Conservative school vouchers supporter says NC expansion goes too far

Michael Petrilli, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, says he’s a fan of using public money to help parents pay private school tuition. He has watched the voucher movement grow over the last 30 years, starting in the early 1990s as an alternative to public schools in a few deeply troubled urban districts.

Today, according to Ed Choice, 16 states have voucher programs. North Carolina is joining a handful that has switched from helping poor and working-class families afford alternatives toproviding “backpack funding” — public money that follows the child — to any family sending kids to private school.

That concerns Petrilli. He recently wrote an article saying an important debate is brewing in the school choice community — “how to balance the drive for educational freedom with other essential values, including fairness and fiscal responsibility. Simply put: Must the expansion of school choice result in windfalls for America’s wealthiest families, particularly those that already send their children to fancy private schools? Especially when that means blowing big holes in state budgets?”

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