Monthly Archives

June 2021

Coverage of the 25th charter anniversary

By News

A day to celebrate NC charter schools

Thanks to all who joined us at the General Assembly on Tuesday! We had a great day celebrating the 25th anniversary of North Carolina’s charter law.

Senate Leader Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, Senator Mike Lee, Superintendent Catherine Truitt, and education researcher Dr. Corey DeAngelis all spoke at Tuesday’s press conference.

Speaker Moore and other lawmakers and leaders at the press conference

Former charter student, Tim Taylor, also addressed members of the media. Now a healthcare operations leader and married father of three, Tim attended Arapahoe Charter School beginning in 1997. Arapahoe was in the first cohort of NC charter schools to open their doors to students the year after the law passed. Tim’s two oldest sons currently attend Arapahoe.

Tim Taylor and his family with Superintendent Truitt

Also joining us at the press conference: Senator Deanna Ballard, Senator David Craver, Senator Tom McInnis, Rep. John Bradford, and Rep. John Torbett, along with State Board of Education member Amy White, and Dave Machado, Director of the Office of Charter Schools.

The Coalition is grateful to all of these leaders for their support of North Carolina charter schools!

A great show of support from the charter community

Outside in the 1300 Court, charter students, teachers, principals, and board members from around the state gathered to show their support. Representatives from 23 NC public charter schools came to be with us. We had a wonderful group of students from Torchlight Academy!


Students from Torchlight Academy with their principal, Dr. Cynthia McQueen

Check out this short video with highlights from the day’s event. If you’d like to watch the full press conference, you can access it here. Find the press release from Senator Berger’s office here or at EdNC.

A deeper dive on coverage from the day

Some of the media coverage from the 25th charter anniversary:

EdNC op-ed from Lindalyn: North Carolina charter schools turn 25!

By News

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the charter law in North Carolina. On June 21, 1996, lawmakers passed bipartisan legislation creating charter schools.

The Coalition and other charter advocates are celebrating this milestone throughout the week! There is much to commemