Monthly Archives

May 2021

U.S. Senate passes bipartisan resolution celebrating charter schools

By Legislation, News

Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution honoring and celebrating public charter schools. The resolution follows National Charter Schools Week, which took place May 9-15 amidst celebrations and recognitions.

The Senate resolution congratulates the “students, families, teachers, leaders, and staff of public charter schools across the United States” for their contributions to public education. It notes the “impressive strides” charter schools have made in closing the achievement gap. In addition, the resolution recognizes that charter schools have helped to improve and strengthen the U.S. public school system.

Read a blog post about the resolution from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools here. As the Alliance notes, the resolution was sponsored by Senator Tim Scott, R-SC, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers:

  • Sen. Michael Bennet, D-CO
  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ
  • Sen. John Boozman R-AR
  • Sen. Mike Braun, R-IN
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-LA
  • Sen. Thomas Carper, D-DE
  • Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX
  • Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-ND
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA
  • Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-TN
  • Sen. Ron Johnson, R-WI
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY
  • Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL
  • Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL
  • Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC
  • Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-AL
  • Sen. Roger Wicker, R-MS
  • Sen. Todd Young, R-IN

Read the full U.S. Senate resolution here.

EdNC features Lindalyn’s op-ed on charter leadership during COVID

By COVID-19, News

Lindalyn’s message about charter school leadership during COVID is featured on EdNC today.

Charter schools have responded to the pandemic in innovative and agile ways. Families continue to seek out charter options. As Lindalyn writes:

Families clearly like what they see. Even prior to the pandemic, families were flocking to charter schools. With their myriad missions and offerings — language immersion, character education, performing arts curricula, service learning, STEM/STEAM programs, Montessori focus, and more — charter schools hold growing appeal. The state’s 200 public charter schools now serve more than 126,000 students, an increase from 117,000 students in 2019-20. Seventy-eight percent of charter schools report waitlists, totaling 76,000 students.

Read Lindalyn’s EdNC piece here.

New COVID relief funding coming to NC charter schools

By COVID-19, Legislation
New COVID relief funds are coming soon to NC charter schools. Last Thursday, the NC House passed S 172–Additional COVID-19 Response & Relief. The bill was ratified later that day. Yesterday, Governor Cooper signed the bill into law.
S 172 includes $3,224,272,535 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding. The bill also includes $21.5 million for charter and residential schools. Read House Speaker Tim Moore’s press release about the legislation here.

A $400 per pupil funding floor for charter schools

S 172 sets a minimum funding floor for relief of $400 per ADM for charters. See Section 3.5 of the ratified bill — Minimum (floor) funding for public school units, with or without Title I eligibility. The legislation ensures that $2o million is placed in reserve for this purpose, and that non-Title I charter schools are not excluded from the funding allocation.
The Coalition was responsible for securing this funding for charter schools. Our Government Relations Team also worked hard to get funding relief to this level.
The first time the state distributed ESSER funds, we had to negotiate with the State Board of Education (SBE). This time with ESSER III funds, we took action on two important fronts:
  • We kept SBE out of the decision-making process.
  • We negotiated an amount with lawmakers of $400 per ADM for charters.
This is by far the largest pot of ESSER funds to date. Here’s a round-up of the ESSER fund distributions to charters:
  • For ESSER I, the funding floor was $45 per ADM.
  • For ESSER II, the funding floor was $180 per ADM.
  • For ESSER III, the funding floor is $400 per ADM.
We are proud of the work the Coalition’s Government Relations Team has done to secure this funding, at this level, for our state’s charter schools!

A North Carolina charter student is named a 2021 Presidential Scholar

By Awards, News

A NC charter school student is a Presidential Scholar

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has announced the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars. Nationwide, 161 high school seniors will receive the award. Six recipients are public charter school students. One Presidential Scholar, Pratyush Seshadri, attends a North Carolina charter school: Raleigh Charter High School in Cary. Congratulations to Pratyush and Raleigh Charter High School!

Two other NC high school students are 2021 Presidential Scholars: Ijay  Narang, of Charlotte, from Ardrey Kell High School, and Nrithya P. Renganathan, of Cary, from The North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics.

