Carolina Journal’s Barry Smith has a fascinating story today about the view of choice and parental control over education decisions espoused by state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.

  State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said her concerns about allowing students to use vouchers to offset the cost of private schooling was more a principled support of public schools’ role in modern society than the effect vouchers could have in meeting individual children’s needs.

“It’s not the individual, it’s the society as a whole, where it worries me about the privatization of public education,” Atkinson said Monday. “It’s a philosophical belief that public schools — public education — is at the core of our democracy, and is at the core of ensuring that we can prepare people to live with and work with people who are different than what one they have in a segregated environment.”

Atkinson said she worried that the availability of vouchers would erode support for public schools.

“What concerns me is not that individual child, but what concerns me is as a society that we will slowly starve public education,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson made the comments during a roundtable discussion with reporters in downtown Raleigh. The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Program of Public Life sponsored the program.