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Praise, condemnation for NC Supreme Court ruling upholding school voucher program

In a 4-3 decision, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Thursday the state’s school voucher program is constitutional. The ruling brought immediate reaction on both sides of the issue.

From voucher supporters:

School vouchers“I came to office promising to defend and expand educational opportunities for all children and all families regardless of circumstance. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a victory for every parent whose child is being underserved in North Carolina. This is a victory for choice, and it’s a victory for North Carolina students and their families.”   — Governor Pat McCrory

“We join the thousands of families across the state who are celebrating today because the Court has given them the legal right to exercise educational choice through the Opportunity Scholarship Program. We are thrilled for the many low-income students currently on the Program and the many more who need this option in the future.” — Darrell Allison, President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC)

“Two-hundred and twenty-four schools have worked with parents to allow students to attend the school of their choice. Today’s court decision means that more families will have realistic access to educational options for their children.We will continue to work to expand the Opportunity Scholarship Program, so more student can be placed in an educational setting that is right for them.” — Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake)

From voucher opponents:

“Today is a sad day for any North Carolinian who cares about public education.  The North Carolina Supreme Court disregarded the plain language of our state Constitution, which provides that public funds for education must be used “exclusively” to support the public schools.  A voucher scheme that lacks standards and accountability will be allowed to continue draining funds from our public schools, harming students across our state and undermining the foundation of North Carolina’s prosperity.” — Christine Bischoff, staff attorney NC Justice Center

“This decision will continue the damage being done to our public schools and students by allowing private vouchers to drain money from our already underfunded schools. We believe the Constitution is clear; public funds for education should be used exclusively for public schools. NCAE will continue to fight for giving our students the resources to be successful like modern textbooks and technology, more one-on-one interaction with teachers, and a quality educator in every class.” — NCAE President Rodney Ellis

“We cannot fathom how this decision upholds the constitutional promise that all children receive a sound, basic education within the public school system.”  — Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of Public Schools First NC

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