About the Presidential Scholars Program

Selection criteria for this award are especially rigorous. As a result, the program recognizes the most outstanding students nationwide, in achievement and service. A press release from the U.S. Department of Education explains:

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Secretary Miguel Cardona expressed his congratulations:

“The 2021 Presidential Scholars represent extraordinary achievements for our extraordinary times,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I am delighted to join President Biden in saluting these outstanding young people for their achievements, service, character and continued pursuit of excellence. Their examples make me proud and hopeful about the future. Honoring them can remind us all of the great potential in each new generation and renew our commitment to helping them achieve their dreams.”

In a press release, Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt praised the NC recipients:

“They’ve all done amazing things during their time in school, and especially during a trying year for all North Carolinians, they continued to demonstrate excellence,” Truitt said. “They have much to be proud of, and they represent the best of North Carolina’s youth.”

Read a press release about the charter scholars from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools here.

During COVID, charter schools have helped lead the way

By COVID-19, News

As the pandemic begins to recede, educators are looking back. What worked in K-12 education? What didn’t?

For the state’s charter schools, a look-back is common practice. In fact, statute mandates an annual charter report to assess the “educational effectiveness” of the state’s charter schools.

A challenging year for charter schools

Like all schools, charter schools experienced an especially difficult year in 2020. Recently, the State Board of Education (SBE) learned how charters responded. On SBE’s May agenda: a discussion of the new annual charter report for 2020. As it turns out, charter schools have helped lead the way during the pandemic.

In a new op-Ed published by North State Journal, the Coalition’s executive director, Lindalyn Kakadelis, provides a run-down on some of the ways they did it:

… Charter teachers worked to ensure continuity and efficacy in communication, utilizing an array of tools strategies, and platforms. Nine out of 10 charter teachers combined synchronous and asynchronous lessons, the charter report notes. Eight in 10 used video conferencing and written comments to give students feedback, as well as communicating with parents via remote and face-to-face conferences. Seven in 10 charter teachers provided tutoring and targeted help for students.

Charter teachers also kept close tabs on student well-being. At almost all charters — 97% — teachers conducted regular check-ins with students on academic and personal issues. Nearly two-thirds of charter teachers conducted consistent social-emotional check-ins with their students as well, the charter report found. Such comprehensive oversight, while demanding for teachers, undoubtedly helped keep more students on track during the protracted time of remote learning.

We applaud the state’s charter schools! Read more of the op-Ed here.

Anti-charter legislation and this legislative session

By Legislation, News

We have passed the crossover deadline in the General Assembly!

Last Thursday, May 13, marked crossover in the General Assembly. As a result, bills that do not include any appropriations must have passed either the House or Senate chamber by this deadline. Bills that do not cross over are no longer eligible to be considered for the remainder of the 2021-22 legislative session.
Read a recent summary from EdNC here about education legislation that survived crossover.
For charter schools, there is some good news moving forward! During this session, lawmakers have been considering TWO charter school omnibus bills. These bills are quite different. The first bill, H 729, contains provisions favorable to charters. The second bill, H 920, is an anti-charter bill that includes provisions  restricting charter autonomy in significant ways.

Charter Schools Omnibus (H 729)

H 729 passed the House on Wednesday by a vote of 63-52, and has now moved on to the Senate. This bill would enable charters to provide blended instruction; would authorize counties to provide charters with capital funds; would ensure funding parity for charters; and would permit charter teachers to receive residency licensure. Access the bill history for H 729 here.
Last Wednesday, the Coalition sent out a statewide call to action, asking charter leaders to contact their representatives in the House regarding an amendment to H 729. That amendment, which would have removed Part II (authorizing counties to provide charters with capital funds), failed. Thank you for taking action! As we mentioned above, the bill then went on to pass the House.

A special thank-you to Rep. Brockman

We would especially like to share our appreciation with Rep. Cecil Brockman (D) – Guilford for voting in favor of H 729. Please feel free to contact him to thank him for his support of public charter schools. He can be reached at or 919.733.5825.

Charter School Omnibus (H 920)

We have also been tracking a second, and very different, charter omnibus bill, filed on May 10. H 920 – Charter School Omnibus would severely restrict charter autonomy. Fortunately, this bill did not “cross over” to the Senate. As a result, it will not move forward.
Here is the list of H 920’s sponsors:
This bill is a clear and concerning example of what could await charter schools if we do not remain alert and vigilant about protecting charter autonomy. It’s also a stark reminder of the importance of working to elect charter supporters to the legislature, no matter the party.
While the bill did not cross over, any of the mandates in it could appear as amendments to other bills. Maintaining charter autonomy in the face of legislative threats such as this one is the reason why the Coalition is in Raleigh! We are committed to safeguarding your autonomy as charter leaders.

