President's Perspective

Mike Long is the President of PEFNC and shares his perspective from his 35-years as an educator with experience as a middle school teacher, an AP US History teacher, a high school principal and a Head of School.

Thankful: Why families and students are grateful for new NC budget

By Mike Long

Friday, November 18 will go down as an important day in our state’s recent history. That is the day when the Republican-led General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper came to terms on a state budget for the new biennium. It’s a state budget that propels our state one step forward in funding students rather than systems when it comes to education

Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina has been working hard these last three years to see the policies included in the new budget come to fruition. But it is not a win just for us and all school-choice advocates across our great state—it is a win for every family in search of an option other than their locally zoned public school.

Families find relief from bullying through school choice

By Mike Long

Marjorie is a mother from Asheville whose oldest child experienced a negative bullying environment in their assigned public school, while her youngest struggled academically. 

Today, their story looks very different, thanks to educational empowerment and the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program. By way of reminder, the Opportunity Scholarship Program provides tuition assistance for families who might not be able to afford private school, even if they believe that is the best option for their child.

“Now, both my children are on the Opportunity Scholarship Program and attend a wonderful private school,” she says. “They are both ‘A’ students and the environment and culture is anti-bullying. They have friends and they are in a supportive setting. They are in a safe place.”

Expanded school choice must be a pandemic lesson-learned

By Mike Long

By now, we are all too familiar with the struggles of pandemic-era education, for both families and schools. The last 18 months will go down as one of the most challenging times in our nation’s history for students, teachers, and parents.

For more evidence of learning loss, look no further than the latest round of test results showing the devastating impact of remote-only learning and school closures on public school students.

Parents want choice in education, not systems with union priorities

By Mike Long

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has upended nearly every aspect of our lives. But what may surprise many North Carolinians is the pandemic’s impact on education in our state.

Newly released figures from the state show a dramatic acceleration of the decade-long trend of parents moving their children from traditional public schools to home, private, and charter schools.

Mike Long to Secretary Betsy DeVos: North Carolinians want school choice! And you know what—they deserve it!

The following are prepared remarks delivered by PEFNC president Mike Long during a roundtable discussion with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on October 5, 2020.

My name is Mike Long, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina. I am dedicated to our mission, which is to promote equal access to educational opportunities across the state—to extend the power of school choice to as many families as possible regardless of income, zip code, or race. Why? Because parents should be able to send their children to the school of their choice—traditional or nontraditional.

Momentum for school choice is growing—let's keep it going

By Mike Long

I have said it before, and I will say it again: School choice is here to stay in North Carolina. A little bit louder for folks in the back? Sure.

School choice is here to stay in North Carolina.

Time for Congress to help low- and moderate-income families at private schools

By Mike Long

For North Carolina’s 1.8 million K-12 students, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented interruption of critical classroom instruction time, educational programs, and services. Many students have fallen behind or will not be prepared to advance to the next grade, and many families are struggling to cope with their school district’s reopening plan that does not include fully reopening. Our leaders face the challenging task of keeping students and teachers safe while recovering lost learning time and accommodating working parents.

Supreme Court Affirms School Choice, Tar Heel State Celebrates

By Mike Long

Tuesday, June 30th, was a great day for school choice across America, reverberating right here in North Carolina. In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Montana tax-credit scholarship program that helps students and their families gain equal access to the private school of their choice.

NC Values Voice: Live with Mike Long

By NC Values Voice

Join us this week for another episode of “The NC Values Voice”, a weekly 30-minute interview by Executive Director, Tami Fitzgerald, with a special guest. The NC Values Voice will be aired on Facebook Live every Wednesday night at 7:30pm. Our goal is to inform and motivate our statewide coalition members with current, relevant information.

Educational Equity and the Fight to End Systemic Racism

By Mike Long

My heart is broken by the senseless loss of life over the past few weeks and months in the tragic deaths of African-American men and women like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others.

One loss of life is too many.

I am a 59-year-old white man who has not experienced racism and inequality as some of my friends and peers have. While I cannot fully understand how they feel, I can listen, I can learn, and I can work with my community to make change.