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 1.3 million students LEARN MORE
  • Public charter school enrollment: Over 140,000 students LEARN MORE
  • Private school enrollment: Over 126,000 students LEARN MORE
  • Home school enrollment: Over 152,000 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. 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 was created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013. Scholarships are awarded based on a family’s household income and can be used to pay the required tuition and fees to attend an eligible private school. … Replace “To see if you may be eligible…” with For more information about the Opportunity Scholarship program, visit
  • The ESA+ program is for students with special needs. It covers tuition and fees at a private school and expenses related to educating a child with a disability. This North Carolina state-funded program provides families with the financial resources necessary to choose the school best fit for their exceptional children. For more information, visit

You can download our parent's guide to choosing a private school here!


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!