Quote of the Day:

School vouchers may be the most effective anti-poverty program around, yet they’re fought tooth and hammer by the teachers unions. Late last week the North Carolina Supreme Court awarded a victory to poor kids by protecting vouchers from another union attack.

–Wall Street Journal editorial

It was a narrow victory but North Carolina's high court ruled 4 to 3 in favor of vouchers, which the court held serve a public purpose.

The NC News & Observer reports that as a result of the ruling the number of North Carolina children who use vouchers to attend private schools could more than double. The newspaper reported that 2,642 scholarships have been issued for the 2015-16 school year – up from 1,216 last year – and that there could be an 1,700 additional vouchers once the state budget is finalized.

Anti-voucher activists are angry:

“We’re talking about a major transfer of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to untested, unaccountable private schools, many of whom are religious oriented,” said Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of Public Schools First NC. “This should give the public great pause.”

It is interesting that Ms. Brannon considers this redistribution. As she correctly pinpoints, the origin of public funds is the earnings of citizens. It is hardly redistribution for some of this money to be spent in a way approved by citizens who favor better educating the state's low-income kids.

But of course the teachers unions want the money distributed to them! Indeed, they seem to feel they "own" this money, regardless of performance. But why on earth are they entitled to all of it if they are not doing their designated job?

The record of North Carolina's public schools is not good: only one in five black fourth-graders at North Carolina are proficient in reading, according to the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress . The Institute for Justice, which represented voucher parents in the lawsuit, finds that five of six low-income students cannon pass the state's end-of-grade math or reading tests.

The suit in question was filed in response to a voucher law passed two years ago by North Carolina Republicans. It was, as the Wall Street Journal puts it, a "modest" reform that offered low-income students a $4,200 scholarship to attend qualifying private schools.

The private schools have to report graduation rates and test scores and a mandatory annual report will compare the gains of voucher students to public school students. Since the law was passed only two years ago, we have limited information on how well the program works.

The Wall Street Journal remarks on the "gall" required for the union-backed plaintiffs to file the suit in the first place. But this is a good time to remind ourselves that teacher unions strive to preserve their monopoly even at the expense of low-income children.

The plaintiffs are calling for stringent evaluations of the educational attainments of the voucher kids, and, as long as the evaluations are fair, let's second that. Care to hazard a bet on whether the unionized schools or the voucher-participant schools will fare better on honest evaluations?