NEW RESOURCE: We answer Charter School FAQs

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 Learn the facts about NC’s public charter schools!

Public charter schools are outperforming district schools in North Carolina and providing a tuition-free choice to an increasing number of parents. Learn the basics of public charter schools, where to find one, and how you can help. View facts, videos, and resources, below! 

Fast Facts

Fact 1:
Charter Schools are free and public.

Charter schools are 100% tuition-free for any student, regardless of address, income or ability level. In communities without charter schools, parents without the time or money required to send their child to a home or private school are left with only one tuition-free option: a district school determined by address, not quality.

Fact 2:
Charter schools are diverse.

In 2016, the NC Department of Public Instruction reported that NC charter schools serve higher percentages of students in 4 of 6 non-white categories. Charter schools do not engage in selective admissions and are required to fully service students with special needs.

Fact 3:
Charter schools perform better academically.

On 2015 End-of-Grade (EOG) tests, the state performance average for charter schools in NC was 66.7% compared to the NC district school average of 56.2% — a  difference of 10 percentage points. Further, the same testing data reveal that students in 12 of 13 demographic categories had a significantly higher chance of passing their EOG at charter school versus a district school.

Fact 4:
Charter schools are not required to use Common Core.

Unlike district schools, charter schools are free from the mandate to use the controversial Common Core curriculum. Charter schools were created to allow innovation in public education to inform best practices that the state could then implement. While not required to use Common Core, charter schools are required to take the same EOG tests as district schools. The State Board of Education approves all curricula in place at public charter schools. Many exciting educational programs are offered by public charter schools, including classical education, STEM, language-immersion and Montessori, among others.

Fact 5:
Charter schools are more accountable.

Charter schools receive the same annual audits as do counties, towns, and school districts. These “Local Government Commission” (LGC) audits ensure financial and regulatory compliance.

Additionally, and unlike district schools, charter schools who receive an “F” school performance grade for two consecutive years can face closure. This incentivizes charter schools to proactively monitor and responsively ensure students’ academic success. Further, as charter schools depend on voluntary parent choice for their enrollment, free-market forces create a need for charter schools to provide a superior or quality educational “product” to attract “customers”. Charter schools’ survival is linked with academic performance, unlike district schools.

Fact 6:
Charter schools save taxpayer money.

NC charter schools currently receive only 73% of the per-pupil funds that district students receive. This means that charter school students receive approximately $2,000 less than a district school student. Further, charter schools do not receive public funding for their facilities, which on average cost taxpayers $18-$20 million in bonded debt per each new district school.

Fact 7:
Charter schools are popular.

NC charter school enrollment has increased by 85% over the past five years with 167 schools serving approximately 90,000 students. In a 2015 state poll, 87% of respondents agreed that parents school have the right to choose a school for their child.

Informational Videos

Additional Resources: 

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