Please contact your Representative in the NC House in support of this legislation!
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
May 29, 2013
RALEIGH — The Opportunity Scholarships Act, H 944, passed the House Education Committee by a vote of 27-21 Tuesday, but still has a long way to go.
“The controversy that this bipartisan bill has stirred is good in that it shows people are passionate about this issue and want their children to have the best education possible,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
“While these scholarships are no panacea to education problems, we believe they are a step in the right direction because they give more families the chance to choose a school that can best meet their child’s needs. And they will save the state money in the process.”
H 944 would initially earmark $10 million to provide grants of up to $4,200 for some 2,000 low-income students (those who qualify for reduced price lunches) to be used at the school of the parents’ choosing. Funding for the program would increase to $40 million in subsequent school years as the criteria would expand to include families with an income of up to 133 percent of that allowed in the free lunch program.
While some lawmakers and members of the public who addressed the Education Committee earlier in May protested the idea of public tax dollars going to private schools, estimates show North Carolina would save approximately $2,500 per scholarship since state and local governments are currently spending more than $6,700 per child for education.
“We have to ask ourselves if our tax dollars should fund ‘schools’ or if they should fund ‘education’?” said Dr. Creech. “If its about funding a child’s education, then the dollars should follow that child, resulting in more choice.”
Some critics of the bill fear that private schools will reject less desirable students or that parents’ choosing to use the scholarships at faith-related schools will create a violation of the so-called “separation between church and state.” Many vies any vouchers as an attack on public education.
But Rep. Bert Jones (R-Rockingham) told the committee that “Just because one believes that a parent has a God-given right to raise his child does not mean one is against public schools.”
Polls show that parents and voters want options. In fact, according to a Civitas Institute poll released in March, nearly two thirds of voters support the idea of Opportunity Scholarships, and nearly half of respondents said they would select a school other than a public school to get the best education for their child.
H 944 is now headed to the House Appropriations Committee. If it passes there and wins favor on the House floor, its fate is still uncertain as comments from Senators show the measure would continue to face both bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition.
To find out more about the bill click here
“If you haven’t already contacted your lawmaker on this measure, now is a good time to do so,” said Dr. Creech. “Let your representative know that families need to be able to choose the best educational options for their children. H 944 is a step in that direction.”
Take Christian Action:
Here’s the best way to help further the progress of this legislation:
1] Send an email to your Representative in the NC House by clicking here When sending your email, be certain to note who your Representative is in the NC House.
2] Make a quick phone call to your NC Representative and express your support for this bill. You will find your Representative’s phone number by looking for his or her name on the House members list, then click on your lawmaker’s name. To go to the House members list, click here.