Blog Posts: Education

Halifax County School Adequacy Appeal Briefing Completed; Oral Argument to be Scheduled

On Monday, July 18, 2016, the Center for Civil Rights filed its reply brief to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Silver v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners, reasserting its fundamental argument that a board of county commissioners—like any government actor or agency—has a constitutional obligation to ensure schoolchildren have the opportunity to secure a sound basic education.

The case was filed by the Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES), the Halifax County Branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardians of schoolchildren in Halifax. The plaintiffs assert that the county commissioners’ inequitable and inefficient allocation of education resources among, and maintenance of, three racially segregated and low performing school districts in the county violates the right of students to receive a sound basic education as guaranteed by the North Carolina Constitution (and affirmed by the North Carolina Supreme Court in the Leandro cases). Incredibly, the commissioners insist that while they admittedly have constitutional and statutory obligations to provide critical educational resources, those obligations have no relation to or bearing upon the right to or provision of a constitutionally-complaint education in Halifax County.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Wed. July 20, 2016 4:22 PM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Segregation

Plaintiffs File Brief to NC Court of Appeals in Halifax County Leandro Litigation

On Wednesday, May 4, the Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES), the Halifax County Branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardians of schoolchildren filed their brief to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Silver v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners. The Plaintiffs brought suit against the County last August, seeking to vindicate the constitutional right of all Halifax County schoolchildren to the opportunity for a sound basic education established under the Leandro decision. The Plaintiffs’ appeal comes after the trial court dismissed the lawsuit in early February, holding that the County has no constitutional obligations under Leandro.

In their brief to the Court of Appeals, CEES and the NAACP argue they must be afforded the opportunity to present evidence at trial and prove that the County’s maintenance of its three racially segregated school districts blocks all students’ opportunity to receive a Leandro-compliant education. Leandro II provides that local governments must allocate resources in a manner that provides children the opportunity for a sound basic education.

Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, on behalf of Public Schools First NC, filed an amicus brief in support of the Appellants’ Leandro claim. The amicus brief highlights Legal Aid of North Carolina’s work with students in Halifax County, and the lack of educational opportunity these students face because of the misallocation of educational resources among the county’s three school districts. Amici note that at-risk students in Halifax’s racially isolated districts suffer inadequate educational programs, poor academic outcomes, and disproportionately high rates of student discipline.


Read More... (Plaintiffs File Brief to NC Court of Appeals in Halifax County Leandro Litigation)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Fri. May 6, 2016 12:20 PM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Segregation

CCDC and NAACP File Accreditation Complaint, as Duplin County Schools Move Forward With Facilities Plan

On April 15, the Concerned Citizens of Duplin County (CCDC) and the Duplin County Branch of the North Carolina NAACP filed an accreditation complaint against the Duplin County Board of Education.  The complaint alleges the Board has failed to comply with a number of standards set by AdvancED, a school accrediting agency that accredited Duplin County Schools in September 2014.

The CCDC and NAACP filed the complaint less than two weeks after the Duplin County Board of Education voted to begin construction to retrofit existing school facilities, turning them into K-8 schools as part of a $65 million dollar facilities plan.  In December 2014, the CCDC filed a Title VI complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging the Board’s facilities plan illegally discriminates against non-white students by denying them access to quality facilities and concentrating them in racially segregated schools.


Read More... (CCDC and NAACP File Accreditation Complaint, as Duplin County Schools Move Forward With Facilities Plan)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Mon. April 18, 2016 4:47 PM
Categories: Education, Segregation

Increasing Segregation and Achievement Disparities Persist in Wake County Schools, as Title VI Investigation Continues

On Tuesday, April 12, investigators from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights met with parents, students, and concerned community members from Wake County, as part of their ongoing investigation of a Title VI complaint filed against Wake County Schools (WCS) in 2010.  During the meeting, the Center for Civil Rights provided OCR investigators with updated student demographic and testing data for schools in the Wake County district. 

The NAACP, community organizations, and local parents filed the Title VI complaint after Wake County Schools abandoned its socioeconomic-conscious student assignment plan in the summer of 2010.  The complaint alleges the district’s abandonment of its former assignment plan—as well as its student discipline practices—illegally discriminate against non-white students by denying them equal access to educational resources.


