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.

What is next for North Carolina?

There is no stopping the parental school choice momentum. What is next for North Carolina?

By Mike Long

I was taking some time to reflect on the growth of parental school choice in our state and across the Nation. It was not that long ago that we were somewhat limited on parental school choice options.  That is why Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina was established in 2005, to help change that, and in the last 18 years, we have.

Recently, our state has taken great strides to empower parents and to ensure that students get access to the education and school choice options that best fit their needs. 

Election Day 2022 Observations: School Choice Wins for All

By Mike Long

As your source for school choice in North Carolina, our PEFNC team works literally around the clock to reach families across our state. Our mission is to defend and expand school choice for all of them. 

We have been champions for programs like North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship, which since its inception in 2013, has helped thousands of low-income families obtain equal access to the best education for their children.

National Education Scores Paint Bleak Picture, But There Is Still Hope

By Mike Long

You do not need me to tell you that education was flipped on its head, like many aspects of our lives, when the pandemic arrived in the Spring of 2020.

Schools and classrooms shutdown and while the merits of that can be debated elsewhere, what cannot be are the impacts those shutdowns had on our children. It was a heavy burden on educators, families and students.

OK, Arizona! We see you.

By Mike Long

Arizona Governor signs expansive school choice bill, PEFNC’s Mike Long is there to celebrate the success and look ahead for North Carolina

This week Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed an expansive piece of school choice legislation. It is now possible for all 1.1 million K-12 students in Arizona to get a scholarship and attend the school that best meets their needs. To read more about the historic legislation, click here.

I strongly believe in what they were able to accomplish. With Arizona being such a trailblazer in the school choice movement, I had to see it myself because this represents another powerful paradigm shift, moving power away from the education elites and back into the rightful hands of parents.

Opportunity Scholarships are popular and working for thousands, so why does the education establishment stay on the attack?

By Mike Long

We live in an era of deep division and hyper partisanship. To borrow a cliché, it is what it is.

That is why it is so encouraging to see an issue where North Carolinians broadly come together with the same conclusion. Support for the Opportunity Scholarship Program is one of those issues.

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.