School Choice for Eastern North Carolina

Dr. Dawn Baldwin Gibson
Dr. Dawn Baldwin Gibson

By Dr. Dawn Baldwin Gibson

The landscape for school choice in North Carolina has drastically changed in our state after the NC General Assembly passed its budget. There has been much debate and heated rhetoric around this issue. However, it is important to share the facts about the expanded school choice opportunities most specifically the Opportunity Scholarship.

Over the coming months, this column will seek to provide a clear and concise view of the school choice landscape. After the global pandemic of COVID19, parents have explored their educational options that have included: charter, home, private and public schools.

I come from a family that has dedicated nearly 200 years of service to public education. I have worked in local public schools, and serve on the board for Public Schools First NC. I have also home-schooled both my son and daughter. Most recently, my husband and I started a trauma informed PK-12 private school through our church. I was asked at the end of the last school year to speak to K-5 public school students preparing for their end of grade tests. I am fortunate to have a comprehensive view of the North Carolina school choice landscape.

An important part of the school choice landscape in our state is Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina , a non-profit organization that advocates for quality educational options through parental school choice. Their mission is to ENGAGE at the grassroots level, EDUCATE North Carolinians about the options in our state, and EMPOWER families to have a voice in their children’s education.

As North Carolina’s source for parental school choice, they believe in allowing parents to send their children to their school of choice – traditional or nontraditional. The organization recognizes that education is not “one size fits all,” and that children have unique needs. Families should have the freedom to choose the best education to meet those needs, regardless of race, zip code or income.

In the Oct. 26 issue of the County Compass we will take a closer look at the expansion of school choice options in North Carolina.