Less of an "opportunity" than we were led to believe:
A new report on private schools in North Carolina finds that most of the schools available to voucher recipients are very small, unaccredited religious schools with uncertified teachers, nonstandard curricula and no public accountability. The report, “Characteristics of North Carolina Private Schools,” provides insights into the schools that may be accepting the vouchers.
The report was issued by the Children’s Law Clinic at Duke Law School, based on data from the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education and an extensive phone survey of those schools.
It's extremely ironic that Republicans harp so much about public schools being "broken" and how they're tired of "throwing good money after bad", and then they turn around and throw money into a collection of schools that have such dubious qualities and shadowy characteristics there's no way to even assess them properly. Here are some numbers to ponder:
A total of 696 private schools are registered with the State Division of Non-Public Education. Of those, 70 percent are religious and 30 percent are independent.
Only 35 percent of schools charge tuition that could be fully paid by a voucher (i.e., $4,200 per year or less). Of those schools, more than 90 percent are religious schools. At the middle and high school level, about 95 percent are religious schools.
About 70 percent of the schools have no accreditation from any type of independent agency.
Only 30 percent of the private schools in North Carolina employ only certified teachers. Twenty percent of schools have no certified teachers; another 25 percent have fewer than half certified teachers.
Only 25 percent of the private schools follow the North Carolina curriculum standards.
Just an anecdote: when I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, my younger son attended the Christian school that was an offshoot of the (Baptist) church of which our family were members. When he transferred to a public school (3rd grade I think) after moving back home, he struggled to catch up with his classmates. He made it, and he now holds a Master's degree, but if he had stayed in that school for much longer, I'm not sure he could have handled college.