JLF’s Terry Stoops in National Review: One Governor is Standing in the Way of Opening Schools

RALEIGH – Dr. Terry Stoops is the resident education expert for the John Locke Foundation and associated organizations here in North Carolina. A deep well of policy knowledge, consistency in First Principles, and the gumption to honestly consider the actual cause and effects of policy and politics makes for insightful analysis.

That’s what Stoops delivers in National Review Online as he adeptly writes out a proof, for the relatively concise conclusion that ONE MAN stands in the way of opening schools in North Carolina.

Well, one governor.

From National Review Online:

“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.

Bless their hearts. […]

“Children should be back in the classroom safely, and I can sign this legislation if it adheres to DHHS health safety guidance for schools and protects the ability of state and local leaders to respond to emergencies,” Cooper complained. “This bill currently falls short on both of these fronts.” While kids and parents suffered, the governor stalled. Nine days later, in a textbook Friday afternoon news dump last week, he vetoed the legislation at 4:54 p.m.

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 Cooper understood that such a dictatorial declaration would not sit well with an electorate struggling to balance the demands of work with mandated remote learning. His election opponent, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, had promised voters to open schools immediately. Cooper struck a middle ground, acknowledging public school teachers’ concerns while carving out additional opportunities for districts to expand in-person instruction. Caution and optimism became a recurring theme of his televised briefings, and it appealed to a weary electorate. Cooper’s balancing act won him a narrow reelection, with just over 51.5 percent of the vote.

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.” All of this, inexplicably, for a self-described union in decline: According to the latest membership data available, the group lost a third of its active membership over the last five years. Today, it represents only around one in five North Carolina public-school teachers. […]”

Roy Cooper caving to the Radical Leftists at the NCAE used to be a habit recognized mostly by conservatives with a heavy engagement in local and state politics, but the Pandemic Panic Policies have forced everyone to look at just what is motivating the decisions of our governor.

Indeed, Dr. Stoops shows that most North Carolinians have had it with the non-sense of school closures, a big majority supported SB37, and a plurality support an override of his veto. For that evidence and a great summary of Cooper and the Left’s hypocritical hysteria surrounding school reopening, continue reading the piece here.

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