The public report from WestEd on the Leandro court case is approaching a two year anniversary and since that time the North Carolina General Assembly has not even passed a new state budget.
This month two specific things occurred.
First is a ruling by the courts.
A state judge is warning that he may force lawmakers to act if they don’t begin funding a multi-billion dollar plan to provide every North Carolina student with a sound basic education.
This week, state Superior Court Judge David Lee signed a court order approving a plan from the State Board of Education and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration that calls for at least $5.6 billion in new education funding through 2028. Lee said in the order that “time is of the essence” because so many children aren’t getting what they need educationally.
Second is that the state not only has a significant amount of money in savings, but it will have a surplus again this year.
So why does the NCGA not take that surplus and begin investing in public schools as is stipulated by the Leandro court order?
Simple. This NCGA does not want to have a well-educated general public – one that would not allow current lawmakers to be in a position of power to continue to promote an agenda that absolutely favors a few over those they should be helping. And their actions over these last nine-plus years have been a recipe in ensuring their policies remain intact.
Many of those have been very apparent. There is the current debacle of gerrymandered legislative districts. Even the redrawn maps have shown a more-than-obsessive addiction to hold on to majorities in Raleigh.Many of those have been very apparent. There is the current debacle of gerrymandered legislative districts. Even the redrawn maps have shown a more-than-obsessive addiction to hold on to majorities in Raleigh.
There was a voter-ID law that was struck down in the judicial system. A determined effort to water down minority voices might have been one of the most open secrets in this state. And now the last voter ID law recently passed still cannot decide what ID’s it will accept.
But those unconstitutional actions coincided with other egregious acts that have weakened public education to a breaking point – one that makes every election cycle so very important. Those actions have been assaults on public schools coated with a layer of propaganda that keeps telling North Carolinians that we need to keep reforming public education.
What once was considered one of the most progressive public school systems in the South and the nation all of a sudden needed to be reformed? What necessitated that? Who made that decision? Look to the lawmakers who saw public education and the allotted budgeting for public education dictated by the state constitution as an untapped reservoir of money to funnel to private entities.
The public started to see test scores that appeared to be less than desirable even though what and who was being tested and the format of the testing was in constant flux.
The public started to see “school performance grades” that did nothing more than track how poverty affected student achievement. The “schools were failing” to actually help cover up what lawmakers were refusing to do to help people before they even had a chance to succeed in the classroom.
The teaching profession was beginning to be shaped by a business model that does not discern a public service from a profit minded investment scheme which changed a profession of professionals into one that favors short term contractors.
But there are two large indicators that voters in North Carolina should really pay attention to when it comes to the NCGA’s relentless pursuit to quell their fears of a well-educated general public – money spent per pupil when adjusted for inflation and the costs associated with attending state supported universities. That does not mean just tuition costs, but all of the other costs.
When the per pupil expenditure (adjusted for inflation) stays stagnant and costs to attend public colleges keep rising while the state is experiencing a financial boom, then you have to ask a question about priorities.
The NCGA has made it a priority to not prioritize public education.