Dome: Push is on for NC to go digital with textbooks

Staff writersDecember 10, 2012 

Is it time for North Carolina to throw its weight behind e-books and to transition away from hardbound textbooks?

The digital learning committee thinks so, according to The Progressive Pulse, and the committee has recommended that the General Assembly “transition funding for textbooks to funding for digital textbooks and instructional resources” in a draft that will be made public later this week.

The blog points out that predictable pushback is likely when the recommendations are presented: “While 81 percent of the state’s households have a computer and 80 percent have access to the Internet, there is a large discrepancy between the haves and have-nots.”

Mooresville Graded School District went completely digital a few years ago for grades three through 12. Four high schools and six school systems have also tested the waters.

Christmas fundraiser

Congressman-elect George Holding held a Christmas Party on Friday where guests brought some rather expensive gifts.

The “Christmas Victory Celebration,” held at the Carolina Country Club asked for donations of $100, $250, $500, $500, $1,000 or $2,500.

The proceeds from the fundraiser were to be used to retire the debt from Holding’s campaign.

Holding, a former U.S. Attorney and a Republican, raised and spent $1.6 million in winning the 13th congressional district seat in November. He had a campaign debt of $364,754, according to Opensecrets, the website that monitors campaign spending. Holding put $326,265 of his own money into the race, according to the website.

Lame ducks skip votes

Congressman Heath Shuler is one of the lame ducks who has been missing a lot of votes since the November elections, according to online newsletter Politico.

Shuler, a Democrat from Waynesville, who has announced he will become a lobbyist for Duke Energy, has missed half of the 16 House votes taken, according to Politico.

Rep. Mike Pence, who was elected governor of Indiana, has missed all the votes. Rep. Ed Towns of New York has missed all but one of his 16 votes. Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, who lost his Senate race, has missed nine votes, as has his wife, Rep. Mary Bono Mack of California, who lost her House seat.

Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, who lost his Senate race, has missed 12 or 16 votes.

Spirit of Inquiry Award

The John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy awarded its Spirit of Inquiry Award to Jonathon Anomaly, a visiting professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. The award honors college instructors for teaching courses that “expand students’ ability to think and express their ideas within the context of an academic discipline.”

Anomaly was recognized for his course on philosophy, politics and economics, taught at both schools, and for a political science course taught at Duke.

Richard T. Bowser of Campbell Law School received second place, while Anthony Solari of N.C. State University won third.

There were 109 nominations from six universities and two community colleges. Eight finalists were chosen, and a panel selected the winners.

Countdown to McCrory

Chris Fitzsimon, the liberal N.C. Policy Watch blogger, provides this countdown to Republican Gov-elect Pat McCrory’s taking office:

• 33 – number of days until Gov-elect Pat McCrory makes his inaugural address and Raleigh hosts inaugural parade.

20 – number of inaugural balls for state’s governors that have been hosted by the Junior League of Raleigh in the last 80 years to support the group’s charitable work.

• 14 – number of days after election that McCrory announced he would also attend an inaugural celebration to benefit The Foundation for North Carolina, a political advocacy group organized to promote McCrory’s agenda.

Staff writers Rob Christensen and Austin Baird

Send tips to dome@newsobserver.com.

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