Making sense of judge’s ruling in school case

Rob Christensen wondered if he "missed something" in Judge Howard Manning Jr.’s remarkable ruling in the Leandro case. What he missed was the point.

Manning did exactly what the state Supreme Court justices asked him to do. He built upon their landmark Leandro decision to make it crystal clear what it means that all children in our state now have the constitutional right to a sound, basic education. Manning also underlined the Supreme Court’s ruling that the state has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that no is denied constitutional right of children. While emphasizing "at risk" students, Manning asserted that every child would benefit from a proper implementation of the Leandro decision.

The judge was extraordinarily careful not to usurp the power of either the legislative or executive branches of government. He did not specify how much extra money needed to be spent, nor did he mandate that particular methods be used to educate students. Instead, he cited chapter and verse of existing legislative language and current state policies to remind leaders that they have made many promises that have not yet been kept.

Anyone wanting to understand Manning’s message should read the excellent Point of View article by UNC Charlotte School of Law Dean, published on the Op-ed page the same day as Christensen’s column. Nichol’s knowledgeable, well-reasoned analysis of the Leandro decision clarifies why all North Carolinians should care about, and applaud, Judge Manning’s ruling.

Dr. Jonathan P. Sher

President, N.C. Child Advocacy Institute; Vice Chair, Covenant with N.C.’s Children

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