2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 72%
Education Savings Account
North Carolina’s Personal Education Savings Account program was enacted in 2017 and will begin providing funding to students in the 2018–19 school year. The sixth education savings account (ESA) program in the nation, North Carolina’s Personal Education Savings Account provides families with students with special needs additional funds to pay for a variety of educational services. The program can be used in conjunction with the state’s two exiting voucher programs.
North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarships program was enacted in 2013 and began in 2014. The program provides private school vouchers to children from low-income households. Families can use these school vouchers to pay for tuition, transportation, equipment and other necessary private school expenses.
This North Carolina school voucher program was enacted in 2013 and began in 2014. Students with qualifying special needs are eligible to receive school vouchers, which are awarded by semester, rather than school year. Families may use vouchers to pay private school tuition or homeschool services.
Charter Schools Score: 78%
North Carolina earns a C-grade in CER’s rankings. Positive aspects of the law include no cap on the number of schools that can exist, robust protections for teachers, and the recent authorization of more innovative charters. However, a lack of equitable funding provisions and multiple, independent authorizers hurts the state’s grade prevent the state from earning more than a C.
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed: 1996
- Number of Charters: 167
- Estimated Charter Enrollment: 91,800 (up 12 percent from 2015-16)
- North Carolina Does not Cap the Number of Charter Schools that can be authorized
- Virtual Charter Schools are allowed for students in grades 6-12
- Charter Schools can contract with EMOs and CMOs for management purposes.
- North Carolina earned 7 out of 15 points for “authorizing” because the state has only one semi-independent authorizer, the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board. The Board reviews all applications for charter schools and then recommends them to the State Board of Education which makes the final decision. This approach prevents diversity in the charter sector. Additionally, operators may not appeal authorizing decisions, which means that there is little to no recourse for a charter applicant who feels that the state board of education made an incorrect or politically motivated decision.
- North Carolina earns 14 out of 15 points for “growth” because the state does not cap the number of charter schools that can be authorized. The state has also implemented policies that make it easy for schools to expand without going through an onerous “re-application” process. The state loses a point, however, because the availability of charters has not kept pace with demand.
- North Carolina earns 13 of 20 points for “operations.” The state provides charters a blanket waiver from most state rules and regulations, but localities impose requirements on charter school boards that hinder autonomy.
North Carolina earns 5 of 15 points for “funding equity.” Although the law provides that charters should receive per-pupil funds equal to the district allocation where the charter is located, those funds are often withheld in practice. Furthermore, application fees for charter applications and renewals unfairly disadvantage charters. Charters do not receive per pupil facilities funding or funding for pre-k programs.
Online Learning Score: 75%
North Carolina’s Virtual Public School is the second largest virtual school in the country. However, the state earns low marks for student access and student eligibility. The state approved its first virtual charter schools in 2015, and demand is already outpacing the arbitrary cap of 1,500 students. The state has provided scalable bandwidth to K12 public school campuses and buildings at no cost to the district or charter schools since 2008.
Teacher Quality Score: 72%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers D+
Identifying Effective Teachers B-
Retaining Effective Teachers C+
Exiting Ineffective Teachers F