About two years ago, Gov. Roy Cooper established the Commission on Access to a Sound Basic Education according to Carolina Journal reporter Lindsay Marchello’s  most recent article. Marchello reports that the commission’s name  and mission are derived from a 1997 N.C. Supreme Court opinion which held that, while school districts and counties may not have a constitutional right to equal funding, all children in North Carolina have a fundamental state constitutional right to the “opportunity to receive a sound basic education.” The stated purpose of this commission is:

[to take] a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary approach to tackling the three key areas highlighted in the original Leandro ruling to ensure North Carolina is meeting its constitutional duty:

  • Staffing each classroom with a competent, well-trained teacher;
  • Staffing each school with a competent, well-trained principal; and
  • Identifying the resources necessary to ensure that all children, including those at-risk, have an equal opportunity to obtain a sound, basic education.

Though the commission was established two years ago, Marchello reports it was not until May that the commission actually presented any draft recommendations. In the commission’s most recent meeting, Marchello writes, the commissioners discussed many potential recommendations including:

modifying funding for charter schools, so that money for new charter schools and enrollment increases are funded by a direct state appropriation,

…expanding the N.C. Teaching Fellows Program, moving teacher pay to the level of other college graduates in the state, and developing common guidelines to prepare teachers to effectively teach reading and mathematics to a broad variety of students,

…expanding the Principal Fellows Program to serve more students and recommended creating a formal statewide mentorship program for beginning assistant principals and principals,

[and] increasing funding for more early childhood education programs. 

According to Marchello:

The commission plans to hold a future meeting to hear from WestEd, an independent consultant hired to make recommendations to a Superior Court judge in the ongoing Leandro case. 

Read the full story here.

Read more perspective on the Leandro decision here, from our education expert, Dr.Terry Stoops. You can also watch Dr. Stoops discuss the Leandro decision and what comes next in this Carolina Journal Radio interview.