Nix voucher program, FFRF’s Jayne urges N.C. lawmakers in Fayetteville newspaper

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North Carolina lawmakers should be scuttling the state’s school voucher program instead of expanding it, FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne asserts in the Fayetteville newspaper.

The N.C. Legislature is possibly on its way to enhancing the school voucher scheme, with companion bills in the House and the Senate aiming to do exactly that. Using a Duke University study as a rich resource, Jayne points out multiple problems with the voucher program.

The Fayetteville Observer, a leading paper in North Carolina with a distinguished history, has published Jayne’s op-ed: “North Carolina should nix expansion of failed private school voucher experiment.” It begins:

Some North Carolina lawmakers are mistakenly pushing to expand the state’s malfunctioning school voucher program.

An independent report on the voucher scheme has revealed widespread problems, and expanding it, as companion bills in the House and Senate propose to do, will only make matters worse, while taking even more money from public schools.

This report, published by Duke University’s Children’s Law Clinic, found that the state has spent more than $150 million on its voucher program (all money that otherwise would have gone to public schools). The return on this investment is nonexistent, since the scheme “is poorly designed … to promote better academic outcomes for children,” and there is very little accountability behind the funding given to private schools. The money is simply gone, with no clear benefit to students whose private school tuition is paid by North Carolina taxpayers.

Unlike most other states with voucher programs, North Carolina private voucher schools need not employ licensed teachers, meet state curricular standards, or even be accredited. This is a recipe for failure and an invitation to fraud. The Duke report noted that one private voucher school closed without warning in the middle of the school year, leaving the parents of nearly 150 kids scrambling.

Jayne concludes: “It’s time for North Carolina to not only reject the expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship Program, but to put an end to the misguided program once and for all.” Read the entire op-ed here.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation strives to focus and comment on important state-level happenings all over the United States. Jayne’s op-ed is part of that endeavor.

Freedom From Religion Foundation is a Madison, Wis.-headquartered national nonprofit with over 35,000 members and several chapters across the country, including more than 800 members and a chapter in North Carolina.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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