Roy Cooper signs measures to address effects of pandemic on students

By Carolina Journal Staff

Raleigh, NC – Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday, April 9, signed two bills into law designed to help students who lost more than a year of in-person learning because of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

House Bill 82, Summer Learning Choice for NC Families, establishes learning recovery and enrichment programs districts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on at-risk students. House Bill 387, Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021, modifies implementation of the Read to Achieve program, with the goal of achieving statewide reading proficiency by the third grade.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockinghan, applauded the signing of H.B. 387. 

“I want to thank Governor Cooper for signing the ‘Excellent Public Schools Act’ into law,” Berger said in a statement. “We have a shared priority of ensuring our students are proficient in reading by the end of the third grade, and I believe this will move us closer to that goal. All of our students, but especially those who are struggling to read, will benefit from the improved literacy instruction and interventions.” 

The pandemic has challenged students and teachers like never before, says Cooper.

“Providing a summer opportunity for academic growth plus mental and physical health will help schools begin to address those challenges,” Cooper said in a statement.

“Learning to read early in life is critical for our children and this legislation will help educators improve the way they teach reading. But ultimate success will hinge on attracting and keeping the best teachers with significantly better pay and more help in the classroom with tutoring and instructional coaching.”

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, was a primary sponsor of H.B. 82; Berger, along with Deanna Ballard, R-Watagua, and Michael Lee, R-New Hanover, sponsored the Excellent Schools Act.