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North Carolina’s Superintendent of Public Instruction: Defining a Constitutional Office
Charlotte Law Review (2013)
  • Andrew P. Owens
In 2009 a superior court case determined the fate of the Governor’s initiative to streamline education leadership by promoting a State Board of Education member while greatly reducing the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s powers. The judge’s decision in favor of Superintendent Atkinson turned on “the inherent constitutional authority” of her office; yet no one really knows what authority is inherent to the office, where that authority derives, or how to go about analyzing the office’s constitutional role. In short: what does it mean to be the Superintendent of Public Instruction? This paper explains the origins and meaning of the Superintendent as a constitutional office. North Carolina’s 1868 Constitution, the basis of the state’s present constitution, gave the Superintendent of Public Instruction a constitutional status. The discussion of the relevant constitutional provisions is reviewed in the context of the administrative history leading up to 1868 and the administrative developments during the remainder of the nineteenth century. This administrative trajectory shaped the meager constitutional provisions and now provides a foundation for further analysis on the Superintendent’s “inherent constitutional authority.”
  • North Carolina,
  • Superintendent,
  • Education,
  • Constitution
Publication Date
Spring 2013
Citation Information
Andrew P. Owens. "North Carolina’s Superintendent of Public Instruction: Defining a Constitutional Office" Charlotte Law Review Vol. 4 Iss. 1 (2013)
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