PEFNC Applauds Institute for Justice and Parent Intervention in Support of Opportunity Scholarships

Today, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) praised three North Carolina families for their intervention with the Institute for Justice in defense of the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The parents, who would be harmed if Opportunity Scholarships are ended, are intervening in a recent lawsuit by the NC Association of Educators (NCAE) that challenges the Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP).

“12,284. That is the number of students last year who were granted equal access to the school of their parent’s choice because of the Opportunity Scholarship Program. 14,000. That is the estimated number of students who would lose their Opportunity Scholarship this school year if the NCAE has their way,” said PEFNC president Mike Long.  “During this time of COVID-19, it is downright heartless for any organization to attempt to deny low-income, hard-working, taxpaying citizens the opportunity to educate their children as they see fit.”

“Despite incredible demand for this program—a program that is ‘life changing,’ according to parents in our state—we continue to see an onslaught of attacks from the education establishment and the NCAE, who want to deny educational choice to the very families who need it the most. All Opportunity Scholarship families want is a chance for their children to succeed. We applaud the work of the Institute for Justice and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the parents intervening in this case. You, your family, and your children matter. We must continue to help low-income families—not attack them."

The North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program was born out of the cry from families in our state who were seeking access to the school that best fits their child’s needs, regardless of their zip code or income. Established by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013, OSP has now served thousands of families and students from across North Carolina since 2014 through a private school scholarship worth up to $4,200 a year, providing tuition assistance to ensure low-income and working-class families who are eligible for the program can obtain equal access to the school of their choice.

OSP has grown from serving just over 1,200 students in 2014 to 12,284 students for the 2019-2020 school year, with an estimated 14,000 scholarships available to students to enroll in the private school of their parents’ choice this school year (2020-21). In addition, 500-1,000 students remain on a waitlist for this school year. Thanks to the North Carolina General Assembly, and coupled with consistent growing demand for the program, OSP will grow to 36,000 students by the 2028-29 school year.