top of page

What is a Sound Basic Education?

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

North Carolina guarantees every child an education, but what does that entail?
The answers will surprise you.

by: Sloan Rachmuth

There is no Federal right to an education, but in North Carolina, a K-12 must be provided by the State.

In Article I, section 15, the North Carolina constitution states: “The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the state to guard and maintain that right.”

Article 10, Section 1 declares that Education is encouraged by the state because Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government, and the happiness of mankind, schools, libraries, and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

The constitution goes on to state that the general assembly must provide education for the citizenry and may tax state residents in order to provide that education. The general assembly may (that is may) assign to local governments the duty to oversee the funds to educate its young ones via school boards, and that localities may also tax their citizens to supplement state funding.

You’ll see this with your property taxes - they go towards paying for the portion of public education that the state and the Feds don’t cover.

In 1997, the North Carolina Supreme Court came up with the doctrine of “Sound Basic Education” which is a quantitative measure of the state’s system of public schools.

The question at the heart of the Leandro case of 1997 was: What is a “sound basic education?”

Here’s what the court came up with:

  1. A “sound basic education” involves PRE-K - 12, and it should impart to students a sufficient ability to read, write, speak English, and working knowledge of basic math and science so they can function in a complex and rapidly changing society

  2. A “sound basic education” imparts to students a basic knowledge of geography, history, and basic economic and political systems so students can make informed choices about issues that affect themselves, their families, their communities, and their country.

  3. A “sound basic education” imparts students academic and vocational skills so they can pursue post-secondary education or vocational training of their choice to compete in an increasingly competitive world with respect to secondary education or careers.

The court in the 1997 Leandro case ruled that the state was failing to provide a “sound basic education” to at-risk- students in Pre-K through 12th grade.

In 2004, the state Supreme Court came in again and said the state’s efforts to provide a “sound basic education” to at-risk or low-income students were inadequate - but the judge, in this case, dropped the requirement that the state provides this “sound basic education” to pre-K children.

Now, in 2020, a Judge assigned to the Leandro case issued court ordered next-steps for the State to take in providing a “sound basic education” AND ordered the general assembly to allot the funds to pay these following changes to the concept of “sound basic education:”

  1. Teacher development and recruitment that puts a high-quality teacher in every classroom.

  2. A system of principal development and recruitment.

  3. A finance system that provides “adequate, equitable, and predictable funding to school districts” and specifically funding for at-risk students.

  4. A system for assessing student performance across multiple measures that is reliable

  5. A turnaround plan for low-performing schools and districts.

  6. A system pre-K for at-risk students - so this Judge reversed the definition of AGAIN “sound basic education” to include pre-K.

And lastly, the judge restated the State’s requirement to align high school learning to the postsecondary and career goals of all students.

So, the constitution of the state of North Carolina guarantees free education to all citizens, and over the years, the courts have designed and mandated the elements of a “sound basic education” for pre-K - 12-grade students.

Did you happen to catch the inclusion of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) within the “sound basic education” paradigm? Or the teaching of “gender identity or Queer theory?”

No, you did not, which is why the left-wing members on the state board of education maintain that Social Emotional learning is a “school security measure” that will end the school violence problem, and that the institution of "Queer Theory" in every class is an anti-bullying measure also meant to keep students safe.

See what they did here?

Now about school safety, there is one final way that the State Supreme Court modified the terms of a “sound basic education,” and it’s probably something you haven’t heard about.

In June of 2021, the court ruled unanimously that another element of providing a “sound basic education” for all students should include the prevention of severe and pervasive harassment by teachers and other students.

No, I’m not talking about calling someone the wrong pronoun or not allowing them to use whatever bathroom they want, this standard would only apply to cases where school administrators and school boards were outrageously derelict in their duty to take action after repeated incidents of harassment.

This case involved a mother and her three children, two of which were diagnosed with autism and were subjected to unrelenting physical violence and sexual harassment by as many as four students at Pitt County elementary school.

The children's mom claimed the school’s leadership and the board ignored her complaints.

School personnel told this mother that changes would take time - but did nothing. To many parents, this scenario is all too familiar.

At first, a three-judge panel on the Court of Appeals dismissed the family’s case citing a similar case involving the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board and negligence claims related to a teacher’s sexual relationship with a high school student.

Chief Judge Paul Newby

But State Supreme Court Judge Chief Paul Judge Newby said the Court of Appeals’ decision would effectively mean the state’s constitutional guarantee would only provide the content of a “sound basic education” and would do nothing to protect a student’s opportunity to receive the actual benefit of the constitutional right of an education.

Judge Newby is a constitutionally conservative Judge, and we can see this from his interpretation of the Leandro decision.


Because Newby’s ruling here extends the liberty of citizens - in this case, K-12 students - without placing undue burdens on some citizens in order to show preferential treatment of others.

So then, the judges who sit on our state’s Supreme court are extremely important in protecting every student’s right to receive a “sound basic education,” and these judges are also pivotal in determining the elements of what a“sound basic education” is.

Do you doubt for one second that the Left is going to bring a case before the court that would mandate Social-emotional learning and gender theory to be included in the state’s definition of “sound basic education?”

Don’t doubt it!

And you’d better know that the Left is already planning to make the case that not allowing boys in the changing rooms with girls is a constitutional infringement on students’ right to access a “sound basic education!”

Don’t laugh, It’s on the way. And when the lunacy comes, we’d better have conservative judges sitting on the bench of, not only our Supreme Court but on the court of appeals.

The future of their rights to receive a “sound basic education” depends on it.

1 comment
Untitled design (49)_edited.png
Get Updates

We'll send you new stories as they are published!


bottom of page