“This outlines how the Department of Public Instruction, in tandem with the State Board of Education, will assist all education stakeholders as they work to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic while establishing a framework to achieve the long-term goal of ensuring a sound, basic education for all students in the state.”
So begins the glossy details of state school Superintendent Catherine Truitt’s “strategic vision … aimed at achieving gains for public education — now and in the future.” Unfortunately, her 32-page “Operation Polaris” is no guiding star.
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.
Truitt offers up a pablum of proposals that won’t drive excellence but rather appease those partisan and business interests that are satisfied with mediocre public education.
Her proposals are no call for excellence but a gussied-up defense of the status quo. Things may appear a little better but looks can deceive and it continues public education on the same path it has been for the last decade.
Does Truitt believe that her report is an adequate answer to Leandro? Does she think the judge will approve of her program over the one worked out by the plaintiffs and defendants in his court?
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.
Today’s editorial is from Capitol Broadcasting Company of Raleigh. The views expressed are not necessarily those of this newspaper.