NC approves virtual charter schools

By Stephanie Carson
Public News Service-NC

RALEIGH — Starting next year, North Carolina’s charter schools will expand beyond the four walls of a classroom.

State lawmakers approved a pilot program in this year’s budget that requires the state Board of Education to approve two statewide virtual charter schools – making the companies eligible for millions in public education dollars.

Photo credit: North Carolina may have as many as two privately owned, online charter schools next year.

Photo credit:
North Carolina may have as many as two privately owned, online charter schools next year.

Yevonne Brannon, chair of the advocacy group Public Schools First North Carolina, is concerned about the quality of education that state tax dollars will fund.

“It’s something to really be concerned about because we’re taking tax dollars earmarked for public schools, and we’re putting them into a charter,” she points out. “It’s totally online. We have no way to judge its quality or judge the impact on the actual student learning.”

K12 Incorporated and Connections Academy – the nation’s two largest online education companies – have applied for online charter school status.

The schools would receive approximately $9,000 per student.

Supporters of the charter programs say it will offer the state’s students more choices.

The program is separate from the North Carolina Virtual Public School, currently run by the state that offers online classes to students.

Neighboring Tennessee opened a K12 Incorporated school four years ago, but may shut the school down at the end of this year, citing three years of low test scores.

“All of these things drain money from the already lean budgets of our state public schools,” Brannon points out. “So they’re already struggling and we’re going to be pouring more students, more money away from the public schools.”

If approved, as many as 3,000 students could be enrolled in the two schools combined by the end of next year.

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  • Glenda Moore Sherrill

    Well, it’s finally here.
    Online School. Watch out teachers… there goes your job! And they
    are using money allocated for public schools…. $9,000 per student. How
    do they figure it’s going to cost that much? No text books, no buses, no
    lunches, etc… Isn’t our educational system bad enough? I’m not exactly
    sure where NC Schools are ranked nationally, but I know it’s somewhere at the
    bottom. And I just read this the other day… ‘U.S.
    performance was extremely low, doing average in reading and science and
    well below average in math. We failed to reach the top 20 in any of
    the subjects tested. America fell notably below the United Kingdom and well
    behind most of our Asian counterparts.” I saw a television report on
    Schools in America and saw where students in other countries think Americans
    students have little or no intelligence. I sometimes wonder how
    much intelligence the State lawmakers who are making
    all these decisions have.

    • Brantley Lyerly

      What text books? When I asked for one, I was given a website. When my oldest daughter was in middle school the text boosk were on top of or in counters and you had to get special permission and a parent request to check them out. Excuse me? We were give a book for our classes all year long! I still pay book fees so are the ones needs for my child learn from at home and school? Public schools basical have turned in to places we have to legally send our kids to learrn alot of crap outside of :reading. Writing. Math. History people. Art and music. T has become more about fund raisers and doing favoritism and singling out certain kids and disciplinary action being tossed around when it wants to be. I see why our kids r getting screwed up and yall at school blame the parents and home life. Well I got you on that one! I’m ashamed of the shape of our educational system!

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