by Anna Manning
Governor Cooper isn’t the only Democratic governor going after school choice.
Yet Governor Evers isn’t the only Democratic governor seeking to undo programs that increase education choice and opportunities for children and their parents. Evers’ Democratic counterpart in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper, is also making a move to unravel a the state opportunity scholarship program with his new budget.
“Gov. Cooper wages war on low-income parents and children by cutting off their access to $4,200 private school scholarships,” explains Terry Stoops vice president of research and director of education studies at the John Locke Foundation, a Raleigh-based think tank. “Cooper would cut around $28.7 million in recurring and $33 million in nonrecurring funding for the Opportunity Scholarship Program in 2019-20. There would be a $44.1 million recurring cut in 2020-21.”
The language of Gov. Cooper’s budget proposal makes it clear, stating “No scholarships will be awarded to new applicants beginning in FY 2019-20.”
There is a silver lining for students and parents who benefit from and rely on the Tar Heel State’s opportunity scholarship program, which is that Republicans who vehemently disagree with Gov. Cooper on this issue hold majorities in both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly.
“Republicans believe that every person deserves a fair shot to create his or her own success regardless of ZIP code, color, or family income,” said North Carolina Senate President Phil Berger (R). “Every child is different, and parents deserve to have the power and the opportunity to choose the learning environment that’s best for their kids. We removed the arbitrary cap on public charter schools, and we created the Opportunity Scholarship so children from low-income families aren’t left behind simply because of the condition of their birth or the place their parents can afford to live”
The same dynamic is at play in Wisconsin, where Republican control of the state legislature allows Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) to protect Wisconsin families from Gov. Evers’ attempt to reduce school choice in the Badger State.
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