Local Politics

Easley: Judge's Criticism of Schools 'Too Harsh'

Posted September 19, 2007

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— Two days after a state judge blistered North Carolina schools, saying students weren't adequately prepared for high school, Gov. Mike Easley tried to soften the perception of the state's public education system.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning on Monday told a group of local educators, legislators and testing experts who comprise the state Board of Education's Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability that the system is failing.

"We are going backward," Manning said. "The adults are failing the children."

For the past decade, the judge has overseen the Leandro case, which sought to provide more state support for school districts in low-income and rural areas.

Easley, who has touted his education programs for years, said Wednesday that he sees value in Manning's push for educational accountability. But he said he doesn't think the judge is always fair when he hammers schools over test scores.

"There is a place for criticism from from to time, and I think it's appropriate that the judge let the State Board of Education know he's not satisfied," Easley said. "(But) I don't put a lot of stock in the test scores because I don't think you're not comparing apples and apples. They changed them up."

When standards were increased in civics and math tests, for example, high school failures tripled.

"I think the words the judge uses are too harsh from time to time," Easley said.

Eddie Davis, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said he agrees with Manning on several points, such as teachers offering excuses for poor results. But he said leaders need to consult classroom teachers for solutions.

"I think most people and most schools have not said, 'Let's sit down and talk to the teachers,'" Davis said.

"As long as you're making progress, that's great," Easley said. "However, as the judge points out, you cannot forget any child in North Carolina."


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  • NCMOMof3 Sep 21, 2007

    There are so many things wrong with our education system that there is no way to point at one thing and "fix" it. But, in my opinion, the biggest issues are teachers being forced to teach to the EOG, children being promoted so as not to damage their fragile self esteem, lack of parental involvement, lack of respect for authority on the part of children and parents, and the desperate need for not only more funds but equal funds for all schools. I know parents don't have much extra time but you have to make time for your kids. Become known at your child's school. Know your child's teachers. Be involved in anyway possible. PTA? In a school of over 800 students, we can't even find 5 parents to serve as executive officers and we're lucky to have 100 parents show up at school functions. Our children are our most important resource and, yes, WE are failing them

  • Travised Sep 20, 2007

    In a minor way it is the schools fault for allowing these students to progress to the following grade when some should be held back. Schools with a small amount of students pass them along for their athletic abilities not wanting to lack a good quarterback or center. They need to forget the sports and focus on the books.

    If the student has troubles with english skills then help the student. Even if this means holding them back a year or forcing them to take summer classes to keep up with their class and not be held back.

    Effort is what the students need to give to learn. You (as a student) can't just "slide by" and expect to learn by slumping over on the desk. You will end up flipping burgers or some job that most wouldn't care to have. What you put into your education is what you get out.

  • NZ Sep 20, 2007


    HAHA. I am passionate about what I feel. I also type very fast. If you can believe I haven't spent more than 5 minutes with any of these post combined.

    I got two spankings when I was in school. One was with merit when I was in Kindergarten, the other was meritless. I spanked my own daughter twice in her 11 years. I do my job, let the teachers and administrators do their job and stop trying to keep our failing schools from this status quo funk we are in now.

    Either you are part of the solution or you are part of the problem. LZ seems like you are part of the problem. Why don't you move to Europe. You can eat Wine and cheese all day long. I'll stay here eat my barbecue and raise our kids the right way. Thank you very much.

  • LZ Sep 20, 2007

    NZ, did they teach grammar and spelling at your school in between spankings? It looks like you weren't paying much attention.

  • rc4nc Sep 20, 2007

    "Talk to the teachers"? It's the students who's performance is in question. If you're aproaching this honestly, your primary focus would be on the students and their parents. The parents are the primary teachers of all children. Ask yourself what the public schools have done to get buyin/support from parents? Let's see, perhaps busing their children to the other side of the county? Being told "we're the education professionals, we know what's good for your children"? Perhaps switching to mandatory/coerced year-round calendars? Stop being clueless, and start focusing on the real problems with public education. As a parent, I was told to sit down and shut up long ago. I didn't take that advice, I taught my children what they needed to know. Yes, I sent them to public school, but the public school only did the testing. Seems they're still only testing, and failing at that.

  • ohmygosh Sep 20, 2007

    Indenpendent of teachers, parents or students there are also these problems caused by the State.

    According to TV 12000 teachers are needed per year in NC.
    NC colleges produce 3000 in experienced teachers/year. The rest have to come from out of state.

    The state teachers board has made licensure of out of state teachers a real hastle-- even for teachers licesned in states with much higher standards than NC. A good bill to help this situation was compromised away by Easley and the legislature by the threat of an Easely veto.

    Schools don't start recruiting teachers on July and August due to uncertainties in funding because of legislature delays. This is a crazy recruitment schedule that just fills slots with bodies. Who with a family could find a job and relocate in about a month?

  • NZ Sep 20, 2007

    pomodoroz, thanks for the insight. "in loco parentis" = in the place of the parent.

    It befuddles me many think precisely as you do. They recognize the value but the disparage the merit of historical behavioral modification norms.

    Its chaos without it. We seriously need to go back to basics. Its better to have CP and to rarely use it, than not have it at all. For 99% of the kids the fear of it would keep them in line. The other 1% could be treated with alternative means. It would be much, much cheaper in the long run and the vast majority would have a better chance at success.

    Students should have a healthy dose of fear of the administration at their schools and not fear the other students at the school.

  • shine Sep 20, 2007

    "The adults are failing the children"...... Good one.

    The teachers in the state at least in my area have been promoted to "teach" the EOG tests. They do not have the opportunity to teach...... period. This has been such a high priority to get the NC ratios up... that we sacrifice the children. It is not the TEACHERS fault ! Anytime GOV whether it be federal or state gets involved - the solutions to the problem are thought out and as diluted as sugar water.

  • tbajr Sep 20, 2007

    The first thing you do is take responsibility for education back
    from the state and let the educators and the parents decide, along with the three R's, put God and the Constitution back in
    instead of socialism and evolutionism.

  • pbjbeach Sep 20, 2007

    you see just raising the state teachers pay to the national average isn't going to fix the nc schools problems it still takes a commited teacher who really has the kids best instrest at heart an really cares about our children in this state as to wheather or not they are really an truly learning an absorbing the information that the teacher is presenting to them. an it is time for the teachers to stop teaching the test just to make the department of educations numbers look better to the public
    thank you