Crisis of Leadership: Cooper Running Out the Clock Instead of Acting on School Reopening Bill

On politically charged issue that risks angering the far-left NCAE, Cooper is punting instead of leading

School reopening bill on his desk has been in the public for weeks, yet he refuses to sign it or veto it

Raleigh, N.C. — Bipartisan supermajorities in the North Carolina General Assembly sent Gov. Roy Cooper a bill to reopen schools last week. The two-page legislation has been in the public for weeks.

Parents, some of whom have never before been politically active, have signaled their overwhelming support for the measure. Some have even purchased giant billboards imploring leaders to act.

But the far-left N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) opposes the bill, mirroring a nationwide trend: Health and education experts say schools should be reopened immediately, but teachers’ unions are flexing their political muscle to withhold in-person education from children.

Sen. Deanna Ballard, who co-chairs the Senate Education Committee, said, “Reopening schools is a national issue that impacts millions of families, especially working mothers. People are looking to their government for leadership, yet all they’re getting from the Governor is inaction. Gov. Cooper needs to either sign or veto the bill; continuing to procrastinate does nothing but hold our kids back.”

Last week, parent advocates spoke up about their need for action from Gov. Cooper. Here’s what two parents said:

Kelly Mann, a Wake County mother who has passionately advocated for her, and all, children’s return to school, said, “This is not a question about bars. This is not a question about bowling alleys. This is about children. Dragging this decision out for another 10 days would be yet another affront to parents who desperately want some certainty in their children’s education. I hope Gov. Cooper makes a decision now so we can move on to the next step.”

Christine Hanks, a Carteret County mother who has also passionately advocated for a return to school, said, “It’s time to put students first. The power to get students back in the classroom is sitting on Gov. Cooper’s desk. I hope the Governor signs this bill, but even if he chooses not to, it’s just not right to drag this out for another week and a half. Act now.”

The science showing students can safely return to the classroom is overwhelming, as is the evidence that continuing to withhold in-person instruction from children will cause further short- and long-term devastation.

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.

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