by Becki Gray
Former Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation
From Terry’s excellent piece on Judge Hobgood’s questioning the constitutionality of the Opportunity Scholarships:
Hobgood insisted that private schools are “unaccountable” and participating schools guilty of “siphoning” money from public schools. He continued, “The General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when they are sent with public taxpayer money to private schools that have no legal obligation to teach them anything.” Hobgood declared that private schools “have no standards and curriculum,” do not require teacher and administrator certification, or mandate accreditation.”
Obviously, if having state standards, certified staff, and accreditation were the key to educational excellence, then North Carolina would have world-class public schools and there would be no need for school choice.
The other point that seems obvious to me is that parents know best for their children. Not some beurocrat at DPI, or an elected official at the General Assembly and not a judge sitting in a courtroom. Private schools are accountable…to parents and the students who choose that school. Parents can take their money and their kid somewhere else if the school is not meeting their needs. No such luck in a district school – they’re stuck with no where to go, especially for these low income families who now have a choice. (or did until Judge Hobgood decided to deprive them of that choice)
No legal obligation to teach them anything? No standards and curriculum? No teacher certification or accreditation? A private school that doesn’t teach, has no standards and unqualified teachers won;t be in business for long. Parents are in a position to make the best decisions for their kids. Does Judge Hobgood really believe North Carolina parents are too stupid, too disengaged to make decisions about their children’s education?
When offered the opportunity for a better choice, over 5,000 students who qualified for the opportunity scholarships applied for one of the 2,000 available spots. That ought to tell you something.