North Carolina’s cap on charter schools keeps thousands of students from attending the school of their choice. This morning's News & Observer tells us the state’s cap may also cost the state millions in federal innovation grants. Encouraged by the positive results of many charter schools, the Obama administration is encouraging states to expand their number. According to a Department of Education spokesman, states who put a cap on charter schools will be at a competitive disadvantage when applying for nearly $4.4 billion in K-12 “Race to the Top” funds.
The feds position is not news. A June 8th Department of Education press release spells out the Obama Administration’s position. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan amplified those comments in remarks he gave on June 14th to the National Governor’s Association in Cary. I also blogged on the dilemma the state was facing two weeks ago. What is news is how very expensive the Democrats opposition to charters may prove to be. Charter school advocates advocates have failed on numerous times to get the Legislature to lift the cap. Earlier this year the House approved legislation (HB 856) to raise the charter school cap to 106. That bill is now in committee in the Senate. Even if signed by the Governor it does nothing to resolve the current problem. Let's hope the looming financial consquences spur the General Assembly to finally lift the charter school cap altogether and expand educational opportunities to all children throughout the state.