Though the legislation is far from perfect, charter school supporters earned something of a victory when the Senate passed HB 856. The bill increases the charter school cap from 100 to 106. Unlike the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Charter Schools which argued for a soft cap which could increase based on academic performance, HB 856 establishes a hard cap and gives priority to counties that do not have charter school.
The bill also creates tighter standards for nonrenewal or termination of charter schools. If a school don’t meet the student performance goals for two consecutive years, the state board MAY terminate or fail to renew charter. I’m all for accountability, but why the double standard? Last year 69 percent of North Carolina public schools failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals. Do you think we’ll see those schools closing down anytime soon? I’m all for accountability, but why the double standard?
HB 856 has flaws, but I still think passage is a victory for all those who think charter schools are one of the best paths for furthering true education reform. Let's hope the Senate feels the same way.