Charter supporters prevail in pro-charter legislation

By Legislation

Charter supporters had a big win yesterday!

An amendment stripping a funding provision from charter legislation has failed.

Yesterday, House Republicans decided not to move an amendment forward that would have stripped Part II from House Bill 729 – Charter Schools Omnibus. That section of the bill allows a county commission to give funding to a charter school for facility use.

Rep. von Haefen, (D) from Wake County, submitted the amendment on the House floor as lawmakers discussed the bill. However, lawmakers fended off the amendment, ultimately passing H 729 by a vote of 63-52.

A call to action

Prior to the vote, the Coalition rallied charter leaders and supporters, urging them to contact their representatives. The Coalition asked them to urge lawmakers to support H 729 as written. We suggested the following talking points:

  • The bill would give the RIGHT, NOT the REQUIREMENT, for county commissioners to provide charters with capital, technology, or furniture and fixtures funding.
  • The terms under which the funding is furnished is at the discretion of the county commissioners.
  • The bill explicitly requires a deed of trust for the amount provided for real property. This means the county would be paid first if the property is ever sold, unless it agrees otherwise.

Thanks to the efforts of charter school supporters, the bill stays alive with Part II and moves to the Senate!

How to celebrate National Charter Schools Week this week

By News

It’s National Charter Schools Week!

Around the nation, charter supporters are celebrating National Charter Schools Week. This year, public charter schools are celebrating their 30th birthday! The first charter law in the nation was passed in Minnesota in 1991.

Since then, the charter school movement has grown exponentially. What can you and your school do to shine a light on charters? First, start by sharing your story. Tell others about the good work your school is doing to educate students through innovation and choice.

Other ways to celebrate

Next, watch the webinar from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. They have lots of ideas for ways schools and students can take action. Here’s the webinar:


What else? Tomorrow, the Alliance is hosting a “30 under 30” celebration, highlighting the successes of 30 young charter change-makers. Register here.

On Thursday, students can participate in “Student Speak Day.” From the Association:

Students from across the country will reach out to their congressional representatives (via their teachers) to share what they love about their charter school and why it’s important to continue to support the growth and expansion of more charter schools through programs like the Charter Schools Program.

Learn more here.

Finally, on Friday, charter supporters can showcase their charter knowledge by playing a nationwide trivia game on Kahoot!.  Learn more here.

Preparing to celebrate 25 years of charters in NC

By News

25 years of charter schools in North Carolina!

Charter leaders, mark your calendars for June 21, 2021! Exactly 25 years before, on June 21, 1996, North Carolina lawmakers ratified legislation permitting public charter schools.

Lawmakers passed the “Charter Schools Act,” NC Session Law 1995-731, with significant bipartisan agreement and support. Then-Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., signed the law.

We have long planned to commemorate this major milestone. We want to celebrate the numerous significant contributions the charter school movement has made to K-12 education in North Carolina!

What do we have planned?

The Coalition has commissioned a logo to mark the 25th anniversary:
We have also drafted a resolution to present to lawmakers in the General Assembly. The resolution has been approved by the Coalition’s Board as well as the NC Association for Public Charter Schools. If passed, it will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the charter law, establishing June 21, 2021 as “North Carolina Charter School Day.”
We invite you to celebrate with us in June as we mark this milestone for North Carolina’s charter movement! We are working with the NC Association for Public Charter Schools for a unified focus on our state’s charter schools. More information on this joint effort will be forthcoming soon.

What can you do?

  • Invite your elected representatives in the Senate or House to your charter school. Show them how you are working to deliver on the charge lawmakers gave to our system of charter schools 25 years ago.
  • Want to learn more about contacting your representatives in the General Assembly? If so, access more information here: House representation by county; Senate representation by county.
  • Be on the lookout for more information in the coming days. We’ll keep you updated on all of the important details.
We look forward to celebrating with you in June!

National Charter Schools Week is coming May 9-15

By News

National Charter Schools Week is coming up soon!

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools will be launching a celebration of National Charter Schools Week from May 9 to May 15. During this week, charter supporters around the country will celebrate 30 years of charter schools in the U.S. The first charter school law was passed in 1991 and the first charter school opened in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1992. Read a Business Insider profile of City Academy, the first charter school in America.

How can you learn more?

Visit the NAPCS website for information to learn more about how your school can participate and ways you can help share the charter school story of success!