Editorial: More Jones Street madness: 'Opportunity (for the right kids) Scholarships'

Posted August 17, 2016

School voucher generic, Opportunity Scholarship

A CBC Editorial: Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016; Editorial# 8043
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Imagine a U.S. state where the government paid scholarship money to schools that discriminate and refuse to admit certain students.

In North Carolina, there’s nothing to imagine. It’s happening.

Thanks to the taxpayer-funded school voucher program known as “Opportunity Scholarships,” state government pays up to $4,200 a year for income-qualified students to attend private schools – no strings attached. It is the wrong way to go.

A recent examination of some private schools in the Charlotte area accepting voucher money showed they also had admission policies discriminating against some students – particularly gay and transgender students.

At Lake Norman Christian School in Mecklenburg County, Headmaster Wes Johnston, says there are “certain things” the Christian church stands for. “We don’t discriminate. We discriminate scripturally, if that’s a thing to say,” Johnston told The Charlotte Observer.

The school’s handbook says “moral misconduct includes, but is not limited to, promiscuity, homosexual behavior, sexual orientation other than heterosexual, transgender identity, or any other violation of the unique roles of male and female.”

Would a stay-at-home dad, or a mom working outside the home be beyond “the unique roles?” That’s up to the school to decide.

The Constitution and its Bill of Rights give us freedoms to practice our faith as we see fit. But, it does not give government license to use taxpayer dollars to support and promote certain religious practices.

State Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, a Republican from Wake County, sees the scholarship issue as one between students, the students’ parents and the schools. The rest of the state’s taxpayers, who actually provide the money for the program, are irrelevant. There are plenty of private schools that don’t discriminate, he contends.

“(Parents) can choose one of the other hundreds of schools or they can start their own,” Stam said.

There are 400 schools in North Carolina participating in the program. During the last school year, more than $13.3 million was distributed to schools, according to the Opportunity Scholarship website. For the coming school year the legislature set aside $25 million for the program.

The Lake Norman Christian School received $29,272. For others, the payout is very significant. Trinity Christian in Fayetteville led the state with nearly $520,000 while the Greensboro Islamic Academy followed at $373,800.

Rep. Stam may think this is about a relationship between students, parents and schools. He is misguided. He leaves out the most significant partner – the taxpayers.

It is just plain wrong. Taxpayer dollars should not support discrimination. Schools receiving state voucher funds should show they do not discriminate in their admissions policies.

If schools choose to discriminate, that’s their business. Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill.


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  • Aiden Audric Aug 30, 2016
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    If tax dollars went to private schools where they were teaching Muslim children about Islam, people would be in the streets with pitchforks.

  • Justin Briller Aug 17, 2016
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    My child went to a high school/college school and the guidance counselor point blank told me the school system seeks minorities to enroll in the program. Last year they were pushing black enrollment and year before that they were recruiting Hispanic kids. So the racially motivated enrollment is alive and well.

  • Paul Hayeze Aug 17, 2016
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    The coward has upped his game to a whole new level.

  • Paul Stam Aug 17, 2016
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    So I suppose that WRAL opposes the state aid for scholarships for NC residents at Meredith, Bennett, and Salem colleges which have been paid for 40 years without much controversy. But all of these discriminate against men in their admissions.

  • Skip Harris Aug 17, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Of course they think so. That's what's called an agency problem. These types of programs have been demonstrated to not hurt the public schools and help those who most need it. Look up the CREDO research. The taxpayer money should go to providing the best education possible to our children, not supporting a system that has had more than 175 years to get things right but still matriculates students who can't read. It has been demonstrated time and again that pouring more money into the school system results in no appreciable long term changes. What should we do, keep with the same system and just hope it get better without actually doing anything different. I think we owe our children more than that.

  • Mike Jones Aug 17, 2016
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    Why are just private Religious schools getting our money? Is this the beginning of the new nazi party...https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/mobile/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007820
    Sux on this skip

  • Mike Jones Aug 17, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I'm a tax payer and I dont

  • Mike Jones Aug 17, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    you say failing public schools, so it's ok to leave the rest behind? shouldn't that money (tax payer money) go to public schools to hire teachers? Most of my friends that work n the public school systems think so

  • Teddy Fowler Aug 17, 2016
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    I am taxpayer.... and I have no problem with this at all....