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September 1, 2016 12:00 pm
NC Family President John L. Rustin talks with Darrell Allison, President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, a statewide organization that seeks and supports greater educational opportunities for parents and students through school choice.
How will National League this is policy with NC family Pres. John Weston for joining us this week for family policy matters. Our guest today is Darrell Allison, president of parents for educational Freedom in North Carolina a statewide organization that seeks and supports greater educational opportunities for parents and students through school choice. We NC family are privileged to partner with Darrell MPE FMC to pursue expanded school choice options in North Carolina and were to be discussing today. Some of the positive developments that we seem in the state, including the expansion of the states to scholarship programs that enhance parents ability to choose the best educational option for their children regardless of where they live or their financial circumstances. Darrell will conduct a family policy matters. It's great to have your Michelle again John it's a pleasure to be with you and your listeners will thank you, Bill. We appreciate you so much in the great work that parents for educational Freedom in North Carolina does.
Now we have been working together for many years to expand school choice opportunities in the Tar Heel state are in in just the last 20 years.
North Carolina's educational landscape is really changed dramatically to include a very robust homeschool community are excellent options in the realm of private and parochial schools. Charter public schools and to scholarship programs that help families cover the cost of nonpublic education for qualified students.
Darrell let's start with charter schools talk little bit about those. What is the purpose of the charter school program in North Carolina and how have parents and students responded to the schools over the years different than many of our traditional public school charter schools are not assigned to families in this case. Parents choose to enroll their children to the public charter schools, not the other way around.
Interpreters of public schools are limited to a particular district or particular school result, public charter schools are not restricted by lines in the case of the schools alter the role John children from 4 to 5 different counties.
North Carolina's low that public charter school has seats. Charles present (I mentioned to me by that is, they don't have to answer to a local school board and estate you know school board. Unlike many of our traditional schools, and schools have their old school board where they have to ultimately answer to the state Board of Education best the public charter schools are tuition free schools that have great flexibility in introducing new learning strategies and teaching models to cross state what the response from parents since 2011 we had over 67% growth of public charter schools in just five years that educate over 100 students, and John even with the stroke.
Robust growth numbers North Carolina still has a waiting list of families regarding schools that are in the tens of thousands statewide villanelle, and in 2011 lawmakers eliminated the arbitrary cap on the number of charter schools that can operate in North Carolina Was set in 100, and then that was removed was that move significant and what has happened to the number in the quality of charter schools in North Carolina since that time. Yet in 2011 mentioned O'Connor had actually pretty problem was with the legislative deal was in response had actually 2000 level reached the 100 public charter schools. the first time in history.
back in 1996 week with 50 110 n. hit the cap for the first time in history and in 2011, so mortgage on of those hundred public charter schools. the only existed in 47 of the 100 counties in north carolina and you look at that number 100 public charter schools only 47 counties.
we had over 30,000 students a long waiting list for those 100 double charter school so legally. the only way for us to alleviate this problem was to address the cap of 102,011. fortunately a legislator did not just raise the capital public charter schools.
they eliminated All public charter schools as a result god when we had only public charter schools of 47 counties now have public charter schools and 60 counties of the 100 and we all know with 100 counties.
we still have 40 counties still have one yet. so we stick, we still have some work to do but there's no debate that elimination Public charter school has allowed for more urban and rural counties to block something encounters a district where quitting never previewed existed and as we all know john when you look at the data from department of public instruction and you look at the data points in terms of the children that are better really challenged in the traditional one-size-fits-all traditional postal model, you find that that the board are serious issues. they are the most mostly urban emotion rule counties so that the thought is that with this now public school option, that being a public charter school. hopefully there's another offering their work. this cool model in the traditional part of the public-school umbrellas not working for families. maybe this public charter school option could be a bear bob option for family and i know in just the last few years, lawmakers have also enacted two different scholarship programs in north carolina out one of these is the children with disabilities, scholarship, grant describable, but for listeners about this grant who is eligible for this type of grant. how are recipients chosen and how can these scholarships be used yeah john. also in 2011 edition eliminated capital public charter schools, north carolina enacted its first private school choice program all the children with disabilities. scholarship scholarship grant helps parents pay for qualified expenses with children with disabilities who attend school in an eligible private setting or an eligible public setting for which tuition will be required to name a few. eligibility requirements shall have to have a disability and be they would've had to obtain an individualized education plan an iep previously, nor, public-school child must be at least five by august 31, but younger than 22 child must meet one of the following requirements. they either have to have been previously approved to receive grant or have to been enrolled in the north, school from the previous semester or admin role. department of defense school just to name a few of the children with disabilities got grabbed his on a first-come first-served basis. the program allows for families to be reimburse up to $4000 per master educational inspections of the total john of $8000 per year. you are listening to policy matters resource to listen to my radio show online resources have a place of persuasion in your community website, alleging listeners may also be aware that north carolina has another scholarship program the opportunity scholarship program which is open to a broader constituency of parents and students across the state. tell us about this program and who it is designed to help the scholarship program after 2013 empowered low-income parents whose children are currently in public schools to vent selected props by way of a scholarship amount of $4000-$4020.
