North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declares ‘state of emergency’ over school choice bill

By Lindsay Kornick 

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a “state of emergency” on Monday in an attempt to stop a school choice bill from passing the state legislature.

Cooper released a video announcement where he declared a state of emergency, arguing that the state of public education is “no less important” than other emergencies.

“It’s time to declare a State of Emergency for public education in North Carolina. There’s no Executive Order like with a hurricane or the pandemic, but it’s no less important,” Cooper stated.

He continued, “It’s clear that the Republican legislature is aiming to choke the life out of public education. I’m declaring this 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.”

Cooper’s announcement drew intense backlash on Twitter as an overreach of government power.

The Blaze columnist Auron MacIntyre wrote, “Executive governing in the permanent state of exception to save democracy.”

“Neutering the abuse of emergency power by the executive branch should be priority number 1 for every state,” Conservative account “PoliMath” tweeted.

School choice advocate Corey DeAngelis wrote, “they’re losing control over the minds of other people’s children. good. cry harder, @RoyCooperNC.”

“What a hypocrite. Public schools aren’t good enough for his kids, but they are for yours,” Independent Women’s Forum senior policy analyst Kelsey Bolar blasted.

Purple Strategies partner Rory Cooper commented, “If I *were* the Governor of NC, I would’ve been declaring a state of emergency when the state was in the bottom third of states reopening schools and depriving children of the education they needed. Not once parents got involved and demanded something better for their kids.”

“A ‘state of emergency’ over a bill passed by the legislature. Very serious,” Americans for Prosperity vice president Casey Mattox joked.

In April, Republican lawmakers in North Carolina announced efforts to move forward with education reform bills that promote school choice. One measure includes a bill that would provide equal funding to charter school students along those who attend public school. Critics, such as Cooper, claimed that the bill mostly serves to cut funding for public schools.

“Put together, these ideas spell disaster that requires emergency action. The North Carolina I know was built on support for public schools, and we can’t let the legislature tear them down. I’m fighting back, and I need you to do it too. Public schools can survive this legislative session if we can limit the damage, but we all need to pull together to do it,” Cooper said.

The measures by state Republicans followed the announcement by State Rep. Tricia Cotham that she would be defecting from the Democratic Party to join the GOP. Her decision, she stated at the time, came from her support for school choice.

“On issues like school choice, like charters, we have to evolve,” Cotham said. “One-size-fits-all in education is wrong for children … [Democrats] didn’t really want to talk about children. They had talking points from adults and adult organizations.”

North Carolina state Rep. Tricia Cotham announced she was switching affiliation to the Republican Party at a news conference Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum)

Cooper has been criticized for opposing private school vouchers while sending his daughter to a private school in Raleigh. He has also attempted to end the state’s Opportunity Scholarship Program which provides vouchers to lower and middle-income students.

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Comments (1)

  • Is this one man disavowing what his people want. Or maybe being told what to do by the teachers unions. The North Carolina legislator, elected by the people, voted for this. I can’t believe any parent would be against it. But this Governor veto’s it, WHY!

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