Vouching for vouchers

Another day, another giant backward step for the future of North Carolina. This morning we got the conformation of what we’ve been expecting to see for months now – North Carolina will be the latest state to consider school vouchers.

In an “exclusive interview” with the John Locke Foundation, Paul Stam laid out his $90 million plan to bleed our public schools of money while enriching corporations, all at the expense of our children.  And his reasoning for this program? Why, to save money, of course.

It now costs state and local governments $6,745 to educate a typical child in public school, and $8,414 when including federal allocations, according to Stam. The average opportunity scholarship is expected to be $3,990, according to a fiscal analysis memorandum by the legislative Fiscal Research Division.

Keep in mind that North Carolina is already near the bottom (two from the bottom, actually) of what we spend on a per-pupil basis. Stam’s proposal would further reduce our spending by more than $17 million for the 2013-2014 school year, and more than $25 million in the next school year, according to the fiscal analysis. 

The total bill for this plan will be in excess of $90 million dollars over the next two years, all in public money Rep. Stam wants to give to private schools. These schools can be religious schools or they can be for-profit schools – it doesn’t matter to Stam. He just wants to spend as little money as possible on education.

Is this really how we want North Carolina to be known throughout the country? As the state which views educating the next generation as a burden, rather than a sacred duty? Shouldn’t we be looking at public education as an investment, rather than an expense?

All of these questions will be asked in the coming days when the bill is actually filed, but based on what we’ve seen so far from this General Assembly, it is pretty clear that they are willing to sell-out our children’s future for next to nothing.

If you’re interested in keeping up to date on so-called education “reforms” in North Carolina, join our Keep Our Kids First campaign and we’ll be in touch.


  1. Chris

    April 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Paul Stam should move back to NJ.

  2. Vann Hoff

    April 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    NJ has the highest per capita funding for education of all, and is notoriously low on the standardized performance measures (at one point, dead last!). California has seen great increases in their public funding for education since the 1970’s, yet their SAT scores have unfortunately declined. I don’t think that simply spending more on education is the answer, and indeed it seems that (at least some of) the data suggest just the opposite.

  3. Kevin Rogers

    April 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Well, if we’re going to talk about NJ, you will notice if you parse the data, the school districts that spend more per-pupil have better outcomes than those who spend less by a substantial margin. NJ’s school districts are funded on property taxes, which leaves huge variations in economic distribution (ie. rich towns have lots of money, poor town have little.) While it’s hardly a model for funding in NC, it is illustrative that, generally speaking, more money will buy a better education. I’m not saying that we need to raise our spending levels to that of NJ, but when you’re 48th in per-pupil spending and sinking, there is plenty of room for reasonable improvement.

  4. Chris

    April 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    The ONLY reason I mentioned NJ is because that is where he came from, and my suggestion for him to return there is better than where I was going to tell him to go, since that would probably get moderated.

    As I said before in another post, I prefer effective spending over simply more spending, but this ridiculous notion that charter/private schools deserve public funding because there they can not teach children science in lieu of religious nonsense is preposterous. The Boomer generation needs to realize that they squandered their Social Security irresponsibly (borrowed from the Trust Fund to pay for their tax cuts and still racked up trillions in debt) and should therefore desire to have the smartest most capable generations to shoulder the burdens of their retirement and outrageous public debt while leading this country into a bold new era that the Boomers have stumbled with since the Cold War ended.

    So, let’s all, regardless of political leaning, keep that in mind when we ever get tempted to shortchange education funding on future generations. Don’t make death panels a viable option to take care of the old who didn’t take care of us when we needed them.

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