Judge scolds North Carolina education officials

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Superior Court Judge Howard Manning holds hearing on failing schools

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning scolded North Carolina education officials Wednesday for not making sure students are getting a sound basic education.

Manning has made it his business to oversee academics in North Carolina public schools since handling the Leandro v. State of North Carolina decision more than a decade ago. His ruling in the case - brought by the parents of children in poorer school districts - said children are guaranteed the right to equal opportunity to obtain a sound basic education under the state constitution.

Wednesday's hearing was a continuation of one that started in January to look into whether state education officials are obeying their constitutional obligation.

Some attorneys claim the state isn't carrying out its duties outlined in the case, leaving more than half of all students at risk of academic failure.

Wednesday, Judge Manning continually highlighted bad test scores in certain schools and asked state officials how they'd feel if they were hauled off to jail with no warrant.

Manning said taxpayers are supporting failing schools and wants to know how the state plans to fix certain problems - like one Durham classroom where most of the students are not meeting standards.

"...every day that those children are in that classroom, you can't blame it on them. They didn't want to go there, they didn't ask to be born into that situation, but they're there and they're our responsibility. Every day that they're in that classroom, they are not obtaining a sound basic education. They're not even getting the opportunity," said Manning.

Manning will continue the hearing through Thursday until he gets some answers.

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