by Rob Shimshock
Almost 20 percent of K-12 students in North Carolina are not attending traditional public schools.
Enrollment in the state’s traditional public schools has fallen during the past few years as more and more students attend private, charter or home schools, The News & Observer reported Friday. North Carolina’s proportion of students enrolled in traditional public schools now sits at 80.8 percent.
“Families are more attuned to and used to having choices at their fingertips, and that is entering education as well,” Parents For Educational Freedom Interim President Brian Jodice said. “We’re no longer in this mindset that because I live at this address or this ZIP code I have to attend this particular school that works for many students but doesn’t have to be the only choice.”
The National Center for Education Statistics anticipated that out of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school in 2018, 3.3 million graduates would receive their degrees from public high schools. This proportion is over 10 percent higher than the aforementioned North Carolina rate.
Not everyone is pleased with the trend.
“North Carolina has already embraced the privatization, the [American Legislative Exchange Council] agenda of dismantling public schools in favor of their donors who’d rather try to monetize what should be a public good,” N.C. Justice Center’s Education and Law Project education finance and policy consultant Kris Nordstrom said, according to the North Carolina newspaper.
A Republican-controlled General Assembly in North Carolina has ushered in educational changes by nixing a cap of 100 state charter schools, establishing two programs through which special needs kids can receive funding for private education, and opening the Opportunity Scholarship initiative, which provides lower-income families with vouchers worth up to $4,200 a year for private schools.