i think the program is actually actually title the opportunity scholarship program because of fortunately jotted north carolina percent of economically disadvantaged children attending public schools are proficient on staying statement great.
best. moreover, almost all public schools that occurred at the state report card a high poverty schools therefore got this program provides an opportunity for those parents those families seeking weight vote to avoid these woeful statistics for the children where they hope we find that school that can best serve their children's needs well and we've seen a lot of responsiveness to this program since its inception in north carolina.
how can parents determine if they are eligible for either of these two scholarship programs and where and how can they go about applying for them and also is it too late for families to apply for these programs for the current school year gap of this fall 2016. the application window was now close. however, john one analysis to know that we only have a few months away for 2017. application of that application window opens february 1, 2017. so it is it is not too soon for families.i really encourage a family to do this is not too soon for them to start visiting very schools and in their area. private schools in area meeting with their school leaders of those schools, because that starts the process of those who may be interested to learn more. john those family should visit school choice in the sea.org that school choice.
nc.org, where they will get answers to a few questions. moreover, this site. school choice in sea.org will take families to a small exercise to see if they may prequalify for an opportunity scholarship program down to earth initially applied for the update scholarship program and also the children disabilities scholarship grant compared should visit, state education assistance of bari's website at the mouthful. maybe it be better denoted to visit ww w.nc the north carolina fd sally education aa.edu. that's where you officially applied for both the need to children, disabilities, grant, and this woman in particular the opportunity scholarship program. that's the north, state education assistance authority. the windows are close of both of those right now. so those fans right now with a little bit more patient visit school choice in sea.org and darrell since the inception of these two programs applications have grown tremendously. every year parents for educational freedom has done a tremendous job of not only helping parents navigate the application process for both of these programs but also sharing the stories of families and students whose lives have been dramatically changed by the opportunities that the scholarships of afforded them a young, just on a wonderful wonderful job of this and sharing those stories. what kind of growth and an interest and availability have we seen in these first few years of these programs in the computer, vacated the demand for the these programs since 2011 with the total disability granted and the opportunity scholarship grant 2011 has been an astonishing we've had nearly 25,000 applications come in all 100 north carolina counties, but these two programs since their inception as relates to gap discussion programs within the first four months of 2016 application cycle alone. we had over 8500 applications flooding from across the state does not think the numbers speak for themselves. in terms of the interest and desire for families like for programs like they've a. darrell, i know that the gen. assembly just a session increased the opportunity scholarship program and funding for those programs over the next 10 years as part of a comprehensive commitment to increased education funding in north carolina.
some of the most notable portions of this year's education budget as far as school choice is concerned. first john public k-12 education funding was increased by 512 inc. dollars always like to leave with this figure because i think it's important for all of us to to know and to remember that the vast majority of families will choose the traditional public schools.
and so what we have nearly 1.5 million children educated there. we must have adequate funding to educate them, and again nearly half billion additional dollars with this particular but not as relates to the disability scholarship grant.
there was an increase of nearly $6 million per family. this was critically important job because we had nearly 500 children with disabilities on the waiting list this fall for this program well.
the waiting list because we had run out of funds, new funds for for those for those students and we thank god that this budget provided more than enough of these families to roll their children into the program for this fall. last week we had an historic investment of nearly $145 million into the opportunity scholarship program that will be distributed over the next 10 years of john this this will ultimately fund scholarships to nearly 36,000 low income children who otherwise would be trapped in failing public schools, and so we have a lot to be grateful about it and again, i really do appreciate the strong leadership and and really looking at the k-12 education in a very comprehensive matter so that we can see truly start begin to say truly that regardless north a lot of your income zip code. youtube can can have a pathway to obtain that data. adequate education for your children unfortunately were nearly out of time for this week, but i do want to give you an opportunity to let our listeners know where they can go to learn more about parents for educational freedom in north carolina and the great work that you all are doing to expand school choice options for parents and students in north carolina. john, thank you once again is a good tech good to communicate, connect with you listeners visit our firstname.lastname@example.org or also visit school choice in sea.org school choice in sea.org. They can also follow us on Twitter at PEF NC and even like us on Facebook I and without Darrell Allison, I want to thank you so much for being with us on family policy matters and for your incredibly important and effective work in expanding school choice options for parents and students across North Carolina. John enjoyed last time speak with you… I couldn't be happier.
How hydration of God has become a real national leader in education which really humbled you listening to family policy matters production NC family to listen to our radio show online resources and information about issues important to families in North Carolina website family.org