Judge Howard Manning conducted a three-day hearing recently to hear testimony from the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction in the Leandro lawsuit, a 20-year-old case challenging whether the public schoolchildren of this state are being provided the opportunity for a sound basic education. The intent of the hearing was to allow the presentation of a plan that the court had ordered the state board to develop to address the education needs of all children in the public schools.
As deputy state superintendent, I was responsible for testifying on behalf of the board and DPI. The plan as adopted by the board was divided into three levels: The services and resources currently in place to address the needs of students that are sufficient to meet the legal requirement set forth in the Leandro decisions issued by the N.C. Supreme Court in 1997 and 2004, the services and resources the board believes will enhance those set forth in Level 1 but help ensure even more students obtain a sound basic education and the services and resources moving forward that would require interagency cooperation but that would even further assist in all students actually obtaining a sound basic education.
On day one, I was asked whether there are enough resources in place to meet the most basic Leandro standard. I responded that resources do exist for that basic standard. The N&O reported my response was “the state doesn’t need more ‘resources’ for educational improvements.” I spoke to the reporter and expressed my dismay that the clear difference between meeting the constitutional standard and the board’s strategic expansion requests was not stated in the article (“Experts diverge on schools,” July 22).
I am extremely disappointed from two perspectives. As the deputy state superintendent, I am disappointed The N&O was more interested in providing a sensational soundbite than in full coverage of the proceedings. From the perspective of a lifelong N&O subscriber, I am even more disappointed. I subscribe because I want to know the full story, more than the one-minute soundbite provided by other media.
In the Twitter world, #NCed tweeted out a steady stream of the resources the board has identified as important for student success. I am disappointed that our capital city newspaper did less.
Deputy state superintendent, N.C. Department of Public Instruction
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response.