Education

Diversity Low Among N.C. Charter Schools

Feb 2, 2016
At one point, only six percent of students at Central Park School for Children in Durham, NC qualified for free and reduced meals. After enacting a weighted lottery that prioritizes low-income families, that number is up to 18 percent. The goal is 40.
Reema Khrais / WUNC

Since the late 1990s, the racial diversity of North Carolina’s 158 charter schools has decreased with more institutions becoming predominantly white or predominantly minority.

In January, a draft of a state report on charter schools showed they were whiter and richer compared to traditional public schools. Advocates for charter schools say they offer an option for low-income families in low-performing schools. Opponents say they are slipping back into segregated systems.

classroom
David Schott / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow charter school organizations and charter management companies to take over the state's lowest performing schools.

The UNC-system saw its highest enrollment ever last fall, and data show minorities are driving the system's growth.

Teacher pay increases may be a possibility in the upcoming legislative session, according to Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke), who chairs the House committee on education spending.

children reading
U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

Guilford County Schools says it needs more resources and teacher training to boost reading scores.

DeShannon Korrea and Dwayne Taylor head home, lottery tickets in-hand, from the BP on Lakewood in Durham.
Jess Clark

At Saturday night's Powerball drawing, one very lucky ticketholder could win more than $900 million—the largest lottery jackpot in the nation's history. Ticket sales from Powerball and other lottery games offered in North Carolina are billed as a benefit for the state’s schools. Sales in 2015 were almost $2 billion, and about a quarter of that went to fund public education in the state. But what does that really mean for school funding?

teacher in a blur with classroom
Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

The State Board of Education has approved a policy that allows struggling charter schools to stay open if they are less than five years old.

As part of the 2013-14 state budget, the State Board of Education is required to study virtual charter schools and propose draft rules.
Ian Usher via Flickr

  UPDATED Jan. 11, 2016

Twenty percent of students who enrolled in the state's first virtual charter schools left before the end of the semester, according to a report from the state department of public instruction.

State Board of Education member Olivia Oxendine says she wants to find out why so many students are pulling out.

Lt. Governor Dan Forest has asked the State Board of Education to delay the approval of an annual report on charter schools because he says he thinks the report is too negative.

The state board planned to approve the report this week in order to send it to the General Assembly before a January deadline.

Day Care
Wikimedia Commons

New research suggests childcare can improve the brain development of kids who live in chaotic homes.

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