Failing charter schools harm NC families

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Despite a rush by lawmakers to expand the number of charter schools in NC, little research has been done into just how effective these schools are. A new report by our friends at NC Policy Watch highlights a few disturbing stories of schools that shutdown during the school year, leaving taxpayers footing the bill and students scrambling. 

Read more at NC Policy Watch: 

StudentFirst was one of 10 charter schools in North Carolina that have closed since 2012, displacing more than 1,100 students, according to the state Office of Charter Schools. Four of them closed during their first year of operation. Most closed because of financial problems, but some also closed because of academic failings or improper governance—or all three.

The closing of a charter school is a highly disruptive event for students and their families, and costly for taxpayers as well. Charter schools that closed in their first year of operation spent altogether about $3.5 million in taxpayer funds with little to show for that investment.

A bill enacted in 2015 placed the Office of Charter Schools under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Education (of which the charter school board is a subgroup). But so far, little has changed. Although legislative leaders are pressing for a rapid expansion of the charter school sector, they have not boosted resources for oversight and support. Eleven new charters are scheduled to open in the coming weeks, and evidence is mounting that half or more of them will be starting out on thin ice.

Today these charter schools that were approved in 2014 are now weeks away from opening their doors. The State Board of Education heard a report in July from state oversight officials on the progress of their preparations — and many were still not ready to open. Seven were cited for insufficiency in areas that include enrollment, financial information, and facilities, according to the News & Observer.

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