November 4, 2022—WestEd is delighted that the North Carolina Supreme Court today reinforced that every student in the state should have access to an equitable, sound, and basic education. This latest ruling helps ensure that the best practices and resources required to meet the educational needs of all students will be directed at the districts that need them most.

In 2018, WestEd was appointed to develop the Action Plan to address the findings in the Leandro case. Our court-directed investigation into the needs of North Carolina’s public education system found that schools with larger percentages of students in poverty received dramatically lower performance grades than schools with lower percentages of students in poverty. This underscored the dire need for a plan of action to address deep inequities in school funding and student outcomes.

The recommendations in WestEd’s multi-year Action Plan are grounded in extensive, existing research on effective approaches to improving student outcomes. WestEd also conducted an in-depth analysis of North Carolina’s resource allocation model, local funding, and classroom teacher allotments to determine where there were deficiencies and inequities that needed to be addressed.

WestEd’s recommendations are focused on high-quality teaching and school leadership, high-quality early childhood education, and ensuring equitable and adequate funding for schools with large populations of historically underserved students. The importance of addressing these basic issues in education is supported by an overwhelming body of research.

We look forward to seeing North Carolina implement the plan’s recommendations so that every student has access to an equitable, sound, and basic education.