News Alert: Historic Decision: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of NC Parents

Raleigh, NC (July 23, 2015) – Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), the state’s voice for educational choice, applauds the ruling today from the North Carolina State Supreme Court affirming the constitutionality of the Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Below is a statement from Darrell Allison, President of PEFNC:

“We are thankful to the Justices of the North Carolina State Supreme Court for believing that any program which helps ensure all children have access to a sound, basic education is serving a public purpose. We applaud them for recognizing that education is ultimately a personal right belonging to our citizens, not a governmental agency or system. We join the thousands of families across the state who are celebrating today because the Court has given them the legal right to exercise educational choice through the Opportunity Scholarship Program. We are thrilled for the many low-income students currently on the Program and the many more who need this option in the future.

It has been a difficult battle, yet even with the legal challenges in place parents have been resilient through many highs and lows of this journey. Their resolve and determination to secure their children’s access to a high-quality education, despite economic challenges, has been inspiring to me, personally. Since the battle began in February 2014, over 11,000 applications have flooded in from low-income families representing nearly every part of our state. This year, over 90 percent of families who are currently in the Program have applied to renew their scholarships. The message from parents has been clear: ‘We will not back down. We will not give up. We will win this fight for our children.’ Today, their tenacious aspirations for their children’s future were validated by the state’s highest Court.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the Opportunity Scholarship Program constitutional in our state, it is imperative that our supporters and critics alike understand that the Program is not and will never be the sole silver bullet to solve all of the challenges faced by many families in our education system. To the contrary, this Program will be just one small piece of the comprehensive K-12 puzzle that will be utilized to complement our state’s public education system, not compete against it. Regardless of what school model a parent chooses, we must never forget that we are in this together and are fighting for the same thing: an education that rightly serves every child in North Carolina regardless of their geographic location or income status.

Lastly, and ever so importantly, I want to extend a sincere and genuine thank you to Senate President Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, and members of the General Assembly for their fearless, continued legal support of the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Due to their active faith in the ideals of parental school choice, families will prosper in the freedom that real choice provides. I also salute the state’s attorneys, and especially our partners from the Institute of Justice, for their tireless work in representing parents in this case.”

In today’s decision, the North Carolina Supreme Court Justices upheld all aspects of North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program (see their opinions HERE and HERE). During the 2013 legislative session, the North Carolina legislature passed the Opportunity Scholarship Act, while in 2014 more than 5,500 families applied for nearly 2,400 scholarships for their children to attend the private school of their choice. This year, over 5,500 applications have been submitted for new and renewal scholarships since February 1.

PEFNC is a statewide organization that supports greater educational options through parental school choice, such as the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The Program, passed in July 2013, creates scholarships of up to $4,200 for low-income and working-class families to attend a private school. To be eligible for a scholarship for the 2015-2016 school year, household income must not exceed 133% of the amount to qualify for free and reduced price lunch (about $59,668 for a family of 4).
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1 Response to News Alert: Historic Decision: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of NC Parents

  1. My son is Autistic and performs below grade level. I have been
    having to struggle with his school for innovative solutions approach
    to learning, access to assisted technology, tutoring, wrap around
    services for Occupational Therapy, Speech, Physical Therapy, Social
    Group, Behavioral Therapy and access to multi-tiered community
    resources and support services. As a parent, I have thrown in the
    towel and given up on fighting with the school for FAPE. My main
    goal is to ensure my son has access to all the resources to help him
    rise to grade level.

    I was told that school cannot provide that service because it is the
    Occupational Profile of service. The school refuses to write
    recommendations or referrals for private outside service or
    assistance. My child is going to 5th grade and functioning on 1 grade
    level and schools refuse to implement Rigor, provide appropriate
    support or innovative accommodations, Compensatory Education,
    Extended School Year and support services during summer to
    prevent regression.

    Please know every year my son is denied any services or educational
    support including all services mentioned. School receive $18,000+
    per special needs child. I ask you what does an almost $20,000
    Education look like if the child can’t even have books, assisted
    technology to help modify, accommodate his education to help him
    rise to grade level. Private schools educate the entire child to
    succeed at becoming college and career ready. I actually tried to
    get my son enrolled at one school and I was told to wait till he comes
    up a few grades levels and one school informed me that they could
    not offer him a diploma.

    Please know my son has High Functioning Autism, he taught himself
    to draw, he draws Mayan & Aztec art ancient Kilawhal masks, Chinese
    & Japanese Anime Art & other characters of interest, loves researching
    History, Dinosaurs on computer or ipad. My son also loves listening and
    singing Opera. I see the beautiful potential in my son and I will have
    decided to take the wonderful advice of Pastor Paula White and that is
    “Go where you are accepted not tolerated”.

    My child has Autism but it does not have him. Public schools want to do
    bare minimum, not provide occupational profile of service and deny academic
    supports. FAPE doesn’t exist in public school and has abandoned my child
    long ago within public system. My son is below grade level and I have been
    fighting school for innovative solutions approach to learning, access to assisted
    technology, tutoring, wrap around services for Occupational Therapy,
    Speech, Physical Therapy, Social Group, Behavioral Therapy
    and access to multi-tiered community resources and support
    services.

    As a parent, I have thrown in the towel and given up
    on fighting with the school, I applied for all of the three
    grants for private school but for some reason after being awarded
    The Educational Savings the report says my son was denied.
    In addition the applied for Opportunity Scholarship and after
    accepting the scholarship online I had computer issue and sent
    email to notify of issue and I later was informed the Grant was
    withdrawn.

    In any event, I need assistance to correct this issue to
    restore grants which will enable my son to attend private school
    and give him a chance to obtain a better education. I am a single
    Disabled parent and I am unable to work after being run over by a
    drunk driver and later assaulted. I do not have the ability to work
    to earn the money I must rely on grants. Please assist in this matter
    Sincerely,

    Ms. Monica Pinckney

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