Revisiting Leandro 28 Years Later

August 31, 2022 | Parker Nelson, AmeriCorps Member

Parker at the Book Harvest table

On Saturday, August 27th my Book Harvest colleague and I attended the Leandro Rally, hosted by Every Child NC. The event was to call attention to both the North Carolina Supreme Court hearing the Leandro case this week and the state of education funding in North Carolina, which is drastically different from district to district. The case recognizes that smaller, more rural counties have less resources in general to be able to fund their public schools, and schools across the state lack the funding necessary to host a proper learning environment. The event was attended by teachers, parents, advocates, and organizations that recognize the need for funding from the government to provide sound, basic education to students.

Saturday’s rally hosted several speakers including teachers, parents, and Angus Thompson — one of the original plaintiffs from Robeson county that filed the Leandro court case back in 1994.

Angus Thompson (photo provided by Narrative Arts)

The 1994 case demanded action from the state to provide proper funding to schools. The outcomes of the case are still affecting families today; some parents feel that the quality of education from public schools is degrading to the point that they have to turn to private schools to provide their kids with the proper tools to be successful in the future. Private schools tend to require tuition to attend the school, making them an unlikely option for low-income families. The rally highlighted the frustrations people are feeling towards the government for inaction on the Leandro case from nearly 30 years ago. Speakers from the event were angry and sad that the consequences of underfunding education are compounding to schools that need teachers, supplies, and repairs that are decades overdue.

Book Harvest attended the rally to provide books to families and educators from across the state, and to be a valuable resource to both the Durham community and members of our neighboring communities. In just a few hours, we were able to provide over 300 books in both English and Spanish! Any work that we’re able to accomplish to lessen the burden on teachers both at the start and during the school year is a huge success for Book Harvest.

Yesterday, Wednesday, August 31, the Leandro case was visited once again, this time by the North Carolina Supreme Court. We can’t be sure what may come with revisiting this case for a fourth time, but we can hope that schools and teachers will be given the resources they need to improve the quality of education in North Carolina.

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