Parents & Families

Parental school choice represents a simple but powerful idea: parents should be empowered to decide which school best meets their child’s needs, regardless of their address or income.

Parental school choice represents a simple but powerful idea: parents should be empowered to decide which school best meets their child’s needs, regardless of their address or income. Parents might decide that a traditional public school, a public charter school, a private school, or even a home school is the best educational environment for their child. But the bottom line is that they, not someone else, get to make this choice. 

North Carolina offers parents a range of traditional and non-traditional schooling options as well as three state-sponsored private school choice programs. In fact, over 380,000 students in North Carolina now attend non-traditional schools – either through public charter schools, private schools or home schools.

Here’s a look at the current K-12 landscape in North Carolina, by the numbers:

  • Public school enrollment: almost 1.4 million students LEARN MORE
  • Public charter school enrollment: Over 127,000 students LEARN MORE
  • Private school enrollment: Over 103,000 students LEARN MORE
  • Home school enrollment: Over 150,000 students LEARN MORE

*Source: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), NCDPI Office of Charter Schools, and North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education




PEFNC Parent Liaison Team: The Parent Liaison Team (PLT) is a project developed by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) to educate parents about the benefits of parental school choice. The PLT’s work encompasses local and one-to-one outreach to North Carolina parents of school-aged children.

Team members, who hail from regions all over the state, connect with parents across an array of platforms and venues to share information, stories, and PEFNC resources, and ultimately, to empower parents to utilize the state’s school choice programs. Fill out this form and a Parent Liaison will be in touch today! Meet the Parent Liaison Team here.

NC Schools Around Me: PEFNC’s one-of-a-kind web application, NC Schools Around Me, puts parental school choice options right at parents’ fingertips! NC Schools around me enables parents to explore their schooling options within a 10-mile radius for their home. Visit NC Schools Around Me.

North Carolina’s State-Sponsored Scholarships:

For more information about each program, including eligibility requirements and application deadlines, click on each program.

  • The Opportunity Scholarship Program (en Español) provides low-income and working-class families with up to $6,168 for tuition at a private school. This scholarship levels the playing field for families who want something different than their traditional public school. To see if you may be eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship Program, visit
  • Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, the Disabilities Grant and Education Savings Account (ESA) programs will be combined into the Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities (ESA+) program. The ESA+ program provides scholarships in the amount of up to $9,000 a year to cover expenses related to educating a child with a disability in a participating private or home school. Students with certain designated disabilities may be eligible to receive $17,000 a year. For more information visit


At PEFNC we want to help your stories for parental school choice success. Watch one of our latest videos, and if you'd like to share you story with us email [email protected] today!