RALEIGH, N.C. — Governor Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency for public education in North Carolina Monday, according to a press release from the Governor's office.
During his address, Governor Cooper urged North Carolinians to contact legislators after outlining extreme legislation in the NC general assembly that Gov. Cooper said would weaken the state's public education system.
“It’s clear that the Republican legislature is aiming to choke the life out of public education. I’m declaring this a state of emergency because you need to know what’s happening. If you care about public schools in North Carolina, it’s time to take immediate action and tell them to stop the damage that will set back our schools for a generation,” said Governor Cooper.
Gov. Cooper said these proposed legislations led by GOP would cause public schools to lose millions, worsen the state’s teacher shortage, and bring "political culture wars" into the classrooms.
GOP School Voucher Plan
In the address, Gov. Cooper mentioned a school voucher plan proposed by the GOP, where they will pour billions of taxpayer dollars into private schools, in which the school can decide who they choose to admit.
He stated their plan would expand school vouchers so that even a millionaire can fund their child's private school tuition.
Increasing Teacher Shortages
With more than 5,000 teacher vacancies, recruiting and retaining quality teachers in the classroom is harder than ever. Not to mention the pay being one of the reasons.
In Gov. Cooper's budget, an 18% pay raise over the next two years was introduced, but last week, the Senate proposed increasing veteran teachers’ salaries by just $250 spread over two years.
Gov. Cooper claims this will exacerbate the teacher shortage. In addition, he said legislators are proposing an acceleration of tax cuts that are projected to cut North Carolina’s state budget by almost 20%.
Injecting Culture Wars into the Classroom
Gov. Cooper said GOP leaders want to push their "political culture wars" into the classrooms by changing the curriculum setting, "micromanaging" teachers' instruction and targeting LGBTQ+ students.
Gov. Cooper stated prominent Republicans have proposed eliminating core science classes as they are pushing to rewrite history curriculums to fit a "political" agenda.
For that reason, Gov. Cooper said putting politicians in charge of the classroom is dangerous.
Senator Phil Berger’s response to Governor Cooper’s public school education emergency declaration:
"Meaningless publicity stunts do nothing to improve educational outcomes in our state. The House and Senate will continue working together to put forward budget proposals that address the needs of students and parents.," Berger stated.
Governor Cooper is set to travel across the state to meet with business leaders, educators, and parents to raise awareness about the dangers of the bills in the NC General Assembly and ask them to demand better and join the fight to protect public education in North Carolina.