A school test

Published May 2, 2024

By Gary Pearce

The Republican legislature may not vote for Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s school plan, but North Carolinians can in November.

The Governor has drawn a line in the sand – and a clear line of difference between the two parties.

Cooper’s plan:

*      5% teacher pay raise this year
*      $1,500 retention bonus
*       restore master’s degree pay for teachers
*      more teacher assistants
*      an expansion of teaching fellow scholarships “to encourage more young people to become teachers.”
*     $2.5 billion bond issue to build new schools.

He called for a freeze on the Republican plan: They defund public schools – then claim they’re “failing.” They shift $1 billion in taxpayer money to private schools. They take money away from struggling rural schools and give it to wealthy parents who send their children to schools like Ravenscroft in Raleigh.

On top of that, Republicans have nominated two candidates who hate public schools – Mark Robinson and Michele Morrow – to govern the schools.

Cooper said in his budget proposal:

“I have declared 2024 the Year of Public Schools in North Carolina and in my travels have witnessed the great things our public school teachers are doing and how much North Carolinians love their schools. They want us to invest so their children can learn and be successful. The best indicator for success of a child in K-12 education is whether they have a great teacher in the classroom.”

There are 1.3 million students in North Carolina’s public schools. For each one of them, there are one or two or four or more parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, friends and neighbors who can vote.

Democrats need to clearly lay out the choice for those voters.

Now we’ll see if Republicans pass the test.