Religious schools dominate NC voucher program

Apr 10, 2016 by

When Janet Nunn enrolled her 7-year-old granddaughter in Charlotte’s Victory Christian Center School, she joined an emerging trend in North Carolina: Families using public money to send children to private religious schools.

This year, the state has spent $12 million on Opportunity Scholarships to help families of modest means move their children from public to private schools. About $11 million went to Christian, Islamic and other faith-based schools, with about $800,000 going to secular schools.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long since signed off on using tax money for religious schools. Proponents of North Carolina’s program say it’s a bargain for taxpayers, whether parents choose a church school or a secular one. The scholarships provide a maximum of $4,200 per pupil, compared with a per-pupil cost of almost $8,800 for public schools.

“The government saves, the parents are happier, the children are being educated,” said state Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, R-Wake.

Critics say it’s bad policy to divert millions from public education to send children to schools that can pick and choose students, face little public accountability and may be teaching the Bible or the Quran along with reading and math. And some question the quality families can get for $4,200 a year.

North Carolina is poised to spend $25 million to send children to private schools, and so far most parents are choosing religious schools.

Source: Praying for options: Religious schools dominate NC voucher program | The Charlotte Observer

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