By Mike Long
Lately I have been asked why 20 percent of North Carolina families are no longer in the public school system—a number that is growing by the day.
Let me share a real story to illustrate one of the reasons. Out of respect to the family involved, I have kept their identity anonymous. But I believe this story sadly illustrates how frequently “the system” puts its own priorities above the interests of individual families, forcing them to explore other options or flat out flee.
By Mike Long
When I first began teaching in the Durham Public School System in the early 1980s, cell phones were a brand new concept. Those willing to pay the $10,000 dollars (adjusted for inflation) needed to buy one of these devices earned them the privilege of selection from just a handful of options on the market at the time.
Contrary to rhetoric from Gov. Roy Cooper, Opportunity Scholarships in North Carolina actuallysave taxpayer dollars and direct no funds away from public education.
Surprised? You might be if you listen to all the clamor from supporters of the educational status quo in North Carolina. Gov. Cooper himself recently said that Opportunity Scholarships are “an expense we should stop.” According to reports from The Insider State Government News Service, Gov. Cooper’s office is prioritizing defunding Opportunity Scholarships to the point of using it as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations with the House and Senate.
You can pretty much guarantee that year after year, teachers’ unions and their allies will make one claim: Our public school teachers are not paid enough and our public schools are underfunded. It is happening right now in North Carolina, but there is something blatantly missing from the teacher pay debate.
Those are the words of the Capitol Broadcasting Company’s (CBC) latest attack on North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program. The program currently enables over 9,600 students from low-income and working-class families in North Carolina to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.
These families are taxpayers, too. But CBC is protecting systems and the status quo, playing politics, and demonizing educational choice.