The primary legislative intentions for charter schools in N.C. are effective innovations and improved learning for all students. The application process for a charter assures neither goal.
Surprisingly, little weight is given to promising innovations for children. In fact, to my knowledge, successful innovations are not researched or disseminated. Given the understaffed Office of Charter Schools and the large increase in schools being authorized, effective quality assurances are all but out of reach.
Irrespective of which agency governs charters, much more attention needs to be focused on quality outcomes. Therefore, reviews should be conducted by the state agency every three to five years to ensure that charter schools are, in fact, doing what they were chartered to do; that student achievement is progressing; and that promising innovations are studied, documented and promoted so other schools may benefit from them.
Lastly, the Department of Public Instruction should determine the actual benefits of exempting charters from certain regulations. If there are documented benefits that improve student learning, then it is both logical and ethical to allow the same exemptions for all N.C. schools.