The Inequality of Vouchers

Late last week, the Star News in Wilmington reported that a private school there, Myrtle Grove Christian, will be enforcing a policy in 2014 that denies admission to gay students and those from gay families. While such a discriminatory and hateful policy is troubling in and of itself, Myrtle Grove will be one of the private schools eligible for tax-payer funded vouchers in the 2014-2015 school year.

Leaving aside the violation of the separation between Church and State, this injustice exposes one of the fundamental problems with private school voucher programs and charter schools: inequality of opportunity

Public education is the great equalizer in our society because public schools have an obligation to provide for every student who shows up, regardless of race, class, or sexual orientation. Public schools have to offer busing options as well as free and reduced lunch, and they are free for every student to attend, whether they are academically gifted or require special needs assistance. 

Private and charter schools aren't subject to the same requirements and while vouchers will be available for low income families, those vouchers are for less than $5,000 and private school tuition can be over $10,000. How could a family that qualifies for a voucher ever afford to pay the difference? 

I'm a product of North Carolina's K-12 education system, a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and I've been a champion for public education funding my entire career. Please consider donating $15 to my campaign today so I can continue to champion public education in the North Carolina Senate.

There are some success stories for charter and private schools that provide a diverse educational environment, but cutting public education for voucher programs is wrong and inherently unfair to the least among us. Every child in our state has the right to a good education and we have a responsibility to continue supporting the public institutions that guarantee that right. 

As I traveled around the district holding town halls, I heard again and again from constituents who understand public education is critical to the future prosperity of North Carolina. When the short session returns in May, I'll fight every day for more money for public education, not subsides for private schools that discriminate against our fellow North Carolinians. 

Thank you,

State Senator Valerie Foushee

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published this page in Blog 2014-02-19 12:24:52 -0500

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