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Postcards from the Past – No. 4

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In 1999, a coalition of anti-reformers, including teacher unions, was temporarily successful in obtaining an injunction against Cleveland, Ohio’s opportunity scholarship program. At the time, the injunction unnecessarily caused uncertainty for approximately 3,800 low-income students and their families slated to benefit from having choices.

But they failed in the end, and Cleveland along with the rest of Ohio, now have wide ranging choice programs, making the Buckeye State one of the most versatile states in enacting parent empowering policies.

Today, over 31,000 students are attending a school of their choosing according to the Ohio Department of Public Education.

But as reformers know, the BLOB always creeps back, and this time it’s in North Carolina where the state teacher association has filed suit against the opportunity scholarship program that is so new, families have not yet even had the opportunity to apply. Scholarship applications are slated to be available starting February 1, 2014.

This latest attempt to curtail the availability of options is, “a vile attempt to breach the civil rights of low-income parents and students most in need of educational options,” according to CER president Kara Kerwin.

Let’s hope North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship program withstands this challenge, as other opportunity scholarship programs throughout the nation have, so that students most in need of educational options have a better chance at success.

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