Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed the bill passed by the North Carolina legislature with bipartisan votes to revise the “Read to Achieve” program.
In a press release, Bill D’Elia, spokesman for the office of President Pro Tem of the Senate Phil Berger, states, “The real reason Governor Cooper blocked this early childhood reading program is because of the name of the bill sponsor: Phil Berger. Blocking a kids reading program written in part by his own appointees is a clear failure of leadership from Governor Cooper and another black eye for an administration floundering in its attempt to govern our state.”
Cooper said he vetoed the bill because the program was ineffective and expensive.
Cooper is correct that since the Read to Achieve program was started in 2012, reading scores for third graders have gone down rather than up. But if the program were working, it is unlikely the legislature would have passed a bill to revise it.
The press release also noted that Cooper’s appointee to the State Board of Education, J.B. Buxton, helped write the bill and said, “I appreciate the collaborative approach taken to craft this bill. The policies passed by the Senate today will provide additional support for teachers and students to help further our mutual goal of significantly improving reading outcomes of students.”
It’s a particularly meaningful quote when you realize that the first time Cooper attempted to appoint Buxton to the State Board of Education, Berger blocked the appointment. Cooper later appointed Buxton to a seat that did not require state Senate confirmation.
The bill that Cooper vetoed passed the Senate unanimously, which means the Democrats in the Senate agreed more with Buxton’s analysis of the bill than Cooper’s.