Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Manning considering his options on school tests

The N.C. General Assembly has pretty much ignored Wake Superior Court Judge Howard Manning's 22-page memo urging legislators not to do away with four standardized end-of-course tests in high schools.  The legislature overwhelmingly passed the bill  meaning both Republicans and Democrats strongly supported the end to these tests. Gov. Bev Perdue, who has vetoed two bills approved by the legislature so far, says she won't veto this one.

Manning isn't saying what he might do about it, but he surely is considering his options.  In a brief conversation the other day, I asked him what his plans were.  He said, "We try to avoid a constitutional confrontation when it's possible. Right now I'm just going to think about it."

Manning had sent the Feb. 21 memo to Speaker of the House Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger because he wanted to make sure legislators understood the value of the tests.  Manning has supervised, if that's the right word, the state's response to the N.C. Supreme Court's landmark Leandro ruling that ordered the state to provide a competent principal in every school, a competent teacher in every classroom, and adequate resources in every class so students can get a sound education. Manning has used test scores to help identify schools that are failing (and succeeding) and has pushed state education officials to respond more aggressively to failing schools.

In his memo, he told the legislative leaders that end of course testing in core Leando subjects "is constitutionally mandated as part of the accountability process and therefore, not subject to elimination by House Bill 48 or other legislative action."

No telling how this turns out, but since the Leandro case was filed nearly 17 years ago, it has provided a lot of work for litigators. I expect we'll see more.


therestofthestory said...

..a competent teacher in every classroom..

Okay, why has Manning not stepped in on the use of TFA teachers? Why will he and his ilk not learn from the failed Kansas City experiment?

Anonymous said...

Manning oversteps his bounds - he legislates from the bench - which to me is grounds for impreachment. he has no clue what goes on in schools. The tests need to go! And the rest of them, too!They have KILLED progress in education.

Wiley Coyote said...

17 years...

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink...

If a school district has all of the requirements in place, that's all they can do.

Their responsibility starts when the child steps foot on school grounds, not before.