The Coalition on Monday released a response to Governor Cooper’s veto of H.B. 618, Charter School Review Board. We are sharing our response in full below. Access a pdf version of the press release here.
Gov. Cooper Wrong to Denounce Charter School Supervisors
Raleigh, NC – On Friday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill to streamline the approval process for public charter schools by creating a new Charter Schools Review Board.
In his veto message, Gov. Cooper used unnecessarily charged language to attack public charter school supervisors, calling the new board a “commission of political friends and extremists.”
We’re a bipartisan organization that has praised, endorsed, and otherwise supported both Democrats and Republicans. But when a policymaker, even the Governor, makes such a wrongheaded public statement, we feel compelled to respond.
The new board created by House Bill 618 would be appointed in the same exact manner as the body it partly replaces, the Charter Schools Advisory Board (CSAB).
CSAB is not comprised of hacks and “extremists,” as Gov. Cooper would have people believe. Taken together, CSAB’s eleven members have 295 years of combined education experience, including in managing and overseeing public charter schools.
CSAB’s chair, Bruce Friend, has been an education professional for 30 years. One member is a professor at N.C. State University with a doctorate in financial economics. Another operates one of the longest-serving charter schools in the state and has a doctorate in education. The list goes on.
It appears that Gov. Cooper’s basis for attacking the new Charter Schools Review Board is the fact that the legislature would appoint a majority of its members.
Even though Gov. Cooper appoints a majority to the State Board of Education, we have not, nor would we ever, call that body a “commission of political friends and extremists.”
The Board of Education’s chair is an engineer by training. Its vice chair is a partner at a law firm. Despite those backgrounds, we consider both to be qualified and capable members, not mere “political friends” to the Governor.
And despite past controversies involving the State Board of Education, we do not consider its members to be “extremists.”
Gov. Cooper’s statement about public charter school supervisors was off the mark. Public charter schools offer North Carolina children innovative curricula. They complement, rather than compete with, district schools.
Those who oversee public charter schools approach their work with rigor and good faith. They deserve to be treated as the professionals they are.