In the fields of elementary and secondary education one size does not fit all, as President Trump aptly noted in his State of the Union Address Tuesday evening. North Carolina is one of the few states that both understands this fact and is offering educational opportunities to those who would not otherwise have a choice.

Looking to the gallery in his address in the US House of Representatives, President Trump pointed to Janiyah Davis, a fourth-grader from Philadelphia, who had been denied the opportunity to attend the school of her choosing because Pennsylvania’s Governor had vetoed a bill allowing school choice. Fortunately, through the generosity of Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, a scholarship in the form of financial assistance will accommodate Janiyah’s opportunity.

“For too long countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools (and) to rescue these students 18 states have created school choice in the form of Opportunity Scholarships,” President Trump noted in his speech. And proudly, one of those states is North Carolina. But unfortunately, as in Pennsylvania, the effort is under attack by North Carolina’s Governor, Roy Cooper.

Now in its sixth year, the N.C. Opportunity Scholarship program provides an annual stipend of up to $4,200 to students from low-income families, to attend a private school that best meets the child’s needs as determined by the parents or guardians. Since the program started in 2014 approximately 58,000 applications have been submitted. And for the current school year alone over eleven thousand applications were submitted with only 9,561 students receiving scholarships.

Ironically Governor Cooper, whose political agenda is all about helping the state’s low income and impoverished citizens, opposes Opportunity Scholarships and ancillary programs such as Children with Disability Grants and Special Needs Education Savings Accounts on the grounds that it they “siphon money away from public schools.” Yet he knows the truth, that all of these programs are funded from the state’s general fund and not the state school budget.

Not only are the moneys used for the scholarships not coming from the state’s education system, but additionally the program is saving the state money and therefore easing the financial burden on the school funding.

Analysis from the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division, shows that during the 2017-18 fiscal year, the Opportunity Scholarship Program saved the state $2,354 for every student utilizing the scholarship, resulting in a total savings of $17.3 million for the state that year.

The other untruth espoused by the Governor is that “there hasn’t been that much demand” for the program. The statistic noted above - 11,790 applications submitted with only 9,561 being provided- refutes that argument.

Fortunately the N.C. General Assembly has preempted the governor’s efforts and those of the state’s teacher’s union, NCAE, by forward funding the program with $10 million being added annually through fiscal year 2029.

We agree with the President when he urged Congress to pass the Education Freedom Scholarship and Opportunity Act, a bill providing tax credits for contributions to elementary and secondary school scholarship programs. “The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

One size does not fit all students and if we want our state, let alone the nation, to continue on a course of prosperity and civil engagement we need to provide opportunities to all who want to succeed. Governor Cooper, his caucus and his supporters need to reconsider their elitist attitude that government knows best and that one-size-fits all. Opportunity Scholarships provide a brighter future for families, our state and our nation.

(19) comments

David Collins

IMO the NCAE is just another arm of the Democratic Party . It’s goal appears to be to continue growing by adding layer upon layer of state employees that do precious little actual educating . They do largely vote democratic which completes the circle . No wonder so many instructors feel compelled to buy supplies with their own money due to funding shortfalls caused by a needlessly bloated system . The green eyed monster needs to be put on a crash diet and the present administration has absolutely no stomach for that .

gw

The private school scam will hurt the people who need an affordable education. Betsy DeVille's and tRump's plans are in line with everything the "president" does. We are in a class war to get the rich richer and the poor undereducated.

dc

Rich can afford it & poor can get much of it free. So-called middle class are the ones that pay for it but may not be able to truly afford the outrageous cost.

dc

"...affordable education"? At the K-12 level most of us who couldn't afford a private education received a so-called "basic free" education as written into law didn't we? Nowadays that's not good enough. Depending on various factors some of the more fortunate ones now have an array of choices. How many choices are needed to meet that "basic free" requirement? It's evident that CC Schools' students, their families & the employees are in an enviable place overall. Know a teacher who taught 4th grade in an adjacent county who consistently had at 24 or more students most years. She said her first year teaching in early 70s she had 42. Not so many years ago not long before she retired an Asst Supt visiting classrooms in middle of school year asked why she had 32 students. How many CC teachers, school officials, students & their families can relate? When talking "overcrowding" what are the class sizes? Obviously class size matters when it comes to student tests performance & it shows for CC. It's great that CC can afford reasonably small class sizes and all the other benefits. Let's be more thankful for what we have.

dc

"... poor under educated .."? There's at least one so-called "poor" student that should not go "uneducated". If she does whose fault is it? Evidently was in a Christian School but at the beginning of this school year entered a MaST School. Now given an "Opportunity Scholarship" reportedly being paid for by whom? Single parent of 3 can't decide whether to return child to Christian School, stay at MaST School or other scholarship opportunities? So many choices can't decide. DOE spokesperson says "best school" is not always "best fit" for individual student. It's a tough liberal world out there. Once the Ds get everything on a "free" level playing field there will be no need for work.

(Edited by staff.)

