Today, Governor Roy Cooper visited Diggs-Latham Elementary in Winston-Salem as part of “The Year of Public Schools” education tour. The Governor was joined by teachers, students, local and state education leaders and local elected officials as he highlighted the outstanding work being done at Diggs-Latham and Forsyth County’s public schools and the ways that public education is strengthening North Carolina’s communities.
The Governor again called for K-12 education and early childhood funding as well as meaningful investments in greater teacher pay in the upcoming legislative session. The Governor also called for a stop to state spending on vouchers for unaccountable and unregulated private schools until North Carolina’s public schools are fully funded.
“The great work being done right here at Diggs-Latham Elementary and in public schools across North Carolina is laying the foundation for the future of our state,” said Governor Cooper. “Public schools are preparing our students to succeed in the arts, STEM and so many other areas. I encourage North Carolinians to reach out to their local legislators and candidates running for office and urge them to make meaningful investments in public education in North Carolina.”
“Diggs-Latham is an outstanding example of the great things that can happen when you combine the arts, academics, culture, and community,” said Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Tricia McManus. “ There is an unwavering commitment by the staff at Diggs Latham to live out high academic standards, curriculum innovation, diversity, and collaboration each day.”
“I am so proud Governor Cooper and his team decided to visit Diggs-Latham,” said Diggs-Latham Elementary School Principal Dr. Cassandra Dobson. “My faculty, staff, and students have worked so hard and receiving both state and national recognition with the Merit School of Distinction Honor is a celebration of our hard work and dedication to advancing children. Our Visual and Performing Arts Magnet Theme and Arts Integration collaboration keep our students engaged and create such a positive learning environment.”
This year, the Governor will highlight North Carolina’s strong public schools, teachers and staff across the state to show the positive impacts of a well-funded public education system on the state’s economy and communities. The Governor will also spotlight the dangers of underfunding our schools while pouring millions of dollars into in an unregulated private school voucher program that sends taxpayer money to private academies.
In Forsyth County, 84% of school-aged children attend public schools, and public schools in Forsyth County and across the state excel at preparing students for success from cradle to career.
- The 2023 graduation rate for Forsyth County high school students was 87%.
- North Carolina public school students earn nearly 250,000 workforce credentials each year while in high school. In 2022, nearly 3,200 of those workforce credentials were earned by Forsyth County students.
- North Carolina has the most National Board-certified teachers in the nation – one of the highest recognitions teachers can earn. In Forsyth County, 211 teachers are Nationally Board-certified.
However, Republican legislators continue to push policies that undermine and politicize public education. The budget enacted by the legislature last year expanded the private school voucher program by $250 million over the next two years, for a total of $4 billion over the next ten years.
- Under the expanded voucher program, public schools in Forsyth County could lose nearly $8.5 million in state education funding just in the first year of the expanded program. That loss in funding not only impacts students, but also Forsyth County's workforce. Public schools are the second-largest employer in Forsyth County.
Legislators also pushed legislation through the General Assembly that will scare teachers into silence by injecting fear and uncertainty into our public school classrooms.
During his final year as Governor, Gov. Cooper is committed to prioritizing public schools and to hearing from the many communities across the state who know that strong public schools ensure we have strong communities.
Read "The Year of Public Schools" proclamation here.
Read the Governor’s remarks from “The Year of Public Schools” launch event here.