N.C. Judge Puts Brakes on Private School Voucher Program

Dailypost130 268

Private school vouchers are an education hot topic in N.C. this year. In 2013, a private school voucher program – called Opportunity Scholarships – passed, meaning students whose families fell into a certain income bracket could apply to receive financial help to attend a private school.

On the surface, it seems benign to me – simply put, give more children more choices – but then I heard the many arguments against the vouchers. The latest in the debate is an injunction by Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood on the Opportunity Scholarships.

The argument against private school vouchers is that it takes public funds away from public schools to fund private school education. And let’s face it, N.C. public schools are underfunded, starting with teacher salaries and overcrowded classrooms … yes there’s room for more money to help boost our public schools.

I like the idea of children from all economic backgrounds having equal opportunity, but I have to say as a parent who is about to put her child in public school, I don’t think it’s time to divert funds away from public schools. Would it be better if all families, despite economic status could apply for vouchers? Maybe. Then at least all who pay in have the opportunity, but that’s not how it’s set up.

The injunction affects 2,400 low-income students who had applied for the scholarships and were making plans to attend private school in the fall of 2014. And though I do think “opportunity scholarships” aren’t a bad idea, it seems it’s something private entitites, perhaps big corporations throughout the state, could offer.

I’m a believer in choice, but for now though, I have to say keep public money in the public schools, and work to make the home schools of students who may be applying for these scholarships so great they don’t need to seek anywhere else for their education.