John Locke Update / Research Brief

One Governor Is Standing in the Way of Opening Schools

posted on in COVID-19 Series, Education, Education (PreK-12), Human Flourishing, Law & Regulation
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Note: This article was originally published on March 5, 2021, in National Review.

“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.

On February 1, Republican state senators Deanna Ballard, Michael Lee, and Ralph Hise filed Senate Bill 37: In-Person Learning Choice for Families. The bill sponsors recognized that a scientific consensus had emerged on reopening schools, one that supported “decisive action” through a bill that expedited students’ return to the classroom. “For months, we’ve heard from families and students who are clamoring to return to in-person learning,” Ballard and Lee said. “The science and data show that we can reopen schools safely.”

The legislation presented to the General Assembly was even-handed, balancing school districts’ needs with demand for in-person instruction among students and parents. It mandated that special-needs students have access to full-time, in-person instruction. It gave school boards the ability to offer a range of in-person options to all other students. It expected that schools would enforce measures to mitigate COVID transmission, and empowered school boards to suspend in-person learning if infections caused staffing levels to plummet or infection rates to surge.

This measured approach led to quick passage in the state senate and house with bipartisan supermajorities. …

For the full article, please click here to read Stoops’ piece in National Review.

Dr. Stoops is the director of the Center for Effective Education. Before joining the Locke Foundation in 2005, he worked as the program assistant for the Child Welfare Education Programs at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. He… ...

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