Friday, November 28, 2014

Charlotteans rally for private school voucher program

North Carolina's plan to use public money to issue private school vouchers was nearly dealt a fatal blow this summer, but now its advocates are rallying support ahead of a final decision on its fate.

The program, known as "Opportunity Scholarships," gave about 2,000 students vouchers worth $4,200 toward tuition at a private or religious school in its first year this fall. But it was almost struck down even as it was getting off the ground. A judge in August declared the arrangement unconstitutional. The courts later allowed students already in the program for this school year to continue.

Opponents say the plan represents the abandonment of the state's responsibility to fund public schools. The N.C.  Supreme Court will make a final determination on the Opportunity Scholarships in the coming months.

But in the meantime, a chief advocate for the private school vouchers is holding rallies around the state to build public support. One held in the Charlotte area brought nearly 200 parents and educators to the Embassy Suites near Concord.

"So much of the discussion surrounding the Opportunity Scholarships has unfortunately centered around the legal battles, if you will," said Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, which sponsored the rallies. "We thought it would be a great idea to ... hear directly from the parents themselves on how impactful the program has been."

One of those parents is Jacquelyn Davis of Charlotte. Her third-grade son is attending the Male Leadership Academy on Nations Ford Road on a private school voucher. He has attended Sedgefield Elementary in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools before that.

Davis said she is unemployed after being laid off from being a security guard at CMS, but said her son benefits from the smaller environment at a private school. She said this semester he is bringing home straight A's for the first time.

"The scholarship has helped a whole lot," Davis said. "I'm praying they keep it going."


Wiley Coyote said...

Almost 2015....

Same old argument of public school failure(s) and parents trying to do what's in the best interest of their children, only to have government try to shut them down and keep their kids in the failing status quo class...

Larry said...

So from a pure business standpoint, the taxpayers save about four thousand per student at the minimum.

Oh I see, what people are worried about, why not just take that savings and let the public schools waste it like they normally do.

Anyone remember the story on how Suburban Students only get around 4 thousand spent on them, (imagine the potential that is lost from all that under funding) and Urban Students get over 15 thousand spent on them.

Oh and be sure to note

Before you post, take a few seconds to understand what works and this works.

Plus note it is almost entirely for disadvantaged students, meaning those who need something more than those programs which costs up three times as much from the government, which have not worked.

So even if you are upset with this whole idea, why not give it a try and let the results happen. The worse it you will have bragging rights, and the best is we get a core of young, bright folks helping to make our future the one we all hope it can be.

Anonymous said...

Here they go again. Is this a joke?
Are public schools charging today? With the GOP firmly in control on all levels this has a snowballs chance again for these same insatiable spoiled whiny chumps who also pull school board scandals like with Morrison or rig college scandals with unqualified athletes who cant even spell their names scamming into the pros.

Heres a novel idea. Get a job and pay taxes and raise your kids to study and earn their grades and pay the bill yourself. Privates parents already forfeit their own tax billions and pay double.

Make your public schools better and cut the class envy. The tide has turned anyway. Obama in the 30s sinking fast.

There is also an unknown low key effort by these same ones to undermine Charters pulling the card and dumping their rejects on them. This will be stopped also.

Anonymous said...

The " public schools are failing" argument is not only tired and old - it simply is not true. Public school students succeed every day. They go to the best colleges, they graduate with distinction, etc.... If anything is failing, it is, marriages, families. Can public schools be better? Certainly. But not when they are strangled.

Anonymous said...

I am a tax paying property owner who does not have children. Where do I sign up for my voucher?

Anonymous said...

CO, why not do a simple chart comparing public schools and these private charters for things like standards in grading and curriculum, training and certification of the teachers and staff, teacher/student ratios, standards of materials and texts, and transparency and accountability in budgets. I think the claims of the vouchers are overblown and if you only report what the cheerleaders tell you, you aren't reporting, you're just providing free ad space.

Anonymous said...

How about instead of railing against the inefficiencies of Public Schools 7 using that as a justification for Taxpayer funded, State funded, "Selective Education for the FEW"; use al of that money to actually IMPROVE the Public School System. Honestly,. I cannot in ANY intelligent way, understand ANY Liberal or Conservative supporting this insanity. Too, I've yet to see or have anyone honestly & intelligently rationalize how Public Funding for a child to attend a Private Institution ( most especially one that is Religious based ), can possibly be rationalized as Constitutional.

Anonymous said...

12:52, having covered education for 12+ years I can assure you there's nothing simple about what you're suggesting. First, charters and private schools are two different things. These vouchers go to private schools. There are dozens in Mecklenburg County, from huge to tiny, each of which has its own system of academics and accountability. Trying to compare all that data would be a gigantic task if you could get it, but private schools aren't required to disclose such things, even if they get public voucher money.

Wiley Coyote said...


Public schools have been in a dismal state for 40 years.

The highest graduation rate for public schools was in 1969/70 at 79%. It has only been in the past year or so that percentage has been achieved - 43 years later.

When you take into account the dumbing down of these kids by reducing the number of credits it takes to graduate and expand the grading scale, of course more will "graduate".

By the way, the "achievement gap" is still very wide hundreds of millions of dollars per year trying to close it.

Anonymous said...

This is a HUGE savings for tax payers if its offered to every family. With a cost over $8,000 per student (CMS numbers) this is a 50% savings. It must not have income,race or geographic limits. In the long run it could actually reduce the people's taxes who don't have children. So its a opt out with a win/win. Were do we sign up for a better quality of education for my children? Is the state/county ready to reduce our taxes with our money savings? KW Hurley

John said...

