Last week the North Carolina State Supreme Court sought to clear up confusion over who controls public education in North Carolina.
By a surprising 6-0 vote–with one abstention–the North Carolina State Supreme Court upheld legislation that transferred day-to-day responsibility for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to the hands of State Superintendent, Mark Johnson.
However, the Court also sought to re-emphasize that the State Board of Education has the final say on broader questions of policy such as ‘the mechanics of the relationship between the Board and the Superintendent, as well as how their respective departments will operate internally…”
So, who oversees education policy in North Carolina? People have asked that question and for years politicians have sought to answer it. The court’s opinion upholds the legislature’s right to transfer functions and authority for various responsibilities. It also affirms the ultimate policy making authority of the State Board of Education. For many, the decision merely solidified much of the status quo. Similar issues will continue to arise that force the question. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the question of who is in charge of public education in North Carolina is one that never seems to go away.