In July, the N.C. Supreme Court approved the implementation of an “Opportunity Scholarship” allowing students to claim state funding to attend N.C. private schools.
The voucher program allots up to $4,200 per student yearly — a move enthusiasts of educational choice call long-awaited.
Susan Meyers, spokeswoman for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, said North Carolina’s decision will finally provide students the freedom to select the most well-suited education.
She said the public school system will further benefit from the program, as it will be inspired to retain its student population.
“If a few thousand children in North Carolina will be able to attend a private school, then the public schools will feel the competition of losing children to other schools,” she said. “They will have the incentive to improve just like when Wal-Mart loses a customer to Target.”
But Matt Ellinwood, a policy analyst at the N.C. Justice Center, said a comparison among private schools — where vouchers would be accepted — and the public school system is unfounded. He said private schools in the state lack the same accountability and data-driven results of their public equivalents.
Ellinwood said N.C. private schools can take any nationally normed test, whether it is administered in state public schools or not.
“It could be a test from 1950; it could be the Iowa test of basic skills; it could be anything that other people take,” he said. “So then how do you then take that random test and compare it to what is happening with the North Carolina schools.”