State Challenges Education Ruling
Special Report - January 14, 2003
The North Carolina Attorney Generals office has filed a brief in the N.C. Court of Appeals challenging a judges ruling that the state has not met its obligation to offer students a sound basic education as required by the state constitution. The challenge comes after State Superior Court Judge Howard Manning handed down a series of rulings that blamed the state, not local, officials for the shortcomings in education. In the "Leandro" case, Judge Manning held that the state must improve the way disadvantaged students are educated and must provide pre-kindergarten education to all "at-risk" four-year-olds in the state. These rulings came in the wake of a 1997 North Carolina Supreme Court decision, which held that the state constitution requires that every child must have the opportunity to receive a "sound basic education." State attorneys are taking issue with Judge Howard Mannings conclusion that student performance on state achievement tests is evidence that the state is failing students. They claim that the states ABCs accountability system indicates that students are improving and that other indicators such as students grades should have been taken into consideration. The brief also challenges Judge Mannings order requiring pre-kindergarten for at-risk four-year olds and his conclusion that state education officials should be the ones to find solutions to students shortcomings, instead of local school districts. The state hopes that the appeal, filed on Monday January 13, will bring resolution to a nine-year court case and will clarify exactly what the states responsibility is concerning student achievement.
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