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Education, economic benefits possible from expansion of North Carolina school-choice program: Study

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Giving parents the ability to choose what school their children attend could save North Carolina taxpayers money, among other benefits, according to a new study.



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Released this week by Raleigh-based conservative think tank Civitas Institute and libertarian think tank Reason Foundation, the study said establishing a statewide education savings account program in North Carolina could improve educational and socioeconomic outcomes.

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“Statewide education savings accounts would put the power in the hands of families by funding students instead of school systems, just like we already do with many other taxpayer-funded initiatives,” wrote Corey DeAngelis, director of school choice for the Reason Foundation.

North Carolina’s education savings account program provides up to $9,000 a year for students with disabilities to attend a nonpublic school or home school. By looking at how the current program has affected academic achievement and educational attainment, researchers estimate a statewide expansion could lead to billions of dollars in economic benefits.

An American Educational Research Association evaluation of the state’s private school Opportunity Scholarship Program found a 36% increase in math testing scores and a 44% increase in language testing scores within the first year of the program among students who received the scholarships.

DeAngelis said 17 other studies also found some evidence of positive academic outcomes among students who have the flexibility to attend a private school.

Critics of the Opportunity Scholarship Program argue it uses government money to subsidize private schools that force students to conform to their religious beliefs, including those surrounding homosexuality and gender. Both forms of discrimination are prohibited under the state’s constitution.

Using the evidence on academic achievement and its connection with lifetime earnings, DeAngelis estimated a child who completes 12 years of private school could make more than $249,000 more over a lifetime

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College Football Playoff expansion proposal is denied

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When the Pac-12 CEO group decided to have a college football season, set to begin on Nov. 6/7, a lot of the chatter quickly turned to whether or not the conference could potentially have a team make the College Football Playoff.

While the schedule has yet to be released, it’s expected that the Pac-12 will play six conference games and then a conference title game, giving the conference champion a total of seven games. Now how those seven games would compare to somebody from the Big Ten, SEC, ACC or Big 12, all of whom will have at least 10 games played, remains to be seen.

That’s why Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott pitched the idea to the college football playoff committee about expanding the current format from four teams to eight for this upcoming season. 

Unfortunately that idea was shot down and the CFP will stay at four teams for this upcoming season.

“They decided that doing that now would be such a significant change, and come with so many challenges, especially given the timing with the season already underway, that they concluded that the best outcome would be to make no changes in the format,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN. “They will continue to discuss the future, which is just good, responsible business practice, although I must say that dealing with COVID has become everyone’s focus now.”

This isn’t the first time the committee has discussed the current format, as it’s something they do annually to figure out what is the best way moving forward. However, this is the first time a Power 5 commissioner has publicly asked for an expansion, potentially setting the stage for future changes.

“Whether it’s six or eight, at some point in time it’s going to happen,” Stanford coach David Shaw said

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College Football Playoff shelves Pac-12 proposal for eight-team expansion

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The expansion of the College Football Playoff could happen in the future, it just won’t happen this season.

The CFP management committee met on Wednesday, where during the meeting Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott proposed the CFP expand to eight teams starting this season. 

The idea was not approved by the committee.

According to Heather Dinich of ESPN, league commissioners review the CFP annually, but Wednesday was the first time it had been made public that one of the Power 5 commissioners had proposed an eight-team format. 

“They decided that doing that now would be such a significant change, and come with so many challenges, especially given the timing with the season already underway, that they concluded that the best outcome would be to make no changes in the format,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN. “They will continue to discuss the future, which is just good, responsible business practice, although I must say that dealing with COVID has become everyone’s focus now.”

The CFP will likely expand in the future but doing so during a global pandemic, where some leagues, including the Pac-12 have yet to play a game, just didn’t make sense. 

“Whether it’s six or eight, at some point in time it’s going to happen,” Stanford coach David Shaw told reporters. “We all know it; we all believe it. We’re just going to do it very, very slowly and methodically, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.”

 

In order for change to happen, a proposal would have to be supported by the 10 FBS commissioners as well as Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. If that were the case, then the CFP board of managers, which includes the presidents and chancellors of 11 different universities, would have the final say. 

Expansion has long been talked about