Today the John Locke Foundation hosted a talk by Mike Long the new president of the Parents For Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC). It was a kickoff to School Choice Week here in NC and around the country.
PEFNC under its first leader, Darrell Allison, helped to craft and lobby for vouchers and expansion of charter schools during the years of the veto-proof GOP majority in the NCGA.
There is no empirical evidence that vouchers are working well in NC. And evidence shows that charter school growth in NC has also led to less diverse student bodies.
“While charter schools in some states have been used successfully to improve academic performance for low-income students, in North Carolina they’ve been used predominantly as a vehicle for affluent white folks to opt out of traditional public schools. Trends of racial and economic segregation that were already worrisome in public schools before the cap was lifted have deepened in our charter schools. Now more than two thirds of our charter schools are either 80%+ white or 80%+ students of color. Charter schools are not required to provide transportation or free/reduced-price meals, effectively preventing families that require those services from having access to the best schools.”
That study he refers to in the above paragraph was conducted by three Duke University researchers for the CALDER CENTER. It is worth the read.
And on this day that we as a country celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Mike Long makes an interesting statement.
And it has not been well received by many public school advocates or even outlets for debate.
Saying that it is “shocking that on #MLK Day of all days the @PEFNC leader would so flippantly dismiss real issues like segregation and racism as buzzwords” is an understatement.