Senate amendment undermines basic tenet of public education

The next time someone asks you how it is that North Carolina’s elected leaders are undermining the public education in our state (not to mention the basics of democratic governance), direct them to this morning’s lead story on the main NC Policy Watch site by Education Reporter, Lindsay Wagner. Here’s the lead:

For two years now, Arapahoe Charter School in Pamlico County has been fighting the State Board of Education for approval to expand from a K-8 school to a K-12 school. After the Board denied its request, Arapahoe appealed, and the case remains pending before the state Office of Administrative Hearings.

Rather than wait for that process to play out, however, Arapahoe’s director, Tom McCarthy, tried a different approach.

“We worked very closely with our local legislators, Sen. Norman Sanderson and Rep. Michael Speciale, to see if there was some type of legislative fix that could take place,” McCarthy told NC Policy Watch in a call on Thursday.

That “legislative fix” showed up in the Senate Education committee on Wednesday. Added to House Bill 250, legislation originally intended to address public charter school enrollment procedures, was a provision to allow all North Carolina charter schools to expand the grades they offer without seeking prior approval from the State Board of Education.

“Senator Berger’s office was also influential and instrumental in drafting the language,” said McCarthy. “And Sara Riggins in Berger’s office worked with Rep. Hardister’s office to make sure he was okay with the additional language so there would be no issues when it went back to the House,” he said.

You got that?Apparently unsatisfied with merely removing the cap on the number of charter schools in the state (a group that is already scarcely regulated at all), the state Senate is now prepared to do away with the last vestiges of charter school oversight. Under this late-session amendment, existing charters would be given virtual carte blanche to expand as they like — regardless of the impact on the public school system of which they are supposed to be a part.

If this new development doesn’t, once and for all, demonstrate  what the charter school movement in North Carolina has come to be about (and expose the utter vacuousness of the “incubators of innovation” myth), heaven help our state.  

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Doug

    June 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Funny, no one out in the real world actually asks that question. And the progressives I have been in actual conversations with usually come around to seeing the logic of what is going on and concede a bit that the legislature is doing some sorely needed things. Granted, usually these are progressives self-described as “fiscally conservative” but still, there are some of you who do understand we cannot confiscate to prosperity.

  2. gregflynn

    June 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

    In the real world that I live in people ask questions like that all the time. Like, why are legislators undermining provisions of a state constitution they are sworn to uphold? It’s obvious from the range of your comments here that you have no clue what progressive means. The issue of a system of free public education overseen by a state board of education lies in the state constitution. That’s the logic that needs to be understood.

  3. Khem Irby

    June 29, 2013 at 1:19 am

    If a school is performing well, and evidently the parents would like the continuity after building a relationship in their K-8, it’s obvious to allow it to continue. If they are not increasing their sections with the expansion, then they are not hurting their local school district.

    I believe they should still submit a scope and sequence for the expansion and the state should see petitions signed by the parents that are committed to the expansion and will continue with the school.

    If parents don’t want to return their children to their zoned school for high school, then this is a choice. Even though it would be great to see how well former charter school students do when they return to their local schools.

    It’s all about the student and what the parents want for their child. K-12 schools have some value.