One step closer to increased parental school choice

by February 24, 2011

Thousands of parents are now closer to exercising more educational choice for their children thanks to the passage of a bill eliminating the state’s charter school cap in the State Senate. Senate Bill 8, which passed 32-17 this morning in the North Carolina Senate, will now go before the state House. PEFNC President Darrell Allison is especially appreciative of the Democratic support from Senator Malcolm Graham (D-Mecklenburg) and Senator Eleanor Kinnaird (D-Orange) during today’s final Senate vote.

“For nearly 15 years, North Carolina has had no significant movement to eliminate a restrictive cap that prevented thousands of families from having their children thrive in a public charter school,” Allison said. “Today we have crossed a major hurdle in advancing parental school choice in North Carolina. I would like to thank our Senate leaders for their bipartisan support and we look forward to working with our leadership in the House to lead this bill to the finish line.”

The call to eliminate the charter school cap, currently at 100 schools, comes from more than 20,000 families who are on charter waiting lists across the state and thousands more who demand increased parental school choice. Charters must hold lotteries if there are more applications than available seats, which is often the case.

None of North Carolina’s 99 charter schools are labeled as ‘low performing’ and the majority – 88 percent – made Adequate Yearly Progress last school year, according to the Department of Public Instruction. Only 57 percent of traditional public schools did the same.

PEFNC plans to continue its statewide efforts educating lawmakers and the public about parental school choice. The organization conducted legislative charter school tours last year and hosted viewings of Waiting for ‘Superman,’ where more than 2,000 people watched and discussed the movie. The groundbreaking documentary details the country’s education crisis and featured the experiences of five families seeking better academic opportunities.

“Taking leadership, when it comes to parental school choice, requires lawmakers to focus on what is right for North Carolina families,” Allison said. “Again, I want to thank our state senators for acting in the best interest of our parents and children. We look forward to our leaders in the House continuing the bill’s bipartisan support.”

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