In 1997, in the landmark Leandro case, the North Carolina Supreme Court determined that the right to education guaranteed by our state constitution means that all children attending public schools in North Carolina must have an opportunity to receive a sound basic education.

At long last, the court-ordered WestEd report, released last week, provides substantial, detailed guidance for state leaders on how to make the promise of Leandro reality.

“The report gives us a path forward in beginning to meet the educational needs of all children in our state, including children with disabilities, “ says Ginny Fogg, education attorney at Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC). “Leandro’s mandate is clear – a sound basic education means an opportunity to master core academic subjects – reading, writing, math, science and history – and to learn vocational skills, to enable all students to become gainfully employed.

A critical finding of the report is that North Carolina must allot more funding to higher need students, including students with disabilities, English learners, and economically-disadvantaged students. The report also recommends adding significantly more school counselors, social workers, school nurses, and school psychologists, to address students’ unmet physical and social-emotional needs.

“The issues that created and perpetuate North Carolina’s imbalanced education system are complex,” says Virginia Knowlton Marcus, CEO of DRNC. “With this report, we now have the basic building blocks to fully address these issues. We can and must come together to make the education system work for all children in North Carolina, regardless of poverty, language, or disability.”

For more information, contact Ginny Fogg: 919-856-2195,