Up & Coming Weekly

October 19, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1420493

Contents of this Issue


Page 4 of 24

4 UCW OCTOBER 20-26, 2021 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Almost 30 years ago, Cumberland County Schools joined with four other low wealth school systems in a lawsuit arguing that every child in North Carolina is Constitutionally entitled to a sound basic education. e suit asserts our state's Constitu- tion means all children, not just those living in counties blessed with a solid tax base able to fund public educa- tion adequately. Equal opportunity was the argu- ment in 1994 when the lawsuit was filed, and it remains the case today. In the intervening decades, the original presiding judge has retired, lawyers have come and gone, North Carolina has had six different gover- nors, and the Hoke County student for whom the suit was named has completed high school, both college and law school, and now practices with a Raleigh law firm. It would take more trees than we want to chop down to go through all the permutations — judicial rulings, appeals, reports, commissions and political hot air, that have occurred and all the energy expended since 1994, but here we are heading into 2022, and very little has actually changed. Children in wealthier counties — think Wake, Mecklenburg, New Hanover and others — have consid- erably more and higher quality edu- cational opportunities than children in poorer, largely rural counties. You cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip, and you cannot squeeze tax dollars for education out of business- es and individuals who simply do not have it. I have heard it argued that children in poorer counties are even worse off educationally now than they were in 1994, because economic inequity is growing in our nation, not shrinking, and because the General Assembly has since allowed students to opt out of public schools into private institu- tions, with tuition paid by tax dollars, yours and mine. On the long legal trajectory of Le- andro, where are we now? Last year, the judge now shepherd- ing Leandro through the courts found that despite North Carolina's clear Constitutional responsibility and various state programs, many stu- dents are still not receiving a sound basic education. Earlier this year, the same judge issued an order that the state not may but must, implement the compre- hensive education plan agreed to by all parties in 2020. He gave Oct. 18 as the date by which the state is legally obligated to pony up sufficient funding to address educational inequality. So, what is the hold up? What is the problem? Why is nothing happen- ing? North Carolina has not had an ap- proved budget since 2018. e old budget just keeps rolling over at the same level of spending. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper supports increased funding, but the Republican controlled General As- sembly is loath to provide it despite a budget surplus bumping up on $30B — yes, billion. ere are signs that the Governor and legislative leaders are at least speaking, but as of this writing, no agreement has been reached, so there is yet to be a budget. e stage is now set for a legal showdown. Whatever your place on the politi- cal spectrum, a generation is a long time to wait for a shot at educational equality. Millions of young students have received less than stellar educa- tions, and they and their communi- ties continue to suffer for it. It is time — past time — for the General As- sembly to do its Constitutional duty to provide educational funding for all our children, not just some. Mr. Leandro has been waiting so long he grew up. STAFF PUBLISHER Bill Bowman Bill@upandcomingweekly.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Janice Burton OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly.com EDITOR Emily Sussman editor@upandcomingweekly.com ASSISTANT EDITOR Hannah Lee assistanteditor@upandcomingweekly. com PRODUCTION MANAGER/ GRAPHIC DESIGNER Dylan Hooker art@upandcomingweekly.com STAFF WRITER Elaina J. Martin REPORTER Jeff Thompson MARKETING ASSOCIATE Linda McAlister Brown linda@upandcomingweekly.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/SALES ADMINISTRATOR Laurel Handforth laurel@upandcomingweekly.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Margaret Dickson, Pitt Dickey, D.G. Martin, John Hood, Jim Jones, Shanessa Fenner, Crissy Neville COVER Design by Dylan Hooker –––––––––––- Up & Coming Weekly www.upandcomingweekly.com 208 Rowan St. P.O. Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 PHONE: 910-484-6200- FAX: 910-484-9218 Up & Coming Weekly is a "Quality of Life" publication with local features, news and information on what's happening in and around the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Up & Coming Weekly is published weekly on Wednesdays. Up & Coming Weekly welcomes manuscripts, photographs and artwork for publication consideration, but assumes no responsibility for them. We cannot accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or material. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject copy submitted for publication. Up & Coming Weekly is free of charge and distributed at indoor and outdoor locations throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Pope Army Airfield, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Readers are limited to one copy per person. © 2020 by F&B Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertisements without permission is strictly prohibited. Various ads with art graphics designed with elements from: vecteezy.com and freepik.com. PUBLISHER'S PEN 82 64 82 83 79 82 63 64 83 66 64 65 THU OCT 21 FRI OCT 22 SAT OCT 23 SUN OCT 24 MON OCT 25 TUE OCT 26 72 52 69 52 72 52 69 52 68 52 69 50 Mostly Sunny Mostly Sunny Mostly Sunny Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Showers Association of Community Publishers MARGARET DICKSON, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@ upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. It takes a village ... and lots of money by MARGARET DICKSON

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - October 19, 2021