To the Editor:
Sixty-nine school boards across this state joined with the State Board of Education in challenging the constitutionality of the school voucher program passed by our Legislature, which initially takes $100 million out of public school systems and gives it to private schools. This is indefensible at a time when North Carolina ranks near the bottom in both per pupil spending and teacher pay.
The Constitution requires funding for public schools, but there is no mandate to take state money and provide it to private schools.
If our Legislature really had any confidence in our public schools, and really cared about the low-income students which this legislation claims to help, it would follow the constitutional mandate to provide through taxation or otherwise a general and uniform system of free public schools, instead of siphoning off desperately needed funds to private schools through things like this voucher system.
My children and grandchildren all graduated from Haywood County Schools. I know they had the opportunity for the best education they could have gotten anywhere. Now, I have great-grandchildren in the schools here, and I want the same opportunities for them.
If our Legislators continue to take funding away, continue to disparage and discourage our teachers, while piling more and more responsibilities on them, I worry that these children may not have those same opportunities. Taking teacher tenure away, forcing the school systems to reward 25 percent of its teachers with a small bonus and a four-year contract, leaving the rest of our good teachers out in the cold, is the stupidest move I have ever seen. It’s time to stand up against these atrocities. Our schools and our children deserve more.