Large, out-of-state donors fuel North Carolina’s school “choice” movement | NC Policy Watch

by Lindsay Wagner –

In March of 2012, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis and ten other state lawmakers flew to Florida on the dime of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), an organization known for endorsing conservative education reform initiatives, including school vouchers.

In the year that has followed, North Carolina has absorbed a flood of more than $90,000 in campaign contributions to lawmakers friendly to the school choice movement.

The stated intent of last year’s trip was to educate North Carolina lawmakers about Florida’s tax credit scholarship program, which encourages companies to donate scholarship money for low-income children to attend private schools by providing matching state tax dollars. Critics of the Florida program say it’s a thinly-disguised voucher scheme that diverts funds from the public school system to send kids to private institutions that are not held to the same high standards applied to public schools.

The Florida trip, which cost $8,300, was clearly billed as “educational,” rather than “influential,” by PEFNC in an effort to ensure that the trip did not violate NC lobbying laws.

Since the Florida gathering, lawmakers in the North Carolina legislature have introduced more than 20 bills related to school choice.  Rep. Marcus Brandon, one of the eleven lawmakers who went to Florida, argues that “it is unconstitutional not to give students a choice” when it comes to their education. He has introduced six bills related to school choice this session, including two bills that would bring vouchers to the state.

Brandon was also one of several lawmakers who, in 2012, received campaign donations from PEFNC’s PAC as well as individual PEFNC funders.

Though not indicative of any apparent unlawful activity or purpose, the story of where this money originated and how it flowed shines a revealing light on a movement that bills itself as a grassroots effort driven by the demands of average families.

Click here for the entire article via Large, out-of-state donors fuel North Carolina’s school “choice” movement | NC Policy Watch.

 

Also see:

Big $$$ Behind NC Privatization Bills | Diane Ravitch’s blog
by Diane Ravitch –

Same old story in North Carolina as elsewhere: big money from reactionary millionaires funding the theft of public education. American Federation for Children is based in Michigan. It supports vouchers.

Wake the town and tell the people.

Large, out-of-state donors fuel North Carolina’s school “choice” movement
More than $90,000 funneled to state legislative campaigns in 2012.

Click here for the entire article and the comments via Big $$$ Behind NC Privatization Bills | Diane Ravitch’s blog