scholarship money
North Carolinians deserve the truth about a new school voucher program, but they're not hearing it from some elected leaders.

Politicians mislead on NC voucher program

By Christopher Hill, NC Policy Watch

One of the things people rightfully dislike about their government is when they are not told the truth. Sadly, in the ongoing debate about North Carolina's new school voucher plan many politicians have been doing just that.

In an apparent effort to lessen the controversy, some legislators have been claiming that that it is "essentially a pilot program." It is not. The "Opportunity Scholarship Act" is a full-blown government program similar to ones that have failed miserably in several jurisdictions. It has no expiration date and its sponsors have made plain their intention to expand it.

In explaining the education budget, one state senator wrote:

In regards to the Opportunity Scholarship Act, this is a pilot program for low income families. Many children in low income families are forced to attend low-performing schools because they do not have the opportunity that wealthier families have to move to better schools. We simply want to make sure that everybody has the same opportunity to succeed; it is by no means a sign that lawmakers lack confidence in our public schools.

At least four obvious responses deserve mention:

First, there was nothing in the language of the budget bill (Senate Bill 402) or the House committee meetings at which a stand-alone voucher bill was heard that ever indicated that the scheme was or is, in any way, a "pilot" program. Though the final product is not as extensive as the original plan to spend $100 million over three years on a program that would serve both low-income students and middle-class families, voucher are, by all indications, here to stay.

Second, low-income families would not be "forced to attend low-performing schools" if this legislature were not so adamant about draining resources from our public school by providing money to unaccountable private schools. If legislators really wanted to assist low-income students, they would not put money in a program that has never shown any evidence of raising student achievement. 

Third, this voucher program does not help a majority (or even a large percentage) of low-income students. Only a few students, if any, stand to benefit at from this program -- a program that has failed in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Florida. Most students will remain in public schools. The amount of money provided in the voucher is unlikely to allow any low-income family to pay for any school worth attending. Indeed, there is no requirement for private schools to even accept any students who receive vouchers. Private schools are likely to want to enroll only the best students. The struggling students that the voucher scheme purports to help can be barred from admission through entrance exams or past academic performance, or a variety of non-academic reasons.

Fourth and finally, if this legislature really had confidence in public schools and cared about low-income students, it would follow the constitutional mandate to "provide through taxation or otherwise a general and uniform system of free public schools." The constitution requires funding for public schools. There is no mandate to take state money and provide it to private schools.

The people of North Carolina depend on legislators to be honest with them. They need to be told the truth. Sadly, when it comes to the new school voucher program, some of our leaders are falling short.

 

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North Carolinians deserve the truth about a new school voucher program, but they're not hearing it from some elected leaders.
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Show me the specific

Show me the specific 'constitutional mandate'.

I for one have little to no

I for one have little to no confidence in our current system of public education. Far to many of our youth are graduating from this system that have little to no understanding of the 'fundamental laws' of this land and or their 'unalienable rights'. Our state and nation 'is governed by law', and a basic understanding of our system of jurisprudence I feel is a 'necessity' of adult life.

Further, it seems to teach nothing about home economics (Particularly in Budgets, Debit, Credit, wants v needs.).

These schools (Public Schools) are great at teaching our young men how to apply a condom, and young ladies how to use birth control. The children that attend them are defiantly learning the proper use of expletives via the social networking between children at these schools, as well as, other anti-social behaviors (in my opinion). This not isolated to NC state it is a national problem.

Giving the parents a chance and a choice Via Vouchers to hire Tutors, send their children to private (Charter) schools, or possibly fund home school projects I feel is a good thing. Of course anyone that is currently in some way in the pockets of the tax payers (For the most part Unionized (Public Service Unions) School Boards, Teachers, ETC) will be venimetly against any change.

These (Public Service Unions, affiliations, associations, Etc.) well organized, and sponsored (funded)will pump millions of dollars, and untold man hours into discrediting any attempt to change the current policies. This article seems to be an example.

The public schools certainly

The public schools certainly seem to have failed NC_TAXPAYER_13, wherever s/he might have graduated from them, if only in failing to teach the importance of proof-reading.

Another NC taxpayer from an old and conservative school.

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