by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
House Bill 250: Charter School Enrollment & Charter Revisions has been getting some attention lately. Among other provisions, the bill would allow a charter school to add grade levels without approval from the State Board of Education.
And this is a big deal for citizens of Pamlico County. Increasingly, families are choosing one public school, Arapahoe Charter School, over the public schools in the Pamlico County Schools system. WUNC pointed out in a recent story that 18 percent of children in Pamlico County attend Arapahoe Charter. The market share would be greater, but earlier this year, the State Board of Education (SBE) denied Arapahoe’s request to add grades 10-12.
It was a predictable outcome. For years, the SBE has been in the business of protecting one type of public school (district) at the expense of another (charter). Let’s face it; the SBE knows better than those ignorant Pamlico parents who choose to send their children to Arapahoe Charter.
Speaking of parents, one commented that after the SBE denied Arapahoe’s grade expansion request,
It broke my heart, and not for me. It broke my heart for these families that believed in us and these kids that believed in us and they took a leap of faith and stayed with us in ninth grade, with no guarantee of anything else being able to happen.
In other words, parents came to Arapahoe Charter School and their children found a home there. They wanted their children to stay through high school and graduate from the school that had done so much good for their kids over the years. If passed and signed into law, HB 250 will give them that opportunity.