Editorial: Obey the judge. Fund our schools or lose in court
Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 -- Rather than look for ways to build a top-quality public education system for all of North Carolina's children legislative leaders are engaged in a cynical strategy to enrage and divide. One way or another, Judge David Lee's order will bring a stop to that behavior.Posted — Updated
Judge David Lee couldn’t have been more direct and on target.
Take responsibility and stop playing the blame game.
It is the time for action not procrastination and obstinance.
It is way past time that North Carolina’s children were the priority and not expendable pawns in the partisan maneuvering of Republicans and Democrats.
The obvious answer is no. From 1994 to 2010 when Democrats controlled the General Assembly, they didn’t come up with a plan. The Republicans who’ve ruled the legislature since 2011 haven’t either. Nor did the Democrats or Republicans who’ve been our governors and Superintendents of Public Instruction.
There’s no need for any finger-pointing here to identify those responsible for inaction – a glance in a mirror will do.
What should happen now?
Judge Lee makes a strong case that justifies his strong action. “Article One Section 15 of our Constitution represents an ongoing constitutional appropriation of funds sufficient to create and maintain a school system that provides each of our state’s students with the constitutional minimum of a sound basic education and that it may therefore be deemed appropriations made by law,” Lee said. “The Constitution is the direct mandate of the people themselves,” he said in answer to legislative leaders claims that only the General Assembly can determine how state money is spent.
Legislative leaders Sen. Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore make baseless claims of political motivations on the part of the judge and parties to the Leandro lawsuit. They have nothing to gain in elections or campaigns – but our legislative leaders are always looking for an easy partisan edge.
Republicans Berger and Moore, like the Democratic Party legislative leaders before them, have failed to act on Leandro. Berger and Moore would rather look for opportunities to foster suspicion, bickering and confrontation over our public schools.
Rather than look for ways to build a top-quality public education system for all of North Carolina’s children they’re engaged in a cynical strategy to enrage and divide.
One way or another, Judge Lee’s order will bring a stop to that behavior.
Legislators have a simple choice:
- Do the right thing and stand up for the future of North Carolina, with its school children and support Judge Lee’s order.
- Do the wrong thing, fight the order (and eventually probably lose in court) while the state’s children are still denied the quality education promised in the Constitution our legislators pledge to uphold.
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