Charter Regulations Score Poorly
Special Report - December 2, 2010
North Carolina is one of 11 states to earn a grade of “D” for how it regulates public charter schools in the Center for Education Reform’s (CER) 12th annual analysis of the nation’s 41 charter school laws. The report, “Charter School Laws Across the States,” assigns a rank and score to the 40 states and the District of Columbia (DC) with charter school laws. According to the CER, “weak laws” remain the greatest barrier to charter school success in most states, with 29 states earning a grade of “C” or lower in the report. Only three state laws, D.C., Minnesota, and California, earned an “A” for their charter school laws. Nine state laws earned a grade of “C.”
“Thousands of newly elected state lawmakers are poised to step into their positions to govern. It's critical they know thatdespite the media hype and federal incentives created in the last year expansive, quality schooling opportunities are only available in half of all states,” said Jeanne Allen, president of CER. “States with weak laws impose barriers to charter creation and even the stronger law states have numerous regulations and limitations that impede charter growth.”
State charter school laws could earn a total of 55 points in the report based on four major components that “have been determined to have the most impact on the development and creation of charter schools.” The four components are:
Multiple authorizesstates could earn a total of 15 points for a component in the law that “permits authorizing by entities such as universities, new, independent state agencies, nonprofit organizations and/or mayors.” North Carolina received two points.
Number of schools allowed to operate (this includes any restrictions on enrollment and funding for schools)states could earn a total of 10 points. North Carolina received two points.
Operationsstates could earn a total of 15 points for the level of state autonomy, district autonomy and teacher freedom allowed. North Carolina received two points for state autonomy, three points for district autonomy, and three points for teacher freedom.
Fiscal Equitystates could earn a total of 15 points for laws that ensure that “the amount of money allotted for each charter school student is the same and the monies charter schools receive come from the same funding streams as all other public schools.” This category includes 100 funding, facilities funding and implementation points. North Carolina received four points.
North Carolina’s charter school law, which was enacted in 1996, earned a total of 17 points in the report, for an overall grade of “D.” Contributing to the state’s low grade is the current cap on the number of charter schools allowed to operate in the state at one time. The law only allows 100 charter schools, with a maximum of five charter schools in each district per year. With Republicans in the majority in the state legislature for the first time in 100 years, the state’s charter school law is expected to get a long-overdue boost when the General Assembly reconvenes in January. Eliminating the charter school cap is number seven on the state GOP’s 10-point legislative agenda for the first 100 days.
“North Carolina once had the distinction of having one of the best charter school laws in the nation, but today we are ranked among the states with the weakest laws because of a arbitrary cap, and the General Assembly’s previous bad habit of adding more and more restrictions to public charter schools that hinder their success,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “It is time for lawmakers to unleash the innovative force of charter schools by eliminating the cap and loosening some of the restrictions, so charter schools can do what they were intended to doprovide more parents with choice and help students succeed.”
Charter School Checkmate - FNC - Summer 2010
Report Grades NC Public Schools "D" - November 10, 2010
Groups Say Lift Charter School Cap - January 22, 2010
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