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Perspective | A celebration of school choice across North Carolina

Students, parents, families, and educators across the United States join in the annual celebration of National School Choice Week, and here in North Carolina, school choice continues to shine. Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, a statewide non-profit established in 2005, proclaims once again that school choice is here to stay in the Old North State.

“It has been a rough ride the last two years due to the pandemic, however these trying times have served to accelerate the demands for school choice across our state and nation,” said Mike Long, President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina.

“We have seen more-and-more students and their families empowered by the educational options available in our state. Whether that be traditional public, magnet, private, public charter, virtual, or home school, families in North Carolina have more options than ever before. For 17-years PEFNC has proclaimed school choice as the only path to effective educational options empowering families and students over system,” added Long.

Today, the education landscape in North Carolina sees 69% of school-age children (K-12) attending traditional public schools (1,267,251) and 31% attending schools of choice:

  • Home school: 179,900
  • Magnet school: 162,024
  • Public charter school: 129,955
  • Private school: 107,341

Long adds, “Thanks to support from our state, families and students can access scholarships like the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program and the Special Needs Education Savings Account, making private education possible for thousands of lower-income families and families with students with special needs. We will continue to work day-and-night to ensure more families have access to choices like this.”

  • “Because of this amazing scholarship, my children have been able to receive an education that is second to none. This would never happen if I didn’t have the opportunity to pick the school I wanted.” — Ieshia, Winterville, NC
  • “This opportunity has been a tremendous assistance over the last seven years in giving my 10th grade son the type of education that works best for him. He has benefited from the reduced classroom sizes, higher standards in academics, Christian foundation, and access to sports and fine arts curriculum.” — Delicia, Rolesville NC    
  • The private school offered in-person learning and a small environment, which meets my son’s needs academically and pushes him to be comfortable socially.” “The classroom setting helped him excel academically.” — Cynthia, Fayetteville NC
  • At the end of 2019, my husband left active-duty service from the US Coast Guard after ten years so we could return home to Wilmington, North Carolina, to buy our first home and send our kindergartener to school, (after 5 inter-state moves in the previous two years). With all the unforeseen disasters of 2020, we had gotten under contract in February of 2020. The unfolding events made life stressful and difficult to put food on the table with the cutback of our working hours. This scholarship held our newly established life together and I am eternally grateful for it. I know it is doing the same for other families in our beautiful state. — Alex and Emily, Wilmington NC

For more information about National School Choice Week, including events and happenings here in North Carolina, visit https://schoolchoiceweek.com/states/north-carolina/.

PEFNC will celebrate National School Choice Week by awarding a group of North Carolina teachers with a Distinguished Educator Award. People from across the state (including school leaders, parents, and educators) submitted nominees, and PEFNC will announce the winners through National School Choice Week (results will be posted at https://pefnc.org/schoolchoiceweek.

Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina

Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina is a nonprofit organization that advocates for quality educational options through parental school choice.