NCAE Wins Fight for Students and Public Education in North Carolina
Vouchers Declared Unconstitutional!
RALEIGH, NC – North Carolina’s public schools and the 1.5 million students they serve were victorious today when Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled that the school voucher law passed by the General Assembly is unconstitutional.
NCAE and the NC Justice Center filed a lawsuit in December 2013 against the state challenging legislation that would have funneled taxpayer money into private schools. The plaintiffs won on all constitutional grounds.
Judge Hobgood indicated that the General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when it sends students to private schools without any requirements to teach them anything. He granted a summary judgment on all constitutional grounds asserted by the plaintiffs: that the opportunity scholarship program violated school funding requirements and that the state failed its constitutional obligations to guard and maintain the right to education, to have a public purpose, and to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion. The court issued a permanent injunction to prevent further implementation of the opportunity scholarship program and denied a request by defendants for a stay of the order.
“Today is truly a great day for our students, our public schools and all North Carolinians,” said Rodney Ellis, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE). “We would like to thank the Court for protecting and upholding the North Carolina Constitution and finding opportunity scholarships unconstitutional. Clearly the idea of using taxpayer money to fund unaccountable private schools is unacceptable.”
Ellis, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, added that the ruling is not the solution, but is a huge step in solving one of the problems facing public education. “It’s a step in the right direction toward finding adequate funding for a high-quality public education for ALL students in North Carolina.”
“This ruling will help North Carolina’s students and education system,” said Carlene McNulty of the NC Justice Center. “We have always maintained that our constitution requires public dollars to fund a high-quality public education system accessible to everyone. The court’s ruling is a victory for everyone who values education in North Carolina.”
NCAE is the state’s largest education advocacy organization that represents active, retired and student members. The NC Justice Center, the state’s largest anti-poverty non-profit, is a leading voice for economic and social justice in North Carolina.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: For NCAE: Linda Powell-Jones (919) 832-3000, ext. 212. For NC Justice Center: Jeff Shaw (503) 551-3615.