "Tillis cannot make any mistakes especially with the right," David said. "By rushing back into the arena and trying to override McCrory’s veto on the immigration bill, he does risk alienating some members of the Republican Party who are very, very sensitive about this issue."

***More on the 2014 U.S. Senate race -- and the potential Republican field -- below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

It takes 10,000 pages to answer Forest's Common Core questions

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is challenging the state's adoption of the Common Core education standards by asking the state's education department to answer 20 pages of questions (67 questions in all).

The State Department of Public Instruction received his request and asked him to provide 10,000 pages of paper so they could answer them, according to a Facebook post from Forest. The Republican said his office delivered the paper Friday and posted a photo online.

"Upon receipt of their reply to my letter, my team will methodically research all the answers supplied so that we can push this dialogue at the upcoming Board of Education meetings," Forest wrote. "I will keep you updated on the progress of this effort."

Forest is a member of the State Board of Education. No word on how much time and money it will take DPI to answer his questions or how long Forest's state-paid staff will spend going through the answers.

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: McCrory promises big changes; Democrats hit Ellmers

GOV. MCCRORY PROMISES BIG CHANGES COMING: Days after releasing a modest state budget and weeks after a tepid State of the State address, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is promsing big things. "Now we're moving into policy," he told a Chamber crowd Wednesday. The News-Record hits the highlights of what we should expect: "McCrory said the state Department of Transportation will be “revamping” how it finances and distributes money. ... McCrory said he’ll have “major announcements on Medicaid reform” next week, and that his administration is “completely revamping” the state’s commerce department. ... He said his tax plan should be ready within weeks and reaffirmed a desire to cut income and corporate tax rates to the lower levels of neighboring states. ... He said major announcements are coming on the state’s job recruitment efforts at the N.C. Department of Commerce, which new director Sharon Decker said last week may privatize many of its functions."

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The Senate convenes at 11 a.m. to hear a Mecklenburg property tax measure. The House meets at noon to hear a bill to repeal taxpayer funded judicial elections and another bill that favors Blue Cross Blue Shield. At the Capitol, McCrory and Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan will announce at 10 a.m. the new Highway Patrol commander, Alcohol Law Enforcement director and State Capitol Police chief at a swearing-in ceremony.

Also on the political calendar: Mayors Against Illegal Guns is promoting a day of action to push its background-check legislation; a group of area university and college professors host a 5 p.m. forum at Duke University titled, "Save Our State: Scholars Speak Out on North Carolina's New Direction"; and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appears at Guilford College for a 7:30 p.m. event with former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, hosted by PBS's Gwen Ifill. This is likely Bush's his first visit to the state since the release of his book and open talk about running for president in 2016.

***Good morning! Happy "Friday" to state employees with tomorrow's holiday. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- the source for North Carolina political news. Send tips and news to More headlines below.***

Diploma bill headed to McCrory

A bill directing the state Department of Public Instruction to come up with a plan for attaching "endorsements" to high school diplomas passed the House by a vote of 110-1 and is on its way to Gov. Pat McCrory.

The bill "tries to get the ball rolling on vocational education," said Rep. Bryan Holloway, a King Republican.

Legislators want high school diplomas to indicate whether students are prepared for work, college, or both after graduation.

Increasing vocational education was one of McCrory's campaign issues.

Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat, objected to bringing the bill to a vote Wednesday evening, the same day it was debated in a House committee. But in the end, he sounded resigned.

"This is a feel-good bill," he said. "There's not much substance in it. There are still a lot of questions we could be debating on the floor."

Luebke voted for the bill. Rep. Carla Cunningham, a Democrat from Charlotte, voted against it.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes at DPI and state school board

Today might have been Bill Harrison's last day as chairman of the State Board of Education. The people who know for sure aren't saying.

Former Gov. Bev Perdue named Harrison to run the board in 2009, but his term expired last year. Senate Republican leaders declined last session to reappoint board members whose terms had expired or make new appointments so the new governor could put in people he wanted.

Ricky Diaz, Gov. Pat McCrory's spokesman, said a few days ago he did not know when the announcement of a new chairman was coming. Harrison said this week he hadn't heard from McCrory when he'd be replaced.

"Let's just say I'm packing,'" Harrison quipped.

Interest in starting charter schools jumps

The state Department of Public Instruction received 161 letters of intent from people and organizations who want to open new charter schools in 2014. The letter is an indication that the writer intends to submit a charter application by the March 1 deadline.

Charter applications have increased since the legislature ended the 100-charter limit two years ago.

This summer, the Public Charter Schools Advisory Council considered 63 applications for new charters to open this fall, and 25 were approved.

The State Board of Education earlier approved nine charters under a "fast track" process, and some of those opened last fall.

The advisory committee is scheduled to make its recommendations to the State Board of Education on the 2014 charters in June, with the board giving final approval in December or January 2014.

Morning Roundup: Distinct partisan choice in state superintendent's race

North Carolina voters will decide whether the state superintendent of public instruction for the next four years should be an educator.

Democratic incumbent June Atkinson, 64, argues that her education degrees, her career as a teacher and state school administrator, and her two terms as state schools superintendent make her the right choice for the job. But her Republican challenger, Wake County school board member John Tedesco, 37, argues that what’s needed is a superintendent who represents taxpayers and families, and not someone who’s worked in the “Raleigh education establishment since 1976.” Read a full profile of the race here.

More political headlines below.

Audit says DPI employee padded mileage

An employee at the state Department of Public Instruction collected $3,270 in undeserved  travel reimbursements over the 12 months ending June 2011, according to a state audit.

The state Auditor's office found the employee had overstated miles driven by 6,474.
DPI said in response that the employee will be disciplined and the department will get the money back. The employee works for the DPI division responsible for helping schools improve.

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