Aside from Catholic schools, I wonder how wide-spread other religious based, private schools there were before Government and the Courts started kicking prayer and open discussion of religion out of the classroom?

You told our God to leave and we left with him. Education has suffered, schools have re-segregated and violence and dishonesty has flourished. Add to that, the fact that the way public assistance like Medicaid, Food Stamps and Welfare are structured reward having more kids, while discouraging two-parent households and you have a clear formula for getting where public education is today, particularly in the cities!

We all pay taxes to support public schools, if they were a restaurant, where we always got poor service and mediocre food, wouldn't we choose to take our business elsewhere? Why should education be any different. If you don't want vouchers, fine... just refund the portion of my tax money that goes to education if I choose to send my kid elsewhere! BTW... the politicians, activists and judges that oppose vouchers... any bets on where THEIR kids go to school?

Perhaps the biggest wonder is why the parents of kids already in private schools aren't leading the charge to defeat vouchers?

Anonymous said...

After the stunt the board of education and a few staff members pulled in getting rid of Dr. Morrison, vouchers AND charters are critical to provide competition. Otherwise, there's little to prevent them from using CMS' billion dollar budget as their own piggy bank as Battle and his legal staff have apparently done with the full approval of the chair, while teachers--critical to the education effort--have lost assistants, field trips, etc.,to budget cuts. Shameful.

Anonymous said...

With the bunch currently in power in Mecklenburg, it will be up to the state legislature to remedy the mess that is CMS just as it was up to the state to remedy the fatally flawed reval. Otherwise, those in power will only do what benefits themselves and their cronies--the kids and the taxpayers be darned. They've proved it again by getting rid of Morrison, but like the same bunch rid themselves of Jerry Orr.

Larry said...

And Private Schools have so many financial aid programs like Colleges that it is strange more folks do not take advantage of this help and send their kids to private schools.

Oh wait I bet most folks did not know about all that financial aid, maybe the media can get this information out.

12:15 The reason is like when a neighborhood goes bad, it only takes a couple of folks letting things go and it reflects on the neighborhood, no matter how much you hope not.

12:17 This is perfect, they will need less of your tax money for schools as this succeeds. So you will get a big benefit as well as the Children.

And if anyone has anything other than spending or social engineering to help the public system, be sure to let us know.

Anonymous said...

What does Mt. Battle and his Democratic pals think of this voucher program? I am sure today they like it since its only for low income most likely non tax paying people. After he weighs in on this I am all for letting him do the search for the next CMS leader. Since he clearly controls that desk lets just let him make the pick. Hold him accountable for his pick. KW Hurley

Unknown said...

There is a good reason for not allowing public money to fund private schools... religious or otherwise.

It will only serve to undermine public education, and lend credibility to those who say the private sector can do anything better than the public sector.

Larry said...

Undermine public education!!

We would have to move to China (actually in the sea off the coast of Australia and start digging to get any lower than CMS has taken education.

And of course the private sector can do nothing better than the government, that is why the government makes so much money.

Anonymous said...

As if Battle and Company haven't undermined public education Mecklenburg County?! How can he, McCray and Cark act to get rid of our superintendent with seemingly total inpunity? Who gave them super power? The Bishop and his flock?

John said...

Unknown 7:37,

They always have.

Your argument is the very definition of insanity.

Refusing to learn from past experience.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:48: 'twas the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club.

Anonymous said...

Why not take it to the next level. Lets give vouchers for private universities. Wonder if the people posting here know that a huge chunk of the voucher money has gone to a Muslim school in the Raleigh area that was near closure and encouraged all students to apply? Not exactly part of the Republican constituency. Either way, as the reputation of NC as the cheapest spending state in the nation for public education grows expect that to do damage as far as economic prospects in this state go.

Shamash said...

Anon 9:22pm.

"Wonder if the people posting here know that a huge chunk of the voucher money has gone to a Muslim school in the Raleigh area that was near closure and encouraged all students to apply?"

Could you be more specific?

Was it these guys? TMSA?


"It didn't really sound that nefarious. It's a nationalistic movement in Turkey but it doesn't seem to have any fundamentalist Islamic agenda," said Hawkes, who is a founding board member for another Greensboro charter school. "They claimed not to be connected with it, anyway. We have to take them at their word.

If there are further concerns, the state school board may or may not delve into it further."


If so, then I've put a good bit of info about the Gulenist schools on this blog.

Not sure anyone really cares, though, because it isn't exactly an issue that can be expressed in "black and white" (which is where the real bucks are focused).

Besides, if we can't trust the oversight of the NC Charter School advisory group, or the state board (who "may or may not" look into things if there are "further concerns"), then who can we trust?

If it is another school, then let us know.

(I'm always willing to add to my portfolio...)

Anonymous said...

Dear CMS, I am a tax paying, business owner/property owner of Meck county who now sends my two kids to private school, You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak to CMS, but I can speak for my local school system and from what I have seen, the schools aren't the issue.
Darrell Allison should be doing more to encourage black students to work hard and behave in school, rather than blaming the schools.

I get so frustrated with people blaming the teachers and schools when in most cases, the real issue is the home.

Anonymous said...

You know, you may have a valid point with your support for vouchers. This would be a significant savings for the tax payers and a huge benefit to our neighborhood shools. When you put it this way, I agree with you!

"Anyone remember the story on how Suburban Students only get around 4 thousand spent on them, (imagine the potential that is lost from all that under funding) and Urban Students get over 15 thousand spent on them."

"Plus note it is almost entirely for disadvantaged students, meaning those who need something more than those programs which costs up three times as much from the government, which have not worked."