Web Resources for your beat:
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT: At the THOMAS website you can research legislation, hearings, and general legislative workings. FirstGov is the U.S. government's official web portal.
The General Accounting Office serves as a watchdog of state and federal activities.
At the North Carolina General Assembly web site you can search statutes, pending bills, legislators, etc.
EDUCATION: The U.S. Department of Education site has wonderful links. National Center for Education Statistics has great research stats.