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Daily Journal: State won’t retreat on school choice

John Hood writes for Carolina Journal’s Daily Journal that the effects of 20 years of school-choice initiatives are impossible to miss this school year.

New charter schools are opening all across the state. Some school districts are launching or relaunching their own schools of choice, as magnets or as options for open-enrollment programs. And thousands of North Carolina children are entering private or home schools for the first time this year, many receiving state scholarships or other public assistance.

A generation ago, only a relative handful of students, disproportionately affluent and urban, went to schools that weren’t run by districts. Today, about 20 percent of young North Carolinians attend chartered public schools, private schools or home schools. In some counties, the ratio is closer to 30 percent. In virtually all counties, the ratio is rising.

Longtime critics of choice and competition are seething about these developments. The education landscape used to be tidier. They’d like to tidy it up, again, by restricting or eliminating parental-choice programs. While some are reacting purely out of self-interest, I assume that most critics truly believe countywide districts ought to be the default means of organizing and delivering educational services, with a few charters maintained as laboratories of innovation and a small private-education sector tolerated by authorities but firmly excluded from scholarship assistance or tax credits.

Interested in John’s response to school choice critics? Read the rest of his piece here.

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