Dem Governor Declares State of Emergency Over Republicans' School Choice Plan

School Choice Week
/ AP
May 23, 2023

Gov. Roy Cooper (D., N.C.) declared a state of emergency in North Carolina on Monday, stating that the Republican legislature's plans to fund school choice programs would drop "an atomic bomb on public education" in North Carolina.

"It’s time to declare a State of Emergency for public education in North Carolina," Cooper said in an address described as "unusual" by local press. The governor went on to say that the declaration was on the same level of importance as a hurricane or pandemic.

"It’s clear that the Republican legislature is aiming to choke the life out of public education," Cooper said. "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 concerns are in reference to state Republicans' plans to expand school voucher programs. Voucher programs allow students and their families to decide between public and private schools and receive funding from the state to attend whichever they choose.

Cooper echoed the criticism of teachers' unions against school choice and vouchers, describing private schools as unaccountable and exclusionary. Despite his criticism, the governor sends his daughter to an all-girls private school where tuition is $32,550 a year.

Past states of emergency in North Carolina have been intended to address events like hurricanes, severe cold weather, and widespread power outages.