Commentary

Editorial: Voucher ruling leaves parents, public in a fog (with audio)

A week after the state Supreme Court ruled that school vouchers were constitutional, the Rocky Mount Telegram writes it’s time for parents to ask some hard questions about the enacted “Opportunity Scholarship” program.

The editorial board writes in Friday’s paper:

School vouchersPublic schools in the Twin Counties alone have plenty of kids who would benefit from a $4,200 per-pupil stipend every year to attend a private school. Almost 70 percent of the 16,000 students in Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools and 85 percent of the 7,500 students in Edgecombe County Public Schools are on a free or reduced price lunch program. If just a quarter of all of those students applied for vouchers, where would the state find money for them? And how would a financially decimated public school system pick up the pieces and move on to educate the rest of our kids?

Those are real issues that school boards and superintendents in systems all over the state will have to wrestle with in the very near future.

While those folks are struggling with finances, parents would be smart to ask some questions, also. For example, how does academic performance at the private school I’m considering compare to performance at the public school where my child is currently enrolled?

Good luck finding an apples-to-apples answer to that. Private schools don’t have to test kids by curriculum standards required of public schools by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Educators in private schools don’t even have to be certified by anyone to teach.

If the N.C. General Assembly is going to require standardized testing in public schools as part of its accountability policy, shouldn’t it require the same of private schools where voucher recipients are spending public tax dollars?

The Supreme Court might have cleared the air on vouchers in North Carolina, but the remaining questions are likely to leave us in the fog for a while to come.

For more on the recent voucher ruling, listen to Chris Fitzsimon’s Friday radio commentary:

4 Comments


  1. Pertains!

    July 31, 2015 at 10:39 am

    How much money per student is given to the public school?

  2. LayintheSmakDown

    August 1, 2015 at 9:23 am

    These are all questions you should ask for any school you put your child in. The public schools would certainly fail in many cases where eligible parents are in this situation…so anything is up from there.
    ….
    Pertian!, the schools get in the range of $8,000 – $10,000. I have not researched the current number exactly. In the case of vouchers, you can see the schools get a pretty great deal! They get to keep more than half of the tax allocation for a student not in their school! That means they have extra space, more to pay teachers etc. Schools are only upset because there is one more mind not being turned to mush by their progressive propaganda.

  3. Pertains!

    August 2, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks!
    I briefly looked for a dollar amount per head but was unsuccessful.
    It appears to me the type of child being highlighted as needing this “opportunity” probably also need more support staff dollars.
    Where this is the case the children will not receive the same services they would in a public school.
    The only benefit I see in this case is a short sighted savings in money to the state by providing a poor quality education at a discount price.

  4. LayintheSmakDown

    August 3, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Yes, but there are a lot of resources out there for the children and with the more personalized education at most of the private schools a bloated administration like in the government schools is likely to continue doing more harm than good. Another point is that if the private school, in the unlikely event that they cannot perform up to the low bar of the government schools, will cease to exist because they will not have anyone attending to pay the bills. At the end of the day, this is a great way for the poor to have some access to a way to get their children out of the failing government schools.

    And the state does not really “save” the money, they will still pay the $4,000 to the private school and then the government schools still get the remaining $5,000.

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