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Myths about School Choice

MYTH 1: School choice drains money from public schools.

  • In 2019-20, North Carolina allocated approximately 40% of state General Fund appropriations to K-12 public education. (That equates to over $9.3 billion in the 2019-2020 fiscal year).

  • Taxpayers spend less to educate a K-12 student in North Carolina through one of the state’s school choice programs—like public charter schools, homeschools, and the Opportunity Scholarship Program—than they do to educate a student in one of the state’s public district schools.

    • Public school funding in North Carolina is not entirely dependent upon student enrollment. Public schools are only partially funded on a per-pupil basis.

    • While enrollment in public district schools has flattened or declined in recent years (especially during the height of the COVID pandemic), state funding for public district schools has continued to increase.

THE FACT: School choice does not drain money from the public school system.


MYTH 2: School choice programs operate with little to no accountability.

  • School choice programs offer the highest level of accountability to taxpayers, because they empower parents, not the government, to choose the educational environment that is the best for their child. Parents can voluntarily move their children out of a school of choice that is failing to meet their child’s educational needs. (

  • The Opportunity Scholarship Program is administrated by the North Carolina Education Assistance Authority Program, and accountability measures that address financial, administrative, academic, and anti-discrimination requirements for all schools accepting scholarship students are written into the law.

  • Charter schools must be approved by the State Board of Education following an extensive review process, and can be revoked by the State Board for failure to meet academic, financial, or other measures.

  • Recent statistics indicate that Opportunity Scholarship recipients, "scored higher than their public school counterparts in all three subject areas examined—mathematics, reading, and language." (

THE FACT: School choice programs operate under high levels of accountability.


MYTH 3: School choice programs draw the most proficient and affluent students out of the public district school system.

  • North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program is specifically designed to provide school choice options to low and moderate income families. In a recent study, families who benefited from the Opportunity Scholarship Program had an "adjusted median household income in 2016-17 of $16,213." (

  • North Carolina also offers school choice options and valuable education funding assistance to students with disabilities.

  • Many charter school are specifically designed to serve the needs of low-income families in impoverished areas of the state.

  • Homeschool families represent a wide spectrum of income criteria.

THE FACT: Because school choice equalizes access to quality education, school choice programs help to ensure that all students—regardless of family income—are provided an equal opportunity for success.


MYTH 4: School choice programs promote segregation.

  • Educational choice programs help to reduce zip code segregation, and this closes the achievement gap.

  • Educational choice is highly valued by many minority families. In fact, public charter schools currently serve a higher proportion of black and brown students compared to public district schools. This is a voluntary choice made by parents.

THE FACT: School choice programs enable parents of all income levels and zip codes to make decisions about where to send their children to school—school choice is about voluntary association, not segregation.


MYTH 5: You can’t support school choice programs and public schools.

  • District schools, charter schools, magnet schools, and early college enrollment programs are all public school choice options in North Carolina.

  • Because school choice brings competition into the educational arena, it challenges public and private schools to improve performance and student outcomes.

THE FACT: Charter schools, magnet schools, and public district schools represent a large portion of school choice options in North Carolina.


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