January 26, 2015

National School Choice Week: School Choice stories in North Carolina

By Wen Fa Attorney

Lawyers love to talk to other lawyers about the law. Non-lawyers are usually more interested in how the law will affect them. Here at Liberty Blog, I’ve discussed the legal arguments in two important school choice cases before the North Carolina Supreme Court. PLF filed a brief in support of school choice in those cases: Hart v. North Carolina and Richardson v. North Carolina. But it’s not just the legal arguments that are important, there are also significant real world implications for North Carolina families.

Khaliah Ellison, for example, is a mother in Charlotte who has always dreamed of sending her children to private school. Public schools in North Carolina were failing Khaliah’s child, Mekhi, by cramming too many students into the classroom. Khaliah worked several part-time jobs in the hope that she would one day be able to send her children to private schools. Her dream came true in 2014 when her son was awarded an Opportunity Scholarship to attend a private school.

There are many compelling stories like Khaliah’s in North Carolina. Take Cynthia Perry, who intervened in the North Carolina lawsuit. She is a single mother whose daughter, Faith, struggles with reading comprehension and is in danger of having to repeat the third grade. Cynthia wants her daughter to get a quality education, but she doesn’t live in a neighborhood with good public schools, and can’t afford to send Faith to a quality private school.

At the end of the day, there is more to school choice cases than whether parents should be able to choose a school. School choice is also about giving low-income parents the same opportunities for their child’s education that wealthy parents always have. These North Carolina cases are about whether parents with different socioeconomic backgrounds like Khaliah Ellison and Cynthia Perry should have that opportunity. PLF will continue to stand with the parents.

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