North Carolina Teachers Sue the State Over School Vouchers

North Carolina Teachers Sue the State Over School Vouchers

4:27am Dec 12, 2013
North Carolina teachers say the state's voucher program will cripple public school by taking away money they need to help students.

An advocacy group representing North Carolina teachers is suing the state.

The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) wants to prevent the state’s new voucher program from going into effect. The vouchers are called “Opportunity Scholarships” and they provide $4,200 in taxpayer dollars to low-income children who want to attend private schools. But members of the NCAE say these vouchers are unconstitutional. “The North Carolina constitution requires that public dollars be spent exclusively for public education,” says Ann Petitjean. She's the president of the Forsyth County chapter of the NCAE.  Wednesday morning, 25 plaintiffs from across the state along with the North Carolina Justice Center filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court to stop the voucher program. It goes into effect in the fall of 2014.

According to Petitjean, the voucher program also creates more obstacles for public schools. “Taking even a dollar away and giving it to private schools, lessens our ability to do the job we need to do.”Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) released a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to the lawsuit. "Parental School choice is an idea whose time has come in North Carolina," says President Darrell Allison. "This lawsuit is nothing more than a desperate attempt by opponents of parent choice to cling to an unacceptable status quo for low income students to stay in schools that are simply not working for them." The Republican legislature approved the voucher program in the spring. They say it provides school choice to poor families who otherwise could not afford a private education.

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