There has been a lot of talk recently about how this has been a banner year for school choice. Just how big has it been?

Jason Bedrick of EdChoice lays out just how big a year it’s been in a morning post. He notes:

  • 5 new choice programs – 4 ESAs of various types and 1 tax credit scholarship – have been approved in five states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and West Virginia)
  • 13 existing choice programs in 10 different states have been expanded. (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas,  Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma and South Dakota)

No, North Carolina isn’t on either one of those lists — yet.

Several bills to expand school choice in North Carolina are still alive in the General Assembly.  They include:

Changes to Opportunity Scholarship and Other Choice Programs. Two separate bills, HB 32 and SB 671 each passed their respective chamber. Those bills revised the state’s three choice programs. The bills have numerous similarities.  A likely path for the bill is for the differences to be worked out between the chambers and agreed upon language then included into the budget bill.

HB -934 – Student Success Program – Provides $1,000 grants to eligible families to help address learning loss. The bill is popular idea with public. However, it needs a strong legislative champion. The need is there. The money is there. Is  the political will?

H 729 – Charter Omnibus bill. Among other things, allows charter schools to provide remote and in-classroom instruction.  Counties are also authorized to provide capital funds to charters if they so choose.

 HB – 616 – Charter Replication Act – Establishes academic and financial criteria for boards of directors or contracts with EMO/CMOs for replicating charter applicants. Passed the House.

It’s been a very good year for school choice. We’re hoping North Carolina will help to make it an even better one.