Leandro mandate

Leandro mandate

Top Story Weekly Briefing

Judges not legislators: State Supreme Court’s legitimacy depends on continued respect for precedent

Maybe the change was an inevitable byproduct of our current charged and contentious era. Maybe it was naïve to ever think that things were dramatically different in the past. Whichever the case, one thing for sure in 2022 is that public perceptions of the American judiciary as a neutral dispenser of blind justice ain’t what they used to be. And indeed, those altered perceptions may reflect a new, sobering, and thoroughly politicized reality.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Could election results spur an immediate reversal of a landmark state Supreme Court ruling?

The North Carolina Supreme Court – or at least a slim majority of its members – invoked its solemn duty to uphold constitutional rights when it agreed in a Nov. 4 ruling that the state must spend more money to upgrade its system of public education. The General Assembly – or at least the Republicans who run things in the legislative branch’s mid-century modern temple in Raleigh – now is gearing up to invoke its solemn power to convince the court to buzz off.

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Original Commentary Top Story Weekly Briefing

The last best hope for North Carolina’s public schools

There is a bit of mythology that sometimes creeps into the way longtime supporters of North Carolina’s public education system describe the halcyon days of the late 20th Century under the leadership of former Gov. Jim Hunt and Democratic legislators like former House Speaker Dan Blue and former Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

North Carolina’s new budget should be much better

North Carolina has a new budget for the state fiscal year that began July 1. At the very end of the 10-day period allotted to him by the state constitution, Gov. Roy Cooper affixed his signature to a 193-page bill drafted mostly behind closed doors by Republican legislative leaders that amends the two-year budget enacted last year. Cooper’s decision to sign the measure was, one supposes, an act he viewed as an exercise in political pragmatism.

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Original Commentary Top Story Weekly Briefing

Yes, let’s do talk about ‘rights’ in public education

American politicians have a fondness for bestowing grandiloquent titles on the legislation they sponsor. It’s not enough to describe merely and accurately what a bill does; there needs to be a catchy acronym or inspiring and propagandizing headline built in that will make the bill harder to vote against. Remember the U.S.A. Patriot Act (which stood for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism”)?

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A look at some highlights from Gov. Cooper’s latest budget proposal

After five plus years in office, it’s obvious why North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper remains one of the nation’s more popular chief executives: the man keeps trying to make government work. In a time in which so many politicians prioritize division and controversy – think of Florida’s Ron DeSantis and his absurd and destructive culture wars – Cooper keeps trying to build bridges and find common ground.

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at pre-K access in North Carolina and around the country

When state lawmakers return to Raleigh later this month for the 2022 short session, look for renewed debate regarding the state's ongoing failure to comply with court orders in the landmark Leandro lawsuit that directed it to better fund North Carolina's public education system. One important aspect of those orders involves the state's commitment to providing quality early childhood education...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The last best chance for North Carolina’s public schools

A few years ago, I reserved a room at the North Carolina Association of Educators Building in Raleigh for a large public luncheon. When our team arrived a half hour before the event to get set up, however, we encountered a troubling surprise. To our alarm, we discovered that there had been a scheduling mix-up and the large room in question was occupied by a sizable assemblage of teachers who were in town for some kind of training session. Tables, chairs, and materials were scattered across the room. What to do?

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Education Top Story

Present day controversies are front and center at legislative hearing on the future of public education

Committee chair challenges the relevance of state's landmark Leandro school funding case The state’s decades-old school funding case, Leandro, could become “moot," depending on decisions by a House select committee charged with “reinventing” North Carolina’s public education system, State Rep. John Torbett, a Gaston County Republican and chairman of the committee, told Policy Watch on Monday.

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Education News Top Story

High stakes at the state’s highest court over school spending mandates

The colossal dispute over the proper financing of North Carolina’s public schools that has played out over 28 years is heading to a showdown before the state Supreme Court. Yes, again. Sometime after April 18, the high court will decide whether the General Assembly is fulfilling its duty to ensure that the state’s public school students – and especially those in counties where poverty is endemic – have a fair chance to get an education good enough to meet the state constitution’s guarantees.

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Original Commentary Top Story Weekly Briefing

Masking the truth: If only Republican lawmakers really cared about our children as much as they claim to

To listen to North Carolina Republican lawmakers last week as they advanced a bill to end school mask requirements, it was hard not to be struck and even impressed by the passion that some of them displayed in expressing their love and concern for the state’s children. Multiple lawmakers talked of the terrible impact that the pandemic has had on children and the desperate need...

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Leandro plan provides a golden opportunity for progress and common ground on school choice

In January, Governor Roy Cooper surprised many by issuing an official proclamation recognizing School Choice Week. The proclamation had long been a priority of school choice advocates in North Carolina such as the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools, which viewed the gesture as “an olive branch.”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

State judiciary must protect NC from its power-hungry legislature

Among all the issues and challenges confronting North Carolina as 2022 gets under way – overcoming the pandemic, easing rural poverty, alleviating environmental threats, improving access to health care, on and on down the sobering list – it’s fair to say none is more urgent than shoring up our beleaguered public schools and strengthening citizens’ ability to participate meaningfully in our democracy.

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Education Top Story

Year in review: Critical Race Theory, mask mandates and Leandro funding made for a tumultuous 2021 in education

Critical Race Theory and face mask mandates dominated the state’s education headlines in 2021, even as students and teachers struggled to recover from a year of remote learning that saw standardized test scores fall to new lows.  Racial and economic inequities in education, exposed by the pandemic, were quickly shoved to the background by a loud minority of irate parents who complained...

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Other Voices Top Story

In the face of sustained legislative neglect, it’s up to the courts to rescue North Carolina’s public schools

In the rough and tumble realm of politics, it can be a hard call as to whether someone is standing firm on worthwhile principle or simply obstructing out of plain old bullheadedness – perhaps because it plays well among some voters. So let’s consider the example of North Carolina’s legislative leadership and its prickly response to a judge’s order in the epic Leandro school funding case.

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