When Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood issued his temporary injunction that prevents low-income North Carolina families from receiving opportunity scholarships while the program is litigated, real people were impacted in a very negative. In this video, the Institute for Justice (IJ) profiles one of them: Wake County mom Cynthia Perry, who is fighting for an opportunity for her daughter to attend a private school.

North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, signed by Governor Pat McCrory in summer 2013, will provide up to 2,400 scholarships worth up to $4,200 to low-income families to send their children to private schools. If parents don’t think that their children are receiving a good education in their current public school, the program will help them to pay for a private school that better suits their child’s educational needs. To be eligible, families must also be eligible for the federal free and reduced-price school lunch program, which means there is an income cap of about $44,000 for a family of four. The program started accepting applications on February 1, 2014, and will begin awarding scholarships on March 1, 2014. “This case is about who should control the education of low- and middle-income children in North Carolina,” said IJ Attorney Renée Flaherty. “The Legislature, the governor and the Institute for Justice believe parents should direct a child’s education, but the North Carolina Association of Educators and the school boards believe they should have the power to limit other people’s choices—that low- and middle-income parents should not have the freedom to select among the widest variety of educational options. That is why they filed these lawsuits.” Flaherty pointed out, “Most Americans already have school choice: they choose to live in a good school district or they can afford private school. School choice is widespread—unless you’re poor. Through the Opportunity Scholarship Program, the North Carolina General Assembly is giving low-income families the same educational choices that wealthier families already enjoy.” IJ client and school choice mom Cynthia Perry has a school-age daughter who wishes to attend a private school. Perry said, “We need to get this program up and running now.”

Perry’s daughter Amiyah (called “Faith”) has trouble with reading comprehension and has already had to attend summer school twice. Perry is afraid that, if Faith stays in the public schools, she will slip through the cracks and have to repeat third grade. Perry has lost confidence in the public schools and has applied for an Opportunity Scholarship so that she can send Faith to a private school. Perry is a single mother who cannot afford to send Faith to private school on her own—she needs the financial lifeline of an Opportunity Scholarship.

Low-income families deserve the same education opportunity as wealthier families. That is what the Opportunity Scholarship provides. What a shame that those who claim to be advocates for those in need are trying to deny Cynthia Perry and other moms and dads this fundamental opportunity.