July 23, 2013. Americans for Prosperity, one of the state’s leading voices for educational freedom and reform, congratulates both chambers of the General Assembly for including the North Carolina’s first school voucher program in the state budget, among other significant education reforms.
“This budget allocation for opportunity scholarship is a giant step for giving North Carolina families true educational freedom,” said Dallas Woodhouse, North Carolina State Director. “Other states, such as Indiana, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, have made real advances in school choice in the past two years, and it’s good to see that North Carolina is catching up.”
This Opportunity Scholarship program, as the voucher program is called, will allow students and families who qualify for free and reduced lunch to apply for an opportunity scholarship at a value up to $4,200 to attend a private school. With this $10 million allocation, more than 2,000 students will be able to participate the program, which is funded in the second year of the budget biennium.
With the creation of this voucher program, North Carolina will join 12 states and the District of Columbia in providing means-tested opportunity scholarships. The nation’s oldest voucher program is the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, which began in 1990.
Woodhouse continued, “Beyond empowering parents with school choice, this General Assembly is also making significant advances to differentiate, reward and retain the highest quality public school teachers. Changes such as elimination of teacher tenure and an additional allocation of $10.2 million to fund annual pay raises for the most effective teachers show that North Carolina wants the best teachers in our public school system.”
Currently, in 39 states, tenure is considered to be automatic, according to a 2012 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. But tenure policies are changing in some places. Three states – not including North Carolina – have eliminated it, and nine states now tie tenure decisions to the performance of a teacher’s students.
The state budget bill will be debated in both chambers of the General Assembly this week.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org