Section I, Article 15, of the North Carolina Constitution declares “The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the state to guard and maintain that right.” It is a measure by which lawmakers have for years fallen short, leaving children to fall further behind when compared both nationally and regionally.
This year’s General Assembly threatens to make that bad situation worse with a number of ill-advised initiatives that will divert money away from public schools, robbing local districts of preciously needed funds. The recruitment and retention of talented teachers, the reduction of class sizes and early education programs for low-income children all depend on state funding and a failure to support those efforts does not fullfill the state’s duty under the Constitution.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that North Carolina public schools require their concerted attention. According to the Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina public schools have raised the high school graduation rate and lowered the dropout rate to historic levels, but other numbers are not as rosy.
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