Since 2012, NC Accelerator has assisted 12 public charter schools in obtaining approval from the State Board of Education to open in 11 districts where student proficiency is currently as low as 24%.
The State of Public Charter Schools in North Carolina
North Carolina, although known for its educational advances, still has failing schools, a dearth of education innovation, limited options for families (particularly in underserved communities), and a workforce that lacks the training to take full advantage of available job opportunities in technology and other 21st century careers.
Prior to 2011 when the North Carolina General Assembly removed the cap on public charter schools, only 100 existed in North Carolina. On average, 12 new public charter schools are opening annually. In the fall of 2016 as many as 170 public charter schools could be operating across the state.
However, even with this growth, there are still 40 counties in North Carolina without a public charter school. There is a great need to strengthen education in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina. According to research conducted by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, there are 11 million students in rural public schools and children in rural America are more likely than their peers to live in poverty than in any other geographic area. Research also shows that only 27% of rural high school graduates go on to college, and just one in five rural adults has earned a bachelor’s degree.
Despite the growth of public charter schools since the cap was removed in 2011, 40 North Carolina counties still do not have public charter schools.
How the North Carolina Public Charter School Accelerator is Offering a Solution to this Crisis
The North Carolina Public Charter School Accelerator was launched by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) in 2012 to equip education leaders with tools to design effective educational programs and strengthen community partnerships in order to start and sustain high-quality public charter schools in rural communities. With low student performance and a limited number of public charters in these areas, the N.C. Accelerator aims to increase the number of high-quality educational options while also serving as an economic development tool.
To prepare aspiring teams of public charter school leaders with the skills and resources they need to open high-quality schools, the North Carolina Public Charter School Accelerator has developed, from national best practices, comprehensive training sessions along with access to local and national support. Through the North Carolina Public Charter School Accelerator, graduates will launch public charter schools that have rigorous educational plans, a strong governing board and financial stability.