NC Gov declares ‘state of emergency for public education’
Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) declared a ‘state of emergency for public education’ on Monday as part of a Republican-led effort to promote school choice in expanding the state private school voucher program.
Cooper claimed in a video address posted on social media that Republican lawmakers were “dropping an atomic bomb on public education” by expanding voucher eligibility to any K-12 student. The governor claimed the expansion would result in “significant funding cuts” to public schools.
“It is clear that the Republican legislature aims to stifle the life of public education. I’m declaring a state of emergency because you need to know what’s going on. If you care about North Carolina public schools, now is the time to take immediate action and tell them to stop the damage that will set our schools back for a generation,” Cooper said in a statement.
The GOP Legislature is planning to stifle the life of public education, and you need to know what’s going on. Watch Governor Cooper’s special speech on public education. pic.twitter.com/QVkXpLhDu2
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 22, 2023
As NC News reported, critics of the voucher program “complain that private schools that receive taxpayer money engage in religious indoctrination and exclusion, discriminate against LGBTQ students and parents, and are not held accountable for educational outcomes as are charter schools and traditional public schools.
But proponents, like Democratic-turned-Republican state Rep. Tricia Cotham, say the program will help families place their children in schools that are better suited to them. Cotham notably co-sponsored an internal bill in the same language.
#SchoolChoice #KidsFirst pic.twitter.com/usN8uDRnYG
— Tricia Cotham (@triciacotham) May 22, 2023
In a tweet on Monday, Cotham called Cooper and said, “The real urgency here is for the Governor to advocate for systems rather than the students themselves.”
“Education is not one-size-fits-all, and North Carolina families should have the freedom to determine what type of education is best for them,” she said. “My bill to expand the NC Opportunity Scholarship Program, to allow all NC families to make that choice, will soon be on his desk awaiting signature. The children of NC are waiting, Governor! Stop the political theater and put children first!
The News and the Observer pointed out that Cooper’s statement comes as Republican legislative leaders negotiate an agreement on the state budget for the next two years.
“The GOP has a legislative supermajority, so it can pass a spending plan and other laws without needing Cooper’s support,” according to the report.
In his special address, Cooper further said he believes the teacher salary increases in the proposed budget do not go far enough and could ultimately exacerbate an existing teacher shortage. He also accused Republicans of bringing “their political culture wars into the classroom,” nodding to recent “extreme” legislation passed in the House and/or Senate that protects parental rights, protects women’s sports teams and protects students from left-wing indoctrination. wing gender ideology.
The House is also considering asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would allow for the election of members to the National Board of Education, rather than having them appointed by a governor.
“If they are successful, our State Board of Education will be replaced by political hacks that can dictate what is taught — and not taught — in our public schools,” Cooper said in his speech. “North Carolina schools need rigorous science, reading, and math lessons, no more politicians policing our children’s curriculum with book bans, eliminating science classes, and more.”
Republicans chose to fund businesses, not classrooms. It’s time for the @NCGOP stop putting #MillionairesFirst and start making the necessary investments in the children of NC. #ncga #ncpol https://t.co/vyeIt1KcyV
— NC House Democrats (@NCHouseDems) May 22, 2023
North Carolina House Democrats praised Cooper’s special address on Twitter, accusing Republicans of funding businesses, “not classrooms.”
“It’s time for NCGOP to stop prioritizing millionaires and start making the necessary investments in NC’s kids,” the House Democrats wrote.
Next week, Cooper is set to travel across the state to meet with community leaders to “raise awareness of the danger of bills in the North Carolina General Assembly” and “to ask them to demand better and join the fight,” according to his office. .
Randy Brechbiel, a spokesman for Senate Leader Phil Berger (right), said in a statement that “meaningless publicity stunts do nothing to improve educational outcomes in our state.”
“The House and Senate will continue to work together to present budget proposals that meet the needs of students and parents,” Brechbiel said.
Other Cooper critics and school choice advocates called out the governor for his apparent hypocrisy; according to the Education Freedom Institute, Cooper sent his own child to “an expensive private school” in Raleigh.
BREAKING: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declares a STATE OF EMERGENCY to combat school choice.
This hypocrite sent his own child to a private school.
We are freeing families once and for all from the clutches of the teachers’ unions and there is nothing he can do about it. pic.twitter.com/m4bbcpiEIx
— Corey A. DeAngelis, School Choice Evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) May 22, 2023
“BREAKING: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declares STATE OF EMERGENCY to fight school choice,” tweeted school choice champion Corey A. DeAngelis. “This hypocrite sent his own child to a private school. We are freeing families once and for all from the clutches of the teachers’ unions and there is nothing he can do about it.
Once again we see government leaders telling you that they know what is best for your child. Our Governor went so far as to use the words “state of emergency” as political support. However, words like this weren’t spoken when Democrats controlled the legislature and… https://t.co/YM6hPzDjSv
—Mark Robinson (@markrobinsonNC) May 22, 2023
Former North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson (right) also criticized Cooper for using the term ‘state of emergency’ as a ‘political prop’.
“Once again we see government leaders telling you that they know what is best for your child. Our Governor has gone so far as to use the words ‘state of emergency’ as political support,” Robinson said. “However, words like this weren’t spoken when Democrats had control of the legislature and teachers were taking pay cuts and being furloughed. Our Republican legislature allows families to chart their own educational destiny because they know better than a bureaucrat what their children need.