With the State Board of Education set to review 25 applications to open charter schools for the 2013-14 school year today, the Justice Center called on the board to carefully review these applicants to ensure that every charter school that opens in North Carolina meets the requirements for charter operation and is accessible to all students.
In a letter sent last week, the Justice Center outlined concerns that many of the charter applicants do not offer transportation to students, have not yet identified facilities, negatively impact Local Education Agencies, and fail to adequately serve at-risk students. Without addressing these concerns, newly opened charter schools will continue the trend found in existing charter schools of enrolling disproportionately small numbers of economically-disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, and students who are at-risk of failing.
Further, the currently understaffed Office of Charter Schools will need additional resources to provide meaningful oversight to the rapidly growing number of charter schools under its charge.
This is the first time the charter school approval process has taken place since the General Assembly lifted the 100-school cap on charter schools in 2011.
“However, this should not be an invitation to open the door for weak charter school applicants that are unlikely to meet students’ needs”, the letter reads. “Rather, this is an opportunity for the State Board to approve the very best charter schools so that any charter approved in this process will be outstanding and improve educational opportunities for all students.”