Hundreds rally in Raleigh for school choice

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Across the country this week, thousands are showing their support for more choices for students where they will attend school.

That includes here in Raleigh where more than a hundred people rallied for school choice at the North Carolina Museum of History.

“I just think charter school was a better fit for my children,” said Yvette Wynne, a parent from Martin County who attended the rally.

“What is best for students is the opportunity for parents to choose the best education option for their children,” said Rhonda Dillingham, Executive Director, North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools. “Children don’t all learn the same. We need opportunities for students who are interested in the arts to be able to go to an arts-themed school. We need students who are interested in a STEM focus to be able to go to a STEM-focused school.”

While those at the rally had connections to charter schools, their support is for all school choice options, including private schools, magnet schools, online learning and home schools.

“Moving into a large neighborhood school would not have been the right fit for me,” said Leticia Tuset, a senior at Research Triangle High School, a charter school in RTP.

She spoke at the rally and said her school has helped her.

“The model for our school is group work and presentations,” said Tuset. “That has really shaped the way that I present myself.”

Right now, there are 173 charter schools across the state.

While those at the rally support school choice, others say state leaders should invest more in traditional public schools.

“The General Assembly has lifted the cap on charter schools,” said Mark Jewell, North Carolina Association of Educators President. “Our concern is it’s draining precious resources against an underfunded school system in the state. Parents always want what’s best for their child. We urge our parents to get out there, roll your sleeves up and make that school better in your community right now.”

State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson also spoke at the rally.

After, CBS North Carolina asked him to address the NCAE’s concerns.

“Education is not a zero-sum game,” said Johnson, a Republican. “We have proven today here at the school choice event that we can have great success in charters and in magnets and in online schools and great success in our traditional public schools.”

Dillingham said, by 2019, the state is anticipating there will be more than 200 charter schools across North Carolina.

Nationally, there are rallies and events planned all week during National School Choice week.

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