JusticeForAll

Those capable of learning will look beyond the snippets and misinformation that our educational system offers. Information is there. Reading, all you can, on a subject is the only way to understand and be able to make informed decisions or conclusions.

dc

Whatever one does a "Path to American Dream" is probably not by way of more communism and/or socialism. Even Carville is sounding the alarm. Bernie is the real deal & his primary competition are just Bernie lightweights to one degree or another.

David Collins

Yes, Bernie is the real deal . As honest and up front as you will ever find . Just not the deal for us , at least not quite yet . Yeah , the more lazy and pathetic we get , will surely lead to what his vision holds , hopefully not in my or my child’s lifetime .

JusticeForAll

One thing about Bernie is he has never wavered from his political positions. Cannot say that for any other political candidate in recent times. Most shift with the wind to appease. One thing destroying our world now is "extreme" capitalism and "extreme" mulishness. Placing power with those who have a monetary advantage is never a good thing. Thinking one is right about their opinion only and all others are wrong, that creates chaos. Like it or not, we share a planet and our survival, as a species, is dependent on our learning to get along, not provocation. Our future is dependent on a new direction and deciding what direction is what is dividing our nation. There can be no "civil" war, that is absurd at best. Going totally into socialism is not feasible, either. Let's see if we come to our senses and try for a middle ground. I'm betting a catastrophic event will dictate our course and it is closer to happening, than not.

DeadBolt

Bernie is FULL OF .... . He's the biggest joke of our century......... one more try and he'll be in the rest home, or down here in old Carteret County developing land like some other folks with his wealth! Run ,,, Bernie,,,, Run! hahahahahahahahahahha MAGA! 2020 possibly beyond, we have scholars looking into this! [thumbup]

(Edited by staff.)

dc

So far nature has probably provided the most catastrophic events. Peace & prosperity is kind of an individual thing & trying to convince others is an illusive butterfly.

dc

If you're talking catastrophic death tolls it depends on timeframes. Wars rack them up fast but events like Soviets striving for domination which could include war one could surmise & European colonization of the Americas seem to beat out others like famine. Then, of course, there may be an intermingling. What would the world & your DNA look like if none of these events happened? Strange world we live in & not likely to change if humans have anything to do with it. Now back to politics. Bloomie bought the House for Nancy in '18 & he & Soros & their ilk hope to buy the Senate & presidency upcoming. Ds may have interesting fight but the power brokers will go with the money that they claim to hate. Whoever winds being their nominee if they win in the general or even the Senate, the country & we lose big time. And, then what? There was a gleamer of light with Va delegates backing off.

JusticeForAll

Why are butterflies illusive? They are very real in my garden. Not sure what catastrophic event will occur and it really doesn't matter. It will just cause a re-adjustment of our human/animal/plant population, which has occurred throughout our planet's evolution, in various ways. Too many people on this planet and it is inevitable that those numbers will be reduced. Humans are not that much different as far as DNA goes, so doubt any intermingling would be a substantial factor. The point is that we, as humans, should have the brain power to resolve issues, but we choose to take the narrative of "who knows best." Maybe, one day, we will evolve to be a decent species.

dc

Some are worried we won't have enough worker bees. Guess robotics, AI, etc can't come fast enough. Maybe reverse evolution is the answer. Planet of the apes?

We've fought enough wars since our country was founded haven't we? Aren't genocides still going on? China's one child rule should make for interesting problem there. Pandemics might thin things out. Abortion, birth control, infanticide, etc, seems the preferred solution for some ideologies. Many who can afford more offspring are having fewer & those who can't support theirs are having more in comparison. Drug deaths, suicides, etc. Is on the rise especially among white males isn't it? So, one might think with all these there would be no worries. Somehow it does't make sense but has it ever?

dc

Meant "intermingling" of reasons for death tolls.

dc

Proposing one world order? Not a few tyrants have tried that. Seems we do cooperate in some areas like trade, mutually understood need for survival & rescue missions, medicine, space, etc but little inherit things like competitiveness, jealousy, ownership, prejudice, and the list is endless. "Can't we all just get along" is a nice dream.

JusticeForAll

Life is but a dream...you can choose nightmares or wondrous. We are one world- its called Earth. We don't all have to live the same way, but ultimately, everything is tied together, like it or not.

dc

It's all tied together alright. Small problem with your wondrous world. How do you expect various tribes, countries, and all the different cultures, people, etc. to live together in harmony when two people just can't live without one another so they decide to make the plunge into everlasting togetherness. Of course some are just in it for lust. Some decide to on purpose or by accident to pass on their genes if that's possible. Then a great number of those who couldn't live another day without that love or lust decide they need to move on for their & the world's well-being because they weren't taught, never have understood or just don't care and by gosh their "happiness", "freedom", "sanity" or whatever is more important than stability, honor, or whatever. Obviously, many of the more committed are able to find stability eventually and some just eventually age out. So, your ideal world is that illusive butterfly of love or whatever. And, it seems to become more illusive as time passes. But never give up hope because time cures most everything. We just won't be around to see it if & when it arrives.

JusticeForAll

Thanks dc. I will ride my butterfly and hope for the best [smile][wink]

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