Response to Leandro Consent Order

Judge Lee plans to sign consent order after refusing to speak to only branch of government allowed to appropriate funds

Last week, widely respected Judge Manning, who handled Leandro case for 20 years, criticized the Leandro plaintiffs for focusing on “give me more money, give me more money”

Republicans have increased education spending by cumulative $1,748 per student; NEA ranks NC #1 in southeast

Raleigh, N.C. — After declining an invitation from legislators to speak about education, Judge David Lee plans to sign a consent order in the Leandro case without any input or coordination whatsoever from the only branch of government authorized to appropriate funds.

The move comes just days after widely-respected Judge Howard Manning, who handled the Leandro case for 20 years, blasted the plaintiffs’ focus on “give me more money, give me more money” and questioned the efficacy of the consultant report prepared by WestEd.

Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), who co-chairs the Senate Education Committee, said, “Judge Manning had it exactly right when he blasted the focus on money instead of quality. Republicans have increased education funding by $1,748 per student, but that doesn’t matter if children aren’t being taught properly. It’s so disappointing that the new Leandro judge, David Lee, wouldn’t even speak to legislators about this issue before issuing a consent order.”

In a sweeping interview last week, Judge Manning credited the legislature with focusing on early childhood literacy through the Read to Achieve initiative. Last year, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed an update to the program, written in collaboration with his own administration, that passed the N.C. Senate with a unanimous bipartisan vote.

Judge Manning also said, “I realized money can’t buy you quality…You don’t just raise everybody’s salaries by $10,000 per year and expect to have all the grades go up by 20% because it’s not going to happen.”

Judge Lee would do well to listen to his predecessor’s wisdom. Progress in education cannot come about by an order from a judge who declines to even speak to the legislature.

As a reminder, the National Education Association, which is the far-left N.C. Association of Educators’ (NCAE) own parent organization, ranked North Carolina top in the Southeast on a host of major education funding metrics.

Here are a few of the topline rankings for North Carolina:

· 2019–20 increase in K-12 funding: #1 in the Southeast (#7 in the country)

· 2019–20 increase in K-12 funding per student: #1 in the Southeast (#6 in the country)

· 2018–19 increase in public school instructional staff salaries: #1 in the Southeast (#4 in the country)

· 2018–19 increase in teacher salaries: #1 in the Southeast (#3 in the country)

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.

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