Rep. Tricia Cotham ran for office as a Democrat and was elected as a Democrat. She had previously been Teacher-of-the-Year and claimed to be a strong advocate for the state’s beleaguered public schools. She switched her party and joined the Republicans, giving them the one vote they needed to have a supermajority in both houses. Republicans can now override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s vetos.

The NC General Assembly has been consistently hostile to public schools and to teachers. They have authorized charter schools, including for-profit schools, and vouchers. Many financial scandals have marked the charter sector.

Yet Rep. Cotham just voted to give the Republican-dominated General Assembly contro of charters. No critics or skeptics allowed!

Former Democratic lawmaker Tricia Cotham sealed her move to the Republican Party this week by co-sponsoring a bill that would remove the State Board of Education from the charter school approval process.

Under House Bill 618, that approval would be handed over to a new Charter School Review Board, whose members must be “charter school advocates in North Carolina.”

The new review board would replace the Charter School Advisory Board.

Most members of the new review board would be chosen by the General Assembly, which is currently led by state Republicans. The review board’s membership would include the State Superintendent of Public Instruction or a designee, four members appointed by the House, four by the Senate and two members appointed by the state board.

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