This Year’s Top Issue: Take Immediate and Intentional Actions to Meet Our Constitutional Obligation to Provide Each Child a Sound Basic Education

RALEIGH, NC (February 18, 2020) – The Public School Forum of North Carolina released its Top Education Issues for 2020 today during its sixth annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast in Raleigh. In a departure from each of the past five years, when the Forum highlighted the Top Ten Educational Issues for the year ahead, for 2020 the Public School Forum implored state leaders to focus their attention on one Top Educational Issue: Take Immediate and Intentional Actions to Meet Our Constitutional Obligation to Provide Each Child a Sound Basic Education.

“The urgent need to finally provide equitable educational opportunities to our students should be heeded by all, regardless of political party, and demands a dedicated, collaborative effort,” said Acting President/Executive Director, Dr. Michael D. Priddy. “As we approach a year that we believe historians will look back on as pivotal when it comes to our system of K-12 public education, this year our Top Education Issues list has been distilled into this one driving issue, which is to act in an intentional and expeditious way to bring our state into Leandro compliance.”

In this year’s Top Education Issues, the Public School Forum also identified five Key Priorities, which contain a number of policy recommendations, some of which are in line with those put forth by the Leandro report authored by the independent, nonpartisan consultant WestEd, titled “Sound Basic Education for All: An Action Plan for North Carolina.” While the key priorities included in this year’s Top Education Issues encompass ambitious goals specific to K-12 public education, they are still not exhaustive of all that must be done in the coming year and beyond to ensure that all students in North Carolina have access to a sound basic education.
“We have an unprecedented, once-in-a-generation opportunity to begin charting a new future for our state’s public schools,” said the Forum’s Senior Director of Policy, Dr. Lauren Fox. “It is our hope that our state elected leaders and policy makers can come together with educators, families, community stakeholders and business leaders to prioritize and invest in the public education system that is guaranteed to each and every one of our children, so their constitutional right to a sound basic education will be realized, regardless of their zip code.”

Event sponsors included Biogen, East Carolina University College of Education, SAS, Inc., University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Education, Participate Learning, North Carolina Association of Educators, Clark Nexsen and Learn Platform. Public School Forum Acting President and Executive Director, Dr. Michael D. Priddy, and Dr. Lauren Fox, the Forum’s Senior Director of Policy, presented the Top Education Issues to nearly 300 business, education and government leaders. The full publication can be downloaded below.

The event also included a live taping of the Forum’s weekly television show, Education Matters, which will air February 22-23 on WRAL-TV, FOX 50 and UNC –TV’s NC Channel. Panelists who discussed this year’s Top Education Issue included Ann McColl, an education attorney, constitutional scholar and Co-Founder and President of The Innovation Project (TIP); Dr. Anthony Jackson, North Carolina Superintendent of the Year, Vance County Schools; Thomas B. Oxholm, Vice President of Finance & Administration, Wake Stone Corporation; and Alan Duncan, Vice Chairman, NC State Board of Education. Public School Forum Board Chairman and Host of Education Matters, Dr. Thomas J. Williams, moderated the panel.


TOP EDUCATION ISSUE OF 2020: Take Immediate and Intentional Actions to Meet Our Constitutional Obligation to Provide Each Child a Sound Basic Education

  • KEY PRIORITY ONE: Redesign our School Finance System to Dramatically Improve Adequacy, Equity, and Flexibility
  • KEY PRIORITY TWO: Overhaul Educator Compensation, Recruitment, and Professional Development Strategies
  • KEY PRIORITY THREE: Revamp Our School Accountability Model: Eliminate or Revise the A-F School Grading System
  • KEY PRIORITY FOUR: Support a Major State Investment to Fully Fund North Carolina’s $8 Billion+ School Infrastructure Needs
  • KEY PRIORITY FIVE: Establish a Plan to Monitor Progress toward Leandro Compliance


About the Public School Forum of North Carolina
The Public School Forum of North Carolina is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on improving educational outcomes for all North Carolina children. Since 1986, the Forum has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of better schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our website at

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