Truitt's talk of not ignoring the law must include obeying court orders on Leandro program for N.C. schools

Published January 25, 2024

By Capitol Broadcasting Company

“You may not break the laws you don’t like – even in Chapel Hill.,” mocked Catherine Truitt, in a Twitter post last week after the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board adopted a parent involvement policy that defied portions of the legislature’s controversial “Parents Bill of Rights.”

The legislature’s new law requires school employees to notify parents if students change their name or pronouns while also banning instruction on gender identity before fifth grade.

After consulting with the local school board’s lawyer, the board members rejected the two provisions in the new state law contending they are discriminatory – and are prepared to deal with any “legal or political ramifications as they come up.”

Truitt, clearly pandering to legislative leaders and extremist ideologues who pushed the needless policy, declared “I worked with the legislature to pass the Parents Bill of Rights to protect children and empower parents and it’s unacceptable for Chapel Hill or anyone else to ignore it.”

It is unfortunate that Turitt’s passion for obeying the law doesn’t extend to laws that truly would benefit North Carolina’s public school children, their parents, teachers and facilities.

Truitt has never endorsed – even though the State Board of Education has – the court-ordered implementation of the comprehensive school improvement program. The program, a consensus effort worked out to fulfill the State Constitution’s guarantee that every child has access to a quality education, has faced the kind of resistance unfortunately reminiscent of the Jim Crow era.

Truitt’s failure to stand up for the law, as determined repeatedly over the last 25 years by North Carolina’s courts, clearly shows her passions for education are less concerns for students and learning than about partisan politics and soliciting the favor of her legislative patrons.

No one should fall for the fallacies being peddled by the like of state Senate leader Phil Berger, contending implementation of the Leandro order is only about money.

““We must disabuse ourselves of the notion that more money alone buys positive outcomes for our students,” Berger said. “Success in education policy is about more than hitting some arbitrary funding goal.” Truth, which Berger ignores, is that the Leandro settlement isn’t an “arbitrary funding goal.”

Both the plaintiffs and defendants in the Leandro case worked to develop a detailed, multi-year plan to improve public education, starting in the classroom and the individual school. It is about providing better instruction, better student and classroom support, better facilities. Yes there’s a price tag. It’s not “arbitrary.” It is based on a well-researched program and what is needed to provide the resources.

Before Catherine Truitt looks to lecture others about not ignoring the law, she might start with leading by example. Join with the State Board of Education and endorse the Comprehensive Remedial Plan.

Along with it, demand those same legislative leaders she claims to have a working relationship with also obey the law, end their massive resistance to assuring EVERY North Carolina child has access to a quality education and do all necessary to implement the court-ordered plan.

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