Editorial calls out state superintendent for uninspired and inadequate education plan

Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt

Be sure to check out this morning’s lead Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com — “Truitt’s schools plan must embrace Leandro remedial order not dodge it” — and its powerful critique of state schools Superintendent Catherine Truitt’s new “Operation Polaris” plan for the state’s K-12 education system.

Truitt’s plan purports to chart a course for recovering from the pandemic and moving the state’s public education system boldly into the future, but as the editorial rightfully observes, it’s mostly a “glossy” “pablum of proposals” and a “gussied-up defense of the status quo” that ignores the elephant in the room: the Leandro court mandate that requires the state to meet its obligation to provide students with access to a sound basic education. This is from the editorial:

Its vision is severely limited and fails to take in the brightest guides so clearly present. There is mere passing reference to the landmark 1997 state Supreme Court decision that declared the state’s Constitution demands a “quality education for every child;” as well as the 2004 high court decision that declared the state had failed to provide adequate resources for “the opportunity for a sound basic education.” That 2004 decision also directed the assignment of a special superior court judge to monitor compliance.

Similarly there’s an isolated mention of “Wested” without any detailed reference to implementation of the consensus court-ordered plan, a comprehensive multi-year program to deliver on the state’s pledge.

Truitt’s vision doesn’t see Leandro. It doesn’t encompass the carefully crafted program top educators and advocates worked to develop. It ignores the quarter of a century that the state has failed to deliver its promise to our children, despite the findings and court orders.

As the editorial notes, Truitt needs to decide if she’s really going to champion change and reform or merely serve as a flack for the legislature’s do-nothing conservative majority. Here’s the conclusion:

Truitt needs to choose.

Is she going to stand with the partisan politicians who neglect public schools and those who work for them?
OR
Is she going to take a strong and courageous stand in support of implementing the 7-year remedial plan that the court has adopted?

That is that plan that should be the map, the guiding light, of any program “navigating students toward a brighter future.”

If Truitt wants to demonstrate her first priority is the children and those who help them learn in public school classrooms, she will:

  • State unequivocally she backs the program Judge Lee has ordered.
  • Call on the General Assembly and the governor to fund it.
  • Revise her “Operation Polaris” plan into her program for implementation and going beyond.

That would be a real blast off for North Carolina education.

Click here to tread the entire editorial.

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