RALEIGH – Two reports released Tuesday by the North Carolina Education Alliance provide compelling new findings about the state’s diverse and growing charter school movement, demonstrating that charter schools are…
From statehouses to corporate boardrooms to community centers, Americans are nearly universally aligned in support of transforming public education. Dismayed by overcrowding, low test scores, and high dropout rates, many people advocate overhauling the educational system in our country. Yet, however unified Americans may be on the need for educational reform, their perspectives diverge greatly on how to achieve it. Recent proposals have ranged from increasing federal funding, to requiring more stringent teacher accreditation, to lengthening school days and terms. Despite more than a decade of discussion, legislative proposals, and counterproposals, many problems remain. Yet, as public debate rages on, a group of concerned parents and educators, advocating freedom and change, is already quietly revolutionizing public education. The persistence of these reformers has resulted in a compelling alternative to traditional public schools — charter schools.
Most Americans agree that public education is in trouble. While legislators and educators have tried to fix failing schools by increasing funding, expanding regulations, or intensifying requirements for teachers, these changes have only served to patch a broken system. Public education in America needs radical reinvention, and charter schools provide an effective and powerful way to transform the educational system.
Just as North Carolina was on the verge of full compliance with EPA’s original ozone air pollution requirements, the standards were changed. In April 2004, most of the state once again was out of compliance. Policymakers and business leaders worry whether the state can meet the new federal requirements and avoid imposed limits on economic development and loss of federal transportation funds.
As the North Carolina Senate prepares to vote on its proposed 2004-05 budget
plan, it is important to keep in mind that an accounting change included in
the plan has the effect of masking the magnitude of the proposed increase.
State legislators are currently considering proposals to issue hundreds of millions of dollars in additional debt without seeking voter approval. The billions of dollars worth of bonds and other debt already approved since 1996 have more than quadrupled the state’s debt service and represent as much as a third of the fiscal impact of the tax hikes passed by the General Assembly since 2001. It’s no wonder politicians are wary of asking voters for more. But that’s why they should.
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