Read More... (Increasing Segregation and Achievement Disparities Persist in Wake County Schools, as Title VI Investigation Continues)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Wed. April 13, 2016 4:52 PM
Categories: Education, Race Discrimination, Segregation, Wake County

Plaintiffs Appeal in Halifax County Leandro Litigation

CEES banner

On February 22, the plaintiffs in Silver et al. v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners announced they are appealing the dismissal of their education equity lawsuit filed last August.  The suit, based on the North Carolina Constitution’s guarantee that every child be provided the opportunity to secure a sound basic education, argued that the county commissioners’ maintenance of three inefficiently funded, racially segregated school districts in Halifax County undermines educational opportunities guaranteed by the constitution and the state supreme court’s landmark Leandro decisions.  Read about the dismissal.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Wed. February 24, 2016 11:14 AM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Segregation

Community Group Sues Johnston County Board of Education to Obtain Public Records

On February 18, the Concerned Citizens for Successful Schools (CCSS) filed a lawsuit against the Johnston County Board of Education and Johnston County Schools Superintendent Ed Croom, seeking a court order compelling the school district to provide requested public records.

The North Carolina Public Records Act is clear: public records are the property of the people.  Members of the public have the right to inspect and receive copies of non-confidential records created and maintained by State and local government.  This right is essential to good governance and the efforts of community leaders across the state to engage with elected officials on important policymaking decisions.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Mon. February 22, 2016 11:00 AM
Categories: Education

Superior Court Dismisses Halifax Leandro Litigation

In a disappointing but not surprising decision, Superior Court Judge W. Russell Duke, Jr. dismissed Silver et al. v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners, the lawsuit filed last August by the Center on behalf of the Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES), the Halifax County Branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardian in Halifax County, NC.
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Posted by Mark Dorosin on Wed. February 3, 2016 3:19 PM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Segregation

Pretrial Hearing in Halifax County Sound Basic Education Suit

On Tuesday, December 22, in Halifax, NC, Judge Russell Duke will hear a number of pretrial motions from the Halifax County Board of Commissioners, including a motion to dismiss, in Silver et al. v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners.  The hearing will be the first to address substantive issues since the Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES), the Halifax County Branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardians filed suit against the Board of Commissioners in August, to vindicate the state constitutional right of all Halifax County children to the opportunity for a sound basic education.  Read the Plaintiffs’ brief in opposition to the Board of Commissioners’ motions.

Earlier this month, Judge Duke denied eight of nine motions to have out-of-state attorneys from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Latham & Watkins LLP join the Center for Civil Rights in representing the Plaintiffs.

Center attorneys Mark Dorosin and Elizabeth Haddix, as well as Eileen O’Connor from Lawyers’ Committee, will represent the Plaintiffs at Tuesday’s hearing.


Read More... (Pretrial Hearing in Halifax County Sound Basic Education Suit)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Fri. December 18, 2015 4:46 PM
Categories: Education, Halifax County

Harnett County Coalition Files Civil Rights Complaint with the US Department of Education Over Racial Isolation in Schools

On November 17, nearly one hundred Harnett County residents gathered in front of the Harnett County Schools administrative building in Lillington to hear Citizens for Harnett Educational Fairness (CHEF) spokesman John Smith announce the filing of a Title VI complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.  The complaint, filed by the Center for Civil Rights on behalf of CHEF and the Harnett County branch of the NAACP, seeks redress for the Harnett County Board of Education’s refusal to address increasing racial isolation in Dunn area schools and the accompanying discriminatory impacts this isolation has on African American students’ access to equal educational resources.
Read More... (Harnett County Coalition Files Civil Rights Complaint with the US Department of Education Over Racial Isolation in Schools)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Thu. November 19, 2015 10:39 AM
Categories: Education, Segregation

From EdNC: Local groups sue Halifax Commissioners, hold press conference

Check out EdNC's article on the Halifax County lawsuit filed by community groups and parents over violations of Halifax students' constitutional right to a sound basic education. The article provides a good summary of the case and a video of the press conference held by community members.


Read More... (From EdNC: Local groups sue Halifax Commissioners, hold press conference)
Posted by Mark Dorosin on Fri. August 28, 2015 10:32 AM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Segregation
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