North Carolina Legislature Passes Educational Choice Program

Washington, D.C. (July 25, 2013) – The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, today applauded the North Carolina Legislature for taking a historic step by passing the nation’s newest statewide voucher program. The new Opportunity Scholarship program was passed yesterday as part of the state budget, which is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory. The bipartisan-sponsored and supported Opportunity Scholarship program is tailored to assist low-income families in obtaining high-quality educational options for their children.

“North Carolina’s educational choice program will empower parents and offer children from low-income families the opportunity to reach the educational environment best suited for their needs,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel to the American Federation for Children. “North Carolina is a state in which the American Federation for Children has been heavily involved, and today’s legislative success demonstrates the tremendous momentum educational choice has nationwide.”

The American Federation for Children invested significant effort in North Carolina, which will become the third state this year to create a new statewide education choice program. An estimated 750,000 children will be eligible when the program takes effect in 2014-15 school year. Low-income families who qualify will be able to use a $4,200 voucher to send their child to the school of their choice. The program also includes strong testing and accountability measures.

“We are grateful for the strong local support and leadership from Darrell Allison and his team at Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), who have been tireless advocates for education reform,” added Chavous. “We would also like to commend the bold and courageous leadership of the original sponsors of the Opportunity Scholarship Act, Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg), Rep. Brian Brown (R-Pitt), Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford) and Rep. Ed Hanes (D-Forsyth). This program is a step in the right direction, and we will continue to advocate and work with the legislature and Gov. McCrory to expand parental choice and help more disadvantaged children across the state.”

The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to create and expand additional, high-quality educational options for families.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

Darrell Allison, President, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina:
“The Opportunity Scholarship Act and Children with Disabilities Scholarship Grants represent a growing momentum in our state to ensure that every child receives the education best suited to their needs, which we know will help increase the quality of education they receive.”

Habibah Beverly, North Carolina Public School Parent:
“When my children got here, they were doing stuff they did two years ago. My children are public school kids, but should they have to get a standard education because we are lower income? I don’t think that’s fair either.”

Sarah Curry, Director of Fiscal Policy Studies, John Locke Foundation:
“Over time, incorporation of the opportunity scholarship has the potential to serve low-income students’ educational needs more effectively, while spending tax dollars more efficiently.”

Bob Luebke, Senior Policy Analyst, Civitas Institute:
“The Opportunity Scholarship Grant is about fairness and providing children another chance. Of course we all want strong public schools that meet the needs of all students. However that goal must be balanced against the reality that all students are different. Who better than parents can determine what school best fits the needs of their child? Many parents already have the ability to make that choice. The Opportunity Scholarship Grant provides low income families the ability to choose the type of school that is best for their child.”