Dear Editor: Sponsors of House Bill 944, the school voucher bill, proposed certain changes during the bill’s first committee hearing this week. Changes include lowering the income required for eligibility, decreasing the total amount of money awarded, and increasing public accountability. As we approach the May 28 committee vote, let us not forget that the voucher concept itself is flawed. Siphoning funds from public schools will not generate the savings it claims to, but will instead take much needed funding from the numerous fixed costs schools incur each year. Private schools, not parents or students, will be empowered with choice – able to cherry-pick some students and return others, often the most vulnerable, to an underfunded public school system. All the while public dollars are consumed by unaccountable private schools. Our public education system is far from perfect, but school boards, teachers, and staff are working hard and making gains, as improving national test scores and graduation rates indicate. We can aid in these gains, pledging ourselves to preserving the system of education our constitution provides; or we can dismantle public education as we know it. This Tuesday, our leaders have a chance to show which course they want to take.
Dr. Ed Dunlap
North Carolina School Boards Association