Charter school showdown in Raleigh
By Dr. Terry Stoops
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will be a busy week for the State Board of Education (SBE). State test scores and graduation rates will
be released on Thursday. I will have
details of the results in next week's newsletter.
this week's newsletter, I preview the upcoming SBE votes on the 25 charter
school applications vetted and approved by the NC Public Charter School
Advisory Council. Will members of the
SBE defer to the expertise of the council?
Or will they go rogue?
- Today would have been Milton Friedman's 100th
birthday. To honor his vision and the impact he has had on our society, we have
collaborated with policy groups from around the world to hold events in his
honor. Milton Friedman's contribution to
20th century economics is indisputable. But economics isn't the only area where
he had a vested interest. Friedman had a vision for transforming education
through free market principles. Join us
for a provocative discussion of Milton Friedman's ideas on education policy
with the John Locke Foundation's Vice President for Research and Resident
Scholar Dr. Roy Cordato, me, and the
Civitas Institute's Education Policy Director, Dr. Bob Luebke. The event will be held on Tuesday, July 31,
2012 at noon at the John Locke Foundation office in Raleigh.
- The North Carolina
History Project would like educators and homeschool parents to submit lesson
plans suitable for middle and high school courses in North Carolina
history. Please provide links to N.C.
History Project encyclopedia articles and other primary and secondary source
material, if possible. Go to the N.C. History Project website for further information.
- JLF's research newsletter archive probably invented
the Fosbury Flop.
Since passage of North Carolina's charter school legislation about fifteen
years ago, the State Board of Education (SBE) has maintained responsibility for
approving public charter school applications. To assist them in this effort,
charter school legislation passed last year established the Public Charter
School Advisory Council (PCSAC), a group of appointed volunteers who possess
expertise in public school administration and management. Earlier this year,
the advisory council recommended nine "fast-track" charter school
applications to the SBE. The board
granted charters to all nine schools. This
week, the SBE will determine if 25 schools approved by the members of the PCSAC
should receive charters to begin operation in 2013.
By all accounts, the members of
the PCSAC conducted a thorough and thoughtful application review process
reflected in the 60+ single-spaced pages of minutes from advisory council deliberations. According to these documents, the advisory
committee received a total of 63 applications and immediately rejected nine
incomplete submissions. PCSAC
subcommittees closely reviewed 54 applications and invited 30 applicants to be
interviewed by the entire council. After
the interviews, they rejected five additional schools and forwarded 25
applications to the State Board of Education.
In the end, fewer than half of the applications reviewed by the council
received a recommendation.
Will the SBE deny a charter to a school recommended by the
PCSAC? It's possible that SBE members
will feel compelled to "protect" school districts by rejecting
applications for charter schools in counties that already have high
concentrations of charters. A handful of
school boards and district administrators have complained that charter schools
compromise their ability to provide a sound, basic education to students
remaining in their schools. Indeed, Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Schools and Durham Public Schools each submitted so-called "impact
statements" in response to this year's round of charter applications.
As I have mentioned before, disagreements between the PCSAC
and school districts create a predicament for the SBE. A vote to deny a charter to one of the contested
charter schools in Mecklenburg or Durham counties would indicate that the measured
judgment of the advisory council is no match for some good, old-fashioned school
district griping. Charter school advocates
would contend that the SBE was unable or unwilling to conduct the charter
authorization process in an impartial way.
They would resume their push for radical changes to the charter approval
process, such as multiple or independent charter school authorizers.
If the SBE rejects one or
more applications, they will do so in spite of strong public support for
charter schools. According to a survey
recently commissioned by the Center for Education Reform in Washington, D.C.,
70 percent of North Carolina voters agreed that communities should be allowed
to create charter schools. Support was
consistent across political affiliations and demographic characteristics. A majority of North Carolina Republicans,
Democrats, Independents, African Americans, women, and registered voters with
school-aged children welcome charter schools in their communities. It is too bad that a few school boards and
district school officials do not feel the same way.
"American" Olympic sport is Modern Pentathlon. I mean, it sounds
like your average summer day in Detroit - swimming, running, riding, shooting
pistols, and trying to stab a complete stranger with a sharp object.
NC Public Charter
School Advisory Council Charter School Recommendations:
- Aristotle Preparatory Academy (Mecklenburg)
- Cabarrus Charter Academy (Cabarrus)
- Cameron Creek Charter (Mecklenburg)
- Charlotte Choice Charter (Mecklenburg)
- Douglass Academy (New Hanover)
- Falls Lake Academy (Granville)
- Flemington Academy (Columbus)
- Howard & Lillian Lee Scholars (Orange)
- Invest Collegiate (Mecklenburg)
- Island Montessori Charter (New Hanover)
- Langtree Charter Academy (Iredell)
- Longleaf School of the Arts (Wake)
- Oxford Preparatory High School (Granville)
- Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy (Bladen)
- Pinnacle Classical Academy (Cleveland)
- Southeastern Academy (Robeson)
- STEM Education for a Global Society Academy
- StudentFirst Academy (Mecklenburg)
- Summerfield Charter Academy (Guilford)
- The Expedition School (Orange)
- The Institute for the Development of Young
- The North Carolina Leadership Academy (Forsyth)
- Uwharrie Charter Academy (Randolph)
- Willow Oak Montessori (Chatham)
- Z.E.C.A School of Arts and Technology (Onslow)
I would like to invite all readers
to submit announcements, as well as their personal insights, anecdotes,
concerns, and observations about the state of education in North Carolina. I will publish selected submissions in future
editions of the newsletter. Anonymity
will be honored. For additional
information or to send a submission, email Terry at [email protected].
Education Acronym of the Week
PCSAC - Public Charter School Advisory Council
Quote of the Week
"The thing that amazes me is the combination of
innovation and a consistent application of common sense. ... In these charter
schools, you just see these examples of common sense and these things that are
having an enormous impact on kids' lives."
- Thom Tillis, Speaker of the NC House of Representatives,
at the Keynote Banquet of the 2012 Charter Schools Conference, July 23, 2012
Click here for the Education
Tuesday, Jul. 31st, 2012 at 12:00 pm
Friedman Legacy Freedom Lecture
with our special guest Joseph P. Calhoun
Keeping Milton Friedman's Ideas Alive in Colleges and Universities
Tuesday, Jul. 31st, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
Friedman Legacy Freedom Lecture
with our special guests Dr. Roy Cordato, Dr. Terry Stoops, and Bob Luebke
Milton Friedman, School Choice, and Public Choice
Monday, Aug. 6th, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guests The Reporters and Editors of the
Q & A with the Reporters & Editors of Carolina Journal
Monday, Aug. 27th, 2012 at 12:00pm Noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Ray Nothstine
"Is Civil Religion Enough? Religion & Presidential Campaigns."