Your View: Guest Column - Private school tuition bill assaults public schools

May. 06, 2013 @ 09:54 PM

BY BILL MCINNIS

As last year, you published the propaganda piece by Darrell Allison supporting state tax money to pay private school tuition. They call these “opportunity scholarships.” But what he neglected to say, as last year, was that this is a cash cow for private schools and his organization.
This bill will use $90 million state tax dollars over the next two years. The bill sets aside 1 percent for administration of the scholarships. That is a lot of money for Allison’s organization to skim off the top. The other $89 million will go to private schools. That is a great opportunity to get their hands on tax money!
Allison talked about how many low-income students are struggling in public schools. Does he really expect us to believe that established private schools are going to accept those students who need extra help? I have friends who live in another county. They paid for their grandchildren to go to an expensive, private school. One of the children has a learning disability and at the end of the first semester the school notified the family that the child was failing two subjects and if the grades did not improve the child would not be allowed to return the next year. At no time had the school offered any remedial help and did not for the rest of the year. That school simply wanted the money but did not want a student who might make them look bad.
We can expect that many fly-by-night for-profit schools will jump to take this money and many small church-related schools will grab the funds. These schools are virtually unregulated.
The bill establishes a State Education Assistance Authority to oversee the program. Schools that take the money are to report test scores to this authority. But the bill says that these test scores will not be public record. So the taxpayers will never see the results of $90 million.
This $90 million give-away comes from a Legislature that has cut pre-K education for low-income children and is moving to allow larger class sizes in K-3 grades. Where is their concern for those struggling students?
The Guilford County Board of Education has publicly opposed this legislation.
In spite of what the Speaker of the N.C. House says, this is an attack on our public school system.

Bill McInnis lives in High Point.

 

YOUR VIEW POLLS

Wheatmore High School officials wouldn’t allow senior Caitlin Tiller to have a photo with her 1-year-old son in the school yearbook, saying it would promote teen pregnancy. Did school officials overreact? Was the decision proper? What’s your view? In 30 words or less (no name, address required), email your thoughts to letterbox@hpe.com or go to — http://www.hpe.com/opinion/x1592155810/Your-View-Poll-Teen-moms-photo-with-baby — and post a comment online. Here are two responses:
• I totally agree with the school.  It would appear to be a stamp of approval on teenage sex leading to childbirth out of wedlock if motherhood were promoted this way.
• No, my school did not overreact. They didn’t allow her to put the picture in the senior section because it is ONLY for seniors.