Passions high around school voucher bill

Posted May 21, 2013

— In a packed room, the House Education Committee heard Tuesday from supporters and opponents of a plan to give taxpayer-funded scholarships for low income students that attend private schools. 

House committee hears vouchers bill Crowd joins committee for voucher bill debate The crowd precluded any committee debate or a vote on the bill, as legislators used the limited time to hear from the public – those in favor and against the Opportunity Scholarship Act

The committee did roll out a new version of the bill and an accompanying summary that explains the bill.

"The bill before you, in reality, will not help the students it is intended to help," Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson told the committee. She focused her comments on the fact that private schools do not have to report student test results and performance in the same way public schools do. 

"If a grading scale of A-through-F is good for public schools, then it should be good for private schools," she said. How else, she asked, would parents know if the private school they are choosing actually offers a better education than their current public school.

Proponents of the bill said that voucher programs in other states have helped improve student test scores.

"I'm struck by the amount of opposition to something some people have never seen working in progress," said Jeanne Allen is the Founder and President of The Center for Education Reform.

The committee is expected to debate and vote on the bill next week. 



This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Plenty Coups May 23, 2013

    bombay-"what does one have to do with the other? we're not talking about vouchers for water ... stick to the subject."

    The logic is the same. When you use taxpayer dollars, with little to no accountability, its a recipe for disaster. A choice for private schools is no different than a "choice" for a private military. Why should my taxpayer dollars, which should be used for the benefit of all, be used for your individual choice?

    "Plenty Coups -- plain and simple, many do not like the public schools system."

    Yes that's obvious. However, private schools for the ones that can afford it doesn't work as evidenced by the past.

    "Its mostly run by democrats,"

    Sure, the state superintendant and school board. But they were elected by the people.

    "and its dumbed down so everyone passes."

    Complete and utter garbage. Try taking the Calculus exam or see what 2nd graders are expected to know nowadays.

  • Krimson May 23, 2013

    What's to stop Bob Luddy (significant NC GOP donor) from raising tuition costs at Franklin Academy the exact same amount as this Gov't Subsidy???

  • bombayrunner May 22, 2013

    Plenty Coups -- plain and simple, many do not like the public schools system. Its mostly run by democrats, and its dumbed down so everyone passes.

  • bombayrunner May 22, 2013

    bombay-"Thats one way of looking at it. Another way is that I have a choice where and who teaches my kids."

    And once again, you have that choice already. You CAN send your children to private school, you can homeschool them, you can move. And I already addressed the cost/choice pretense.

    "And there is no reason I should be forced to pay for public school if there is an option for my taxes to be used where I think its better for my child."

    Do I get that same option or "voucher" for buying different drinking water? How about a private road to my house? Perhaps a voucher for a private security force so that I'm not forced to rely on the "government monopoly" on the military? Same logic.
    Plenty Coups


    what does one have to do with the other? we're not talking about vouchers for water ... stick to the subject. I'm not going to pay for your school and my school.

  • Plenty Coups May 22, 2013

    "Public schools could soar if they were allowed to remove the most chronically disruptive kids."

    They sure could. Why don't republicans propose this?

  • sisu May 22, 2013

    Let's say a parent is fortunate enough to be able to work out transportation to/from a private school. Will the private school be forced to take the child like the public schools are? Who gets priority? It's unlikely private schools will want to build additional facilities for an unpredictable number of students. Also, isn't the fact that private schools don't have to accept students with behavior issues a large part of the appeal? Public schools could soar if they were allowed to remove the most chronically disruptive kids. For the most part, kids and parents know they can get away with all kinds of disruption and disrespect with little repercussion at public schools. There are rarely real consequences. The teachers, administrators, parents, and students all know it. If the teacher even attempts to have reasonable consequences many parents threaten their job.

  • Krimson May 22, 2013

    I want to know what exactly is preventing Privates and Charters from raising their tuition the exact same amount as this Government Subsidy... I mean, if the Gov't is handing out free money, why would the owner of a Private School NOT raise tuition??? Its just good business...

  • Plenty Coups May 22, 2013

    "They tried merit pay. It was called the ABC bonus. Funny thing is they went back on their word. What makes us think they won't do it again?"

    Not only that, the new "merit pay" is a tiny fraction of what it was and it will only go to 25% of the teachers. But they can still enjoy their terrible base pay. Wow, what an incentive!

  • Plenty Coups May 22, 2013

    "True, there is no teacher's union in NC. But the NCAE is a powerful lobbying constituency and influence."

    No more powerful than the hundreds of other lobbying groups. And what have they accomplished? Bad benefits and terrible pay for NC teachers. Courtesy of the public education haters.

  • lavenderdejectedmoon May 22, 2013

    North Carolina has the (sad) distinction of having one of the worst-funded public education systems in the nation, and the NC General Assembly appears committed to keep it that way. Legislative leaders are not only extending the education budget cuts, they also want to divert taxpayer dollars from public to private schools.

    An analysis by NC Policy Watch sheds light on a major force fueling this anti-public education push in Raleigh. More than $90,000 in political contributions made their way into the campaigns of many of the legislators who are proposing bills to punch holes in our public education system. The money comes from a handful of so-called “school choice” groups and individuals in favor of using taxpayer money to subsidize parents who send their kids to private institutions.

    But what kind of “choice” do these proposals really offer? The vouchers and grants offered by the main bills won’t even cover the full tuition at most good private schools. They will work fin