ICYMI: National Review: One Governor Is Standing In The Way Of Opening Schools

March 8, 2021
For Immediate Release
Raleigh, NC - Last Friday, the National Review published an article highlighting how Democrat Governor Roy Cooper is keeping the lock on the schoolhouse door.
“Governor Cooper closed schools almost a year ago and he continues to keep the schoolhouse doors locked,” said NCGOP Communications Director Tim Wigginton. “As North Carolina kids suffer in failing virtual schools because of Cooper’s policies, Democrats in the General Assembly will have to pay the political price.  Since Cooper is not up for reelection, he has nothing to lose by placating the NCAE.” 

Here are some key excerpts from the National Review Article:

“‘I am a Democrat. He’s the governor, and a Democratic governor.’”

“And with that explanation, North Carolina state senator Paul Lowe cast the deciding vote to sustain Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a bipartisan bill offering in-person learning for kids. Seldom does a politician so openly declare a preference for party over parents, but honesty is a nice change of pace for elected Democrats in the Tar Heel State.”

“Why did Cooper veto a bill supported by fellow Democrats? Many suspect he was placating the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), a teachers’-union affiliate and longtime ally of Cooper and the North Carolina Democratic Party. The Cooper administration and the NCAE were at odds over the state’s pandemic response leading up to the 2020 election. Outspoken NCAE members demanded Cooper use his executive powers to close all public schools indefinitely.”

“But after the election, we learned that it was just that: an act. Cooper acquiesced to NCAE demands on issues such as prioritizing teacher vaccinations, placing them above cancer patients in the priority list. And in February, Cooper proposed using state dollars to award $2,500 bonuses for teachers and principals and $1,500 bonuses for school staff for their ‘courage and commitment to educating our children.’”

“While Cooper and the NCAE have worked hard to stall Republican efforts to put kids first, it came at a price. Shortly after Cooper’s veto, a flash poll by the John Locke Foundation (where I work) of 600 likely North Carolina voters revealed Cooper at odds with the public: 59 percent supported the reopening bill; 28 percent opposed. Moreover, pluralities opposed Cooper’s veto and would support overriding it. 80 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of Unaffiliateds, and 43 percent of Democrats supported S.B. 37. Nearly three out of four respondents believe the child’s parents or guardians are best suited to decide whether a child should attend in-person or virtual school.”

“It’s not hard to see why. The results of extended remote learning are beginning to come in from state education officials to the state board of education, and they’re not pretty. Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt, a recently elected Republican who has worked across the aisle to reopen schools, reported­ that 23 percent of North Carolina district school students are at risk for academic failure and haven’t made sufficient progress to be promoted to the next grade. In public charter schools, only 9 percent are at risk.”

“Now Democrats want to save face. Their problem with S.B. 37 is that its primary sponsors were Republicans. So now they’re trying to work through the State Board of Education to achieve the same things the bill does.”