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Reporter Karl Fleming had many ties to NC

Karl Fleming, a great and brave reporter during the civil rights movement in the 1960s who died recently at age 84, had many ties to North Carolina.

Fleming was born in 1927 in Virginia but lived in an orphanage in Raleigh from ages 8 to 17, according to a fine obitary by the Los Angeles Times' Elaine Woo. He joined the Navy just as World War II was ending, then attended Appalachian State University for two years. He worked at newspapers in Wilson, Durham and Asheville, and eventually became Newsweek's Atlanta correspondent in 1961.

Fleming covered all the biggest civil rights stories in the South in the 1960s, often under difficult conditions. He reported on the Birmingham church bombing in 1963; the assassination of the NAACP's Medgar Evers in Jackon, Miss., in 1963; and the disappearance in Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964 of three civil rights workers. "Karl was one of these reporters who would go anywhere, any time, no matter what the danger, if the story was good enough," said Gene Roberts, a North Carolinian and former editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Fleming and Claude Sitton of The New York Times, who later became editor of The News & Observer, did brilliant work from the South in the 1960s and sometimes joined forces. Elaine Woo wrote: "Since one wrote for a daily paper and the other for a weekly newsmagazine, they did not consider themselves competitors and found it useful and safer to work together. They developed some methods to protect themselves, including obscuring their stock-in-trade — their reporter's notebooks — by cutting them down to fit in their pockets.

"That trick did not help in Philadelphia, Miss., where they were the first reporters on the scene of the three civil rights workers' disappearance. The sheriff told Fleming he was a traitor to 'our precious Southern way of life' and ordered him and Sitton to leave town. A pack of white toughs pursued them, and back at their motel men with shotguns invited them to 'take a ride with us out in the country.' Fleming and Sitton quickly packed their bags but returned later to continue reporting the story."

--John Drescher


Triangle schools fare better on Newsweek's list of nation's best public high schools

Different methodologies are yielding different results on competing lists of the nation's top public high schools.

Four schools in the Triangle made the top 100 of Newsweek magazine’s “America’s Best High Schools 2012” list that was released this week. A total of 11 Triangle schools made the top 1,000 school list.

In contrast, only three schools in the entire state were in the top 1,000 in the U.S. News & World Report list released this month. Broughton High School in Raleigh was the only Triangle school in the top 1,000 on that list at 966.

New rankings of nation's top public high schools show surprising results

How much stock should people place on the new list of the nation's best public high schools that was released this week by U.S. News & World Report.

As noted in today's article, the rankings saw some schools that do well on other lists such as Raleigh Charter High, Enloe High and East Chapel Hill High not getting ranked. Less academically heralded schools such as Garner High and Southern Wake Academy were honored on this new list.

The difference from the lists done by Newsweek and The Washington Post seems to be that U.S. News requires schools to do well with their low-income and minority students.

Terry Stoops says Wake school board elections don't have much national significance

Terry Stoops is downplaying the notion that today's Wake County school board elections, or the district itself, should have national significance.

In his weekly Education Update today, Stoops of the conservative John Locke Foundation, disputes the idea that Wake was the "national model of educational excellence" touted by supporters of the old diversity policy. He points to the small number of Wake schools that have won U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools awards or been ranked among the list of top high schools by Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report.

Stoops, the director of Locke's education studies, agrees that on the issue of whether Wake County residents should be pleased about the quality of the public schools "for the most part, the answer is yes." But he contends the rest of the country feels the same attachment to their local school district.

"So, does the Wake County school board election matter?" Stoops writes. "Yes it does. It matters to those of us who pay Wake County taxes, send our children to Wake County public schools, or have a spouse or relative who works in a Wake County public school. (The Stoops family hit the trifecta, baby.) Does the election matter to residents of Alamance County or, for that matter, Alameda County? I doubt it."

Koch brothers call allegations of Wake school board involvement "falsehoods"

The Koch brothers are responding directly to the charges they were involved in the 2009 Wake County school board elections, saying the accusations are "false," "ugly and baseless."

In this post today on, the Koch brothers say no money was donated in 2009 to Wake school board candidate by family members or the company's political action committee.

"The Wake County School Board claim is not a new one and has been debunked, most notably by Newsweek earlier this year and in the Washington Post," according to "'Partisan “progressive' activists recently have resurrected the tale and further embellished the ugly and baseless racial charge. This unfortunate but increasingly common political tactic is apparently intended to stigmatize opponents even if the underlying accusation is completely false."

MSNBC trying to link Koch brothers to school board elections through AFP support to Wake CARES

Do 2007 donations from the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity to Wake CARES during the mandatory year-round lawsuit constitute grounds for linking the conservative Koch brothers to the 2009 Wake County school board elections?

That's how the left-wing cable news network MSNBC is trying to tie the Koch brothers to the new school board majority that ended the diversity policy. It was part of a segment on Wake County schools titled "Repealing the 20th Century" that aired Thursday night on MSNBC's "The Last Word" show.

"Now there are multiple reports directly or indirectly linking the Koch brothers — those mysterious right-wing billionaires behind the Astroturf-group Americans for Prosperity — to the Republican school board members who are actively pushing to resegregate Wake County schools," said Melissa Harris-Perry, the show's guest host. "To be fair, it's not entirely clear just how much money the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity put behind the candidates in 2009."

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1313778057 MSNBC trying to link Koch brothers to school board elections through AFP support to Wake CARES The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Huffington Post issues correction on Wake County school board election story

Americans for Prosperity is seeing some partial success in its efforts to get retractions of claims that the group financially backed the winning Wake County school board candidates in 2009.

The Huffington Post posted a correction today to the statement it made in an online Monday article about the school board candidates having been "bankrolled" by AFP. To try to beef up the story, it posts additional info today on AFP, such as the group's support of the Wake CARES lawsuit and a story earlier this year in Newsweek.

But Robert Greenwald, the director of the new film that came out Monday, isn't issuing a retraction. Neither is Sue Sturgis of the liberal Institute for Southern Studies.


Sue Sturgis has added a clarification to a blog post she wrote Monday about the video.

Impact of Newsweek's revised high school ranking formula

Newsweek's revamped list of "America's Best Schools" could shake up some conceptions about which where high schools rank in the Triangle.

Newsweek used a new formula this year that considered factors such as  graduation and college-going rates, as well as SAT, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exam scores. Previously, Newsweek looked at AP and IB exams taken by students.

The new methodology led to some major changes compared to rankings in prior years.

Newsweek finds "weak" connection between Tea Party and Wake County school board

Newsweek is questioning the strength of the ties that The Washington Post pointed to between the Wake County school board and the Tea Party.

In a blog post Friday, Ben Adler, national editor of, says the connection that the Post pointed to in its front-page article on Jan. 12 were "tenuous" and "weak." Liberals have picked up on the Post article to accuse the Tea Party movement of trying to resegregate the Wake school system.

"But was the school board really 'backed by the national Tea Party'?," Adler writes. "No, the national Tea Party movement doesn’t normally get involved in races for school board."

Newsweek lauds Triangle as 'new Silicon Valley'

The Raleigh-Durham region gets lauded as one of the country's "New Silicon Valleys" in a Newsweek roundup of the "10 American cities best situated for the recovery."

The Triangle and other regions, including Salt Lake City and northern Virginia, "offer high-paying high-tec jobs and housing prices well below those in coastal California."

As with other "best-of" lists, it's not just bragging rights for this region. Economic developers and recruiters say that making such lists bolster the Triangle's reputation and help attract new residents and businesses.

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