NC Gets Low Grade on Private School Regulation
Special Report - May 5, 2008
North Carolina earned a “D” for its over-regulation of private schools in a new report from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, entitled “50 Educational Markets: A Playbook of State Laws and Regulation Governing Private Schools.” The report graded states using five specific categories: accreditation, licensing and approval; transparency and reporting; curriculum and academics; health and safety; and miscellaneous (such as state-subsidized education services and school or local political culture).
Only about one-third of the states (18 total) earned an “A” or “B” in the report for embracing a “free-market conception of education” (i.e., less government regulation and more freedom for innovation). Nearly half the states (22) received poor or failing grades, including North Carolina, which earned a “D.” States with poor or failing grades “imposed the most extensive regulations of private schools,” thereby “making it more difficult for private schools to compete,” according to the report. For example, North Carolina’s poor grade is due, in part, to requirements that all schools, including private schools, send the State a “notice of intent to operate,” and that private schools administer an annual “nationally standardized test” (or equivalent test) to all students in grades three, six and nine and eleven.
The report argues that, “These barriers to entry make it harder for private schools to serve students, and (perhaps even more importantly) reduce the healthy positive effects of competition in education by offering both public schools and existing private schools protection from potential competitors.”
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