CJ: Does More Money Equal Better Education? The Leandro Case Implications

RALEIGH – It’s the question at the heart of most political battles over education. Democrats, typically, want to pump up public education spending, the more the better; while Republicans typically take a much more qualitative approach to fulfilling their constitutional mandate in education and be fiscally conservative.

A lawsuit in North Carolina deals directly with this question, and has been held up by liberal education activists that want to open the spending spigots on education, as well as all the correlated power and patronage that comes with the growth of government. It’s called the Leandro Case, in the courts now, and reading the Left’s take on it won’t suffice to explore the honest realities of this case and the larger issues.

The best take to explore on this significant case comes from the Carolina Journal’s Lindsay Marchello:

“Twenty-five years ago, Robert Leandro and his mother, Kathleen Leandro, lent their name to one of the most significant education lawsuits in North Carolina history. At the time, the family lived in Raeford, a town with a small tax base and a struggling economy. Robert attended a local high school.

Robert, speaking to Scalawag Magazine in 2018, said his classmates were often in awe of how other schools performed labs via the internet in their 1990s-era science classes.

“After I got into college I started realizing that wasn’t cool, that was ridiculous. I should have been doing those labs,” Robert Leandro told the magazine.

Frustrated, the Leandros joined other families and school districts to sue the state for more funding to provide an education on par with wealthier school districts.

At the center of the Leandro case is the prevailing belief that more money in public schools would, in turn, improve student performance. Superior Court Judge David Lee is presiding over the Leandro case, and a decision is forthcoming. An independent consultant, WestEd, in a report calls for about $8 billion more in public education spending over eight years to achieve a better education for students. […]”


Something tells me if the General Assembly passed an $8 billion education omnibus matching the WestEd report Democrats are lauding so much, Governor Roy Cooper would veto it. Not enough.

All joking aside, this is why this case matters so much. It could become a landmark in which the judiciary wield even more political power by mandating spending and legislation, and the Democrats are emboldened to push the limits on the size of our budgets and our tax rates.

So what’s the court have available to examine the merit of this lawsuit? As Marchello points out, there are facts that the Big Education crowd willfully ignore and actively obscure because they undercut their political agenda. Facts like Leandro himself earned degrees from high-end universities and became a successful lawyer at one of the state’s most prominent law firms, despite attending public schools in a poor county. The plaintiff is a living, breathing, succeeding counterargument to his own lawsuit.

Read the enlightening dive into the Leandro Case and it’s implications at the Carolina Journal.



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