A State Board of Education policy allowing school systems to ask that struggling schools be allowed to convert to charter-like schools may put two Southeast Raleigh elementary schools on a more experimental footing than others in the system.
The idea of the state policy is to allow local school boards to create, in effect, charter schools within the public school system, with more flexibility in hours, curricula, staffing and how teachers are paid. Charters, though some people mistakenly view them as “private” schools, are in fact public, intended to have more freedom than regular public schools and the ability to experiment with instructional methods, scheduling and course materials.
The charter “movement” has grown in North Carolina and finds favor with Republican lawmakers who are sometimes harsh critics of traditional public schools. While there are worrisome problems with some charters in terms of racial and socioeconomic balance, for example, it’s fair enough to allow school systems to try some of the charter characteristics to help schools that are showing poor performance levels for students.
The two schools Wake is looking to grant charter flexibility are Barwell Road and Walnut Creek, both with high percentages of students from low-income families. This change is worth a try.