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Governor Cooper Highlights How Strong Public Schools Make Strong Communities



Governor Roy Cooper visited Millbrook Magnet High School in Raleigh 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 Millbrook Magnet and Wake 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 outstanding work being done here at Millbrook Magnet and throughout Wake County Public Schools is a perfect example of how critical public education is to the future of our state,” said Governor Cooper. “For many communities, public schools serve as the primary way for students to pursue a high-quality education and as a major source of employment as well. I encourage North Carolinians to contact their legislators and urge them to fully fund public education in our state.”


“In our district, we share the core belief that every student is uniquely capable and deserves to be challenged and engaged in relevant, rigorous, and meaningful learning each day,” said Wake County Public School System Superintendent Robert Taylor. “We are grateful to Governor Cooper for visiting Millbrook Magnet High to learn more about how school leaders and staff live out this belief each and every day to help our students succeed.”


"Our desire at Millbrook Magnet High is to not only graduate career- and college-ready students, but to also see strong, resilient, and highly capable graduates walk across our stage in June," said Millbrook Magnet High School Principal Dr. Brian Saunders. "We are proud of the rich and engaging learning experiences our school offers to help put students on the path toward a bright future."


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 Wake County, 87% of school-aged children attend public schools, and public schools in Wake County and across the state excel at preparing students for success from cradle to career.


  • The 2023 graduation rate for Wake County high school students was 90%.

  • North Carolina public school students earn nearly 250,000 workforce credentials each year while in high school. In 2022, more than 16,400 of those workforce credentials were earned by Wake County students.

  • North Carolina has the most National Board-certified teachers in the nation – one of the highest recognitions teachers can earn. In Wake County, 1,788 teachers (13% of the teaching staff) 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 Wake County could lose nearly $13 million in state education funding just in the first year of the expanded program. That loss in funding not only impacts students, but also Wake County's workforce. In 2022, public schools were Wake County’s largest employer. 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.

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