by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
There is an interesting story in The Charlotte Observer today about charter school growth. Evidently, it’s expected that Mecklenburg County’s schools will enroll 3200 more students next year than they currently do, and almost 2700 of those are expected to choose charter schools over traditional district schools.
There was a lot in this piece that I found interesting, but nothing more so than the idea that all this charter growth is forcing Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to “craft strategies to make the district competitive.” The article makes it clear that the schools have to compete both for funds from the county commissioners and for students. They do that by offering special programs, new structures, schools in growing areas, etc.
This is a really good thing. School choice advocates have long argued that increasing choice will raise standards in all schools, including traditional public schools. As parents and students are given other options, district schools will be forced to up their game and come up with creative strategies to attract students and dollars. It may be challenging at times, but the winners are students who end up with education – whether at a traditional district, charter, private, or home school – that better meets their needs.