In the News

As the source for parental school choice in our state, PEFNC is often asked to provide commentary on educational choice.

Advocates rally for scholarship expansion during ‘School Choice Week’ in Raleigh

By Joseph Holloway

January 24, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — School choice advocates celebrated “School Choice Week” outside the state legislative building Wednesday.

A popular topic at Wednesday’s rally was the expansion of the state’s opportunity scholarships, which provide families with thousands of dollars to put toward a private school education. As part of the state budget, all students could now be eligible for those vouchers.

The group, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), is hosting seminars to help people understand the application process.

Republican leaders celebrate school choice and expansion of private vouchers

By Liz Bell

January 24, 2024

Legislative leaders and private school educators, parents, and students celebrated National School Choice Week and the expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship program in last year’s budget at a rally at the legislature Wednesday.

Applications for the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program, which provides state-funded vouchers for students to attend private schools, are set to open next week as Gov. Roy Cooper calls for a moratorium on the program.

Following Cooper’s declaration on Tuesday of 2024 as the “Year of Public Schools,” Republican legislative and state leaders at the rally lifted up the importance of parental choice in their children’s education.

Cooper, a Democrat, called for the suspension of private vouchers until public schools are “fully funded” on Tuesday. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said Wednesday the program will start accepting applications next week for the 2024-25 school year without income eligibility requirements, which were removed in last year’s budget.

NC celebrates National School Choice Week

By David Bass

January 24, 2024

Advocates gathered in downtown Raleigh Jan. 24 to celebrate National School Choice Week during a year when universal school choice is coming to the Tar Heel State.

Held this year from Jan. 21-27, National School Choice Week is a nationwide celebration of diversity in educational options. There are a total of 27,112 school choice events planned across the 50 states for this week.

The event on Halifax Mall in Raleigh, sponsored by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, included remarks from several key lawmakers who have been instrumental in bringing greater school choice to the state.

Student Showcase to Celebrate Newly Expanded School Scholarship

By PR Newswire

January 17, 2024

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanks to the historic expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship, North Carolina students have a new chance to find success in school. Join families in celebrating the scholarship and learning how to apply at a student showcase on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Hosted by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, the celebratory event will take place 10 a.m. to noon at Halifax Mall, behind the North Carolina Legislative Building. All are welcome to attend and show their enthusiasm for the state-run private school scholarship. North Carolina's budget, passed in 2023, made every K-12 student in the state eligible to apply for the Opportunity Scholarship.

National School Choice Week begins next week

By A.P. Dillon

January 17, 2024

RALEIGH — National School Choice Week this year will be held from Jan. 21 through Jan. 27. 

According to National School Choice Week’s (NSCW) official website, over 27,000 events are planned across all 50 states. Additionally, 70 flagship events in 46 states will be held this year. 

Notable annual events being held in North Carolina include: 

Jan. 24 – Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina will hold an event that includes a student showcase, student performances and remarks from legislative leaders from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its office in Raleigh. NSCW considers this a “flagship” event. Registration for the event is requested: 

Where do NC students go to school? Trends show decline at traditional public schools

By Liz Schlemmer

December 28, 2023

The share of North Carolina students attending traditional public schools has fallen as more students move to public charter schools, private schools and home schools.

Back in 2013, about 85% of North Carolina students attended their local K-12 public school. Last school year, that percentage fell to fewer than 77%, because more students have moved to other methods of schooling.

Enrollment at charter schools and private schools has grown steadily year-over-year for the past decade. The share of students being homeschooled grew annually until it peaked in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If these trends continue, it will have financial consequences for the public school districts that still serve a large majority of students and are required to accept all students regardless of their needs.

NC is a national leader in charter and private school growth. Good news or a threat?

December 19, 2023

North Carolina has been one of the fastest-growing states in enrollment for private schools and charter schools since the COVID-19 pandemic. The state had the nation’s fifth-highest growth in private school enrollment since the 2019-20 school year, according to data released Tuesday by the Associated Press. During that same time period, North Carolina had the third-highest growth rate in the nation in charter school enrollment, according to a report released last week. The growth in charter schools and private schools coincides with continuing declines in enrollment in traditional public schools.

It’s a trend that could accelerate with state lawmakers approving universal private school vouchers and making it easier for charter schools to get approved and to add more students.

“North Carolina has shifted culturally and ideologically to where more people across the state say families should be empowered with school choice,” Brian Jodice, vice president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, said in an interview. “Parents should be able to choose where they want to go regardless of their ZIP code or their income.”

Enrollment at traditional public schools declines for the first time since pandemic

By Chantal Brown

November 28, 2023

Public school enrollment has increased slightly in North Carolina since the last school year. However, for the first time since the pandemic, traditional public schools observed a decrease in students while charter school enrollment continues to rise. 

In October, the state Department of Public Instruction released its first look at how many students are in the state’s public schools for the 2023-24 school year. 

According to the state’s most recent numbers, traditional public schools lost 0.4% of students from last year to this year and are down 3.6% overall from before COVID-19. Charter schools gained 4.5% over last year and are up 24.6% from before the pandemic.

School Choice for Eastern North Carolina

By Dawn Baldwin Gibson

October 14, 2023

The landscape for school choice in North Carolina has drastically changed in our state after the NC General Assembly passed its budget. There has been much debate and heated rhetoric around this issue. However, it is important to share the facts about the expanded school choice opportunities most specifically the Opportunity Scholarship.

Over the coming months, this column will seek to provide a clear and concise view of the school choice landscape. After the global pandemic of COVID19, parents have explored their educational options that have included: charter, home, private and public schools.

North Carolina becomes ninth state to approve universal school choice

By David Hicks

October 6, 2023

North Carolina lawmakers have approved a sweeping expansion of its Opportunity Scholarship Program, providing more school choice for children in The Tar Heel State. In doing so, the state joins Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia in approving universal school choice; expanding educational opportunities for more families.

The Republican-led legislature passed the expansion of the program, begun in 2014. Democrat Governor Roy Cooper, an opponent of school choice, announced he will allow the legislation to become law without his signature. Interestingly, Governor Cooper, like Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, opposes school choice for all but his family.