Poor schools say NC abandons education commitment

May. 09, 2014 @ 12:05 PM

Attorneys for some low-income school districts in North Carolina say the state has abandoned its commitment to provide all children with a good education.

The lawyers want a hearing in August and a detailed plan from the state on how it will comply with the basic education requirements outlined in two Supreme Court decisions on the long-running case, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

Lawyers for the five schools that sued over funding blame years of budget cuts and abandoned programs for low test scores.

A spokeswoman for Senate leader Phil Berger says four of the five school districts in the case receive more than the statewide average in funding. Amy Auth says if money was the only factor, the students would have higher scores.

The judge overseeing the case issued a 38-page report this week on "the reading problem" in North Carolina, saying "way too many thousands of school children" have not received an adequate education.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard E. Manning Jr. has monitored schools' progress for more than a decade. Manning said he is awaiting the results of this year's end-of-grade and end-of-course tests, along with the latest ACT scores of state students before making an assessment.

Manning also wrote a warning in his report.

"Notwithstanding the results of these assessments, the State of North Carolina cannot 'cut and run' from the results by reducing standards and deleting the assessments because they do not bring good news."

The reports contain poor test results before and after the state started using tougher standards known as Common Core. A legislative committee recently recommended replacing those standards. The legislature also has dropped eight of 11 high school end-of-course tests since 2000, though the state did increase testing for reading in the third grade.