Education Day at the Legislature
Special Report - June 10, 2011
This week, the North Carolina General Assembly approved two bills to provide greater educational choice to parents, and another bill to emphasize the principles included in America’s founding documents in high school curricula. As the critical crossover deadline loomed, the House of Representatives approved HB 344Tax Credits for Children with Disabilities and HB 588Founding Principles Act. Meanwhile, both the House and Senate gave final approval to SB 8No Cap on Number of Charter Schools.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 73-39 to approve HB 344Tax Credits for Children with Disabilities, a bill that would allow parents of children with disabilities, whose educational needs cannot be met by a traditional public school, to apply for an educational tax credit of up to $6,000 per year, or $3,000 per semester to help offset the cost of tuition at a more appropriate school. Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), has praised the bill for providing parents of children with disabilities greater flexibility to ensure educational success. The Senate Education/Higher Education committee is scheduled to consider HB 344 on Monday, June 13.
On Thursday, the House also approved HB 588Founding Principles Act by a vote of 103-11. HB 588 would change the state’s high school curriculum to require high school students to complete a semester long or year-long course studying the “philosophical foundations of our form of government,” along with the founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Federalist Papers.
In a major victory for school choice in North Carolina, an elimination of the cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state is on its way to Governor Beverly Perdue’s desk, after receiving final unanimous approval in the Senate and passing the House by a 108-5 vote on June 9. The version of SB 8No Cap on Number of Charter Schools that was approved yesterday was primarily concerned with lifting the arbitrary cap of 100 charter schools allowed in the state and with providing accountability for under-performing charters. Earlier versions of the bill sought to address a variety of concerns from several different parties related to governance, approval, oversight, and growth of charter schools. In order to lift the capconsidered the most egregious restriction on school choice-related charterslegislators simplified SB 8 to help eliminate much of its opposition.
“This session brings a breath of fresh air for parents in North Carolina, who are seeking more and better educational opportunities for their children,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “We are excited that these common-sense changes to give parents more choice in how to best meet their children’s educational needs are finally getting a fair hearing, and the approval we always knew would follow a fair and thorough debate.”
Committee Approves Tax Credit Bill - June 6, 2011
Founding Documents Would Be Studied - April 6, 2011
Charter Bill Heads to Conference - April 15, 2011
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