RALEIGH – Catherine Truitt, the Republican nominee for N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction, outlined her approach to reopening North Carolina’s schools on Tuesday. Truitt currently serves as chancellor of nonprofit Western Governors University North Carolina and has three children in Wake County Public Schools.
“Gov. Roy Cooper and state officials will roll out a ‘one-size-fits-all’ plan that will tell all 115 of North Carolina’s public school systems and hundreds of public charter schools how they can reopen this fall,” said Truitt. “Unfortunately, it will turn out to be a ‘one-size-fits-none’ dictate that just won’t work for our schools and our students. There is a better way.”
Truitt says her approach would be start with three things: giving local leaders control, giving parents a voice and giving students hope.
“More than anything our children deserve hope,” Truitt concluded, “hope that they will receive a quality education, hope that they will have an equal opportunity for success, and hope that they will be treated fairly regardless of their socioeconomic status, race or gender. Sadly, the closing of schools due to COVID-19 has widened the gap between the have and the have-nots.”
Truitt echoed guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics which states that “Policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 must be balanced with the known harms to children, teenagers, families and the community by keeping children at home” and its recommendation that “no child or adolescent should be excluded from school unless there is a local public mandate or unique medical need.”
N.C. Sens. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga) and Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth) called on Cooper to reopen schools, saying in a joint statement, “We urge Gov. Cooper to follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and reopen schools on August 17 for in-classroom instruction.”
“I’ve heard it said that ‘if you’ve been to one county, you’ve been to one county,’” Truitt continued. “North Carolina is a large, diverse state, and one size simply does not fit all. Local school board members and superintendents know the needs and challenges facing their communities far better than someone sitting inside the Raleigh beltway. The state should respect whatever decision each school system makes and provide the support and guidance the system needs.”
On Tuesday night, Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said that school reopening plans would not be discussed at the next media briefing at the Emergency Operations Center.