Big North Carolina School Choice Win Leads to Celebration, Vigilance

It seems like a good day to step back and savor a big school choice victory. The American Federation of Children today applauds the major new voucher program:

The new Opportunity Scholarship program was passed yesterday as part of the state budget, which is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory. The bipartisan-sponsored and supported Opportunity Scholarship program is tailored to assist low-income families in obtaining high-quality educational options for their children.

Opportunity Scholarships? Sounds like the school choice program for poor students in our nation’s capital, the program that doubles as a political punching bag for some in Congress. It also happens to be the same name used in Colorado’s 2003 voucher program, later overturned by the state supreme court.

That all may be ancient history to me, but what’s taking place in the Tarheel State these days is life and opportunity in action. While Matt Ladner celebrates North Carolina going big on vouchers and other significant education reforms, the North Carolina Association of Educators contemplates filing a lawsuit.

For the record, that would be a lawsuit depriving opportunity from roughly 750,000 students eligible to participate, starting in the 2014-15 school year.

North Carolina joins Alabama and Mississippi in adding new private school choice programs this year, while its reformulated special needs scholarships also puts it in the ranks alongside Arizona and Georgia as states that expand and improve existing programs.

So plug those new Opportunity Scholarships onto the growing list of choice programs around the country. The list includes Colorado’s own Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program, which, if you may recall, is currently on the sidelines due to a court-ordered injunction.

Hmmm. A lawsuit or two here, now the threat of legal action in North Carolina. Maybe it is more than ancient history. Maybe we should consider the past, and stand on guard to defend the newest iteration of Opportunity Scholarships. As for little old me, though, I’m still going to take the chance to celebrate while I can.