Thursday, March 7, 2024

Governor Cooper Tours Hertford County Early College High School, Highlights How Strong Public Schools Make Strong Communities Gov. Cooper Declared 2024 as “The Year of Public Schools”

Mar 7, 2024

Today, Governor Roy Cooper visited Hertford County Early College High School 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 Hertford County Early College High School and Hertford County Public Schools and the ways that public education is strengthening North Carolina’s communities.

The Governor again called for fully funding K-12 education as well as meaningful investments in early childhood education and 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.

“North Carolina public schools offer opportunities like early college that ready our students for their future, whether it be entering the workforce or higher education,” said Governor Cooper. “Our public schools need to be fully funded so students are given the best resources to succeed.”

“I am honored to welcome Governor Cooper to Hertford County Public Schools as we celebrate 'The Year of Public Schools' in North Carolina. Hertford County Public Schools aims to foster a safe, nurturing environment that serves all students and families through quality education, diversity, and innovative opportunities,” said HCPS Superintendent Dr. Jesse Pratt. “We are dedicated to ensuring our graduates are globally competitive and equipped for success in an ever-evolving world."

“Each student holds their own dreams and aspirations of what comes next in their life and that is what makes public schools and public educators so important. Public schools turn those dreams and aspirations into a reality and our teachers do this everyday at Hertford County Early College,” said ECHS Principal Dr. Lyndsey Britt. “The public school system in North Carolina aims to provide students the same great quality of education no matter where a student lives, and at Hertford County Early College, our goal is to continue to show students that you can achieve great things from anywhere.”

Early colleges like Hertford County Early College High School provide students the opportunity to earn college credit and work towards an associate degree while in high school. Hertford County Early College High School partners with Roanoke Chowan Community College.

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 an unregulated private school voucher program that sends taxpayer money to private academies.

In Hertford County, 77% of school-aged children attend public schools, and public schools in Hertford County and across the state excel at preparing students for success from cradle to career.

  • The 2023 graduation rate for Hertford County was 82%.
  • In 2023, North Carolina public school students earned more than 325,000 workforce credentials while in high school. 875 of those workforce credentials were earned by Hertford County students
  • In 2023, more than one-third of North Carolina high school graduates and 50% of graduates from Hertford County took a college course for credit while in high school.

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 Hertford County could lose over $650,000 in state education funding just in the first year of the expanded program. That loss in funding not only impacts students, but also Hertford County’s workforce. Public schools are the fourth-largest employer in Hertford County.

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.


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