Since Republican lawmakers, in yet another slap at mainstream public schools, foolishly lifted the 100-school cap on charter schools in 2011, more charters have developed, to the point where there now are 173 of them. GOP leaders, who with their voucher program and the lifting of the charter cap have intentionally hurt regular schools in the name of “choice,” would like to see even more charters just as they intend to expand their voucher program giving public funds to people to send their kids to private school.
These actions represent the misguided dismantling of a public education system that helped change North Carolina for the better over the last 100 years. Now a paper co-authored by Duke University Professor Helen Ladd reports, authoritatively, that in selected North Carolina school districts, charters are draining money from conventional public schools – the ones to which most families send their children. In Durham, the amount going to charters costs the school district between $500 and $700 per student.
Charter advocates dismiss any questions by saying they’re just complaints from anti-charter people and that more charters are all to the good. But North Carolina has let charters grow too fast in number without contemplating their effect on regular public schools – and without GOP legislators bolstering funding for regular schools to offset the losses from more charters. One hundred years of progress – now at risk thanks to politically driven ideology targeting conventional, and successful, public schools.