Starting next year, every family in North Carolina will have the option to send their children to the school of their choice.
On Friday, the North Carolina General Assembly approved in the state budget a nearly 300 percent funding increase for its Opportunity Scholarship program, which since 2013 has offered vouchers for lower income students to attend private schools. At the same time, the legislature eliminated all income-based restrictions for the school choice initiative, meaning that every young person in the state who wishes to attend a private educational institution will now be able to do so (though scholarship amounts decline with higher income levels). Meanwhile, state employees – including public school teachers – will receive a seven percent raise.
North Carolina adds to evidence from Illinois – where public school funding is up by almost $2 billion despite a (now-endangered) tax credit for donations to private schools – that educational choice is not a zero-sum game.
North Carolina’s action makes it the tenth state in the nation to offer universal school choice. Governor Roy Cooper announced that he will back off a threat to veto the funding. The program’s future is all but guaranteed.
School choice offers families the chance to create better lives for the next generation. It allows parents to choose a school that fits their child’s particular needs and reflects their own values – options Protect The 1st believes empower parents to exercise their First Amendment rights by extending their standards and values across generations. Moreover, it provides a hopeful alternative for those children relegated to under-performing public schools.
Protect The 1st applauds the North Carolina General Assembly and congratulates Tar Heel State parents, who will no longer have to choose between an empty bank account and limited options in educational choices for their children. Our eyes turn next to Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott intends to call a special legislative session next month to address this same issue. Will Texas become the 11th state?