NC parents, students join national school choice rally in Raleigh

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Parents and students from half a dozen charter schools across the state took part in National School Choice Week with a rally in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday.

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The event, organized by the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools, was slated to take place at the State Capitol but moved inside the NC Museum of History because of inclement weather.

More than 100 people turned out to show their support for families' ability to have options when it comes to educating their children, including charter and private school options.

"Bottom line, what is best for students is the opportunity for parents to choose the best educational option for their children," said Rhona Dillingham, executive director of the NC Association for Public Charter Schools. "And we're celebrating today not just the option for charter schools, but we're celebrating district public schools, home schooling, virtual schools, private schools," she said.

The annual event comes as tensions are high in North Carolina over how the state funds traditional public schools.

Mark Jewell, president of the NC Association of Educators, said with North Carolina sitting at 43rd in the nation for funding of public schools, the General Assembly should move away from putting money into voucher programs that support parents pulling their children out of public schools.

Instead, Jewell is urging lawmakers to put those resources into classrooms and teacher salaries to plug the teacher shortage.

Instead of pulling students out of the public school classrooms, Jewell hopes to see parents committing to make them stronger.

"We urge our parents to get out there, roll your sleeves up and make that school better in your community right now," he said. "Be a voice and the best advocate for your child, call your legislator and your school officials and urge them that they need to fund the resources."
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