RALEIGH, NC (WECT) – Lawmakers met in Raleigh Tuesday to discuss the needs of K-12 public education.
Brunswick County Superintendent Edward Pruden was one of nine superintendents who spoke during the meeting.
Pruden expressed concerns about any legislation that would create a tax credit or voucher system that would help parents pay to send their children to private or charter schools.
He called these the "greatest threat to public schools."
Pruden said if lawmakers move in this direction, it would divide schools into two tiers – the upper tier (private, sectarian and charter) that would be able to select their students and the lower tier that would be the remnant of the present public school system.
"Whereas the old segregation was by race, the new segregation will be by socio-economic class," Prudent stated. "For those who desire the return of the social separation of bygone years, one is just about as effective as the other. We will be turning our backs on seventy years of social progress. We will be sowing the seeds of two Americas."
He likened the possibility to segregation.
"We feel that public schools are the last place in the United States where all of god's children learn and work and play together," he said. "We have 70 years of social progress of integrating schools and having kids go together. It has helped our economy. It has helped higher education. It has helped the business world to include everybody. When we include everybody, we are stronger."
Lawmakers are talked about the A-F grading of schools, charter schools, regulatory reform, teacher evaluation and tenure, school calendar, budget, and technology.
This opportunity was the result of an invitation by Speaker Tillis and members of the House Education Committee to all North Carolina superintendents.
Supporters of charter schools say the facilities give parents a choice when it comes to their child's education.
This debate comes as more and more charter schools are opening across the state after lawmakers lifted the cap on charter schools.
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