Parents and School Choice Get A Boost

January 25, 2022

Well, look here at what floated into North Carolina this weekend on the heels of the first real snowstorm in a while.  Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed North Carolina School Choice Week beginning Sunday for the first time since he took over as Governor.

There’s something very strange about this because Governor Cooper has worked against school choice at every turn as Governor – cutting money in his proposed state budgets for the Opportunity Scholarship Program – NC’s scholarship fund for K-12 children to be able to attend private schools.

Apparently, the NC Association for Public Charter Schools has asked Cooper to sign a proclamation each year he’s been Governor.  Who knows what is up with him signing the proclamation now.

We can’t imagine his political allies in the NCAE teachers union are very happy.

The Governor’s proclamation states: “North Carolina is home to a multitude of high-quality public and nonpublic schools from which parents can choose for their children, in addition to families who educate their children in the home.”

This comes at a time when tensions are high in America concerning parents’ involvement in how they best educate their children.

In Pennsylvania, a school board member lashed out at parents who are getting more involved in finding out what is being taught their children in school, saying “With all due respect to the men and women who snarl, “I’m a taxpayer. You work for me!”  No, I don’t work for you. I was elected by people who voted to represent you.”

The fact that an elected school board representative doesn’t understand representative government in America is appalling in its own right.

But the meaning behind his words is even more chilling.  The standard comeback from liberals controlling these school boards is that their decisions are based not on a view that parents should decide what’s best for their children – but that what matters is what society and their community thinks is best for their children.  And that’s a fundamental difference in mindset that is provoking American parents to take a stand.

The struggle appears to be growing, and more parents are waking up to what’s really going on in schools.

School choice advocate Corey DeAngelis, National Director of Research at the American Federation for Children, says he is “contacted regularly by parents across the nation thanking him for opening their eyes to their educational options, and he even hears from students who credit school choice programs with saving their lives.”

DeAngelis suggests some of the things parents are waking up to and facing every day.  “Thinking from the standpoint of an economist, the school system is one of the most messed up monopolistic systems we have in American society, and a lot of our problems stem from that.”

In a New York Post article, DeAngelis points to “the common sense of a school choice system, through which parents are given the taxpayer funds allocated to their child — an average of $15,424 per student annually — to spend on whatever form of education best suits their family. By severing the arbitrary relationship between zip code and school quality, school choice programs foster free market competition in education. They also tangibly benefit students, increasing graduation rates by 21 percent and reducing rates of crime.”

DeAngelis says:  “Funding should follow the decision of a family, wherever that leads. The money doesn’t belong to government schools in the first place. Education funding is for educating children, not for propping up any institution.”

This is certainly not the only way to approach the education of our school children but as the pandemic has opened people’s eyes to new ways to structure education, it certainly is refreshing to explore new and thoughtful possibilities for parents who want the best possible education environment that is safe and rewarding for their children.

Whatever the motivation behind Governor Cooper’s proclamation for school choice in North Carolina, anything that helps parents navigate the troubled waters of today’s education is helpful.