School boards take a poke at eye exam rule

By: - January 31, 2006 5:05 am

Dan Kane, Rob Christensen and Jane Stancill, Staff Writers

The roiling over a new mandatory eye exam for children before they start school continues today with a news conference at the Legislative Building. The N.C. School Boards Association, which is opposed to the exams, is organizing the conference.

The mandatory exams were included in this year’s state budget at the request of House Speaker Jim Black, a Mecklenburg County Democrat and an optometrist. Black said the exams will catch early vision problems before they start to hinder a child’s learning.

But school officials, pediatricians and ophthalmologists say the exams are an unnecessary burden for most children. They are seeking to have the law repealed.

Some influential state senators may be trying to help. Those who the association listed as speakers for today’s conference include two top budget writers, Kay Hagan and Walter Dalton; a finance committee chairman, David Hoyle; and Bill Purcell, a retired pediatrician who is a co-chairman of a budget committee.

Hoyle said he does not plan to speak about the mandatory exams today, but he is leaning toward trying to eliminate the requirement. He said he has received many calls from angry parents and school officials who say it creates a financial and administrative burden. (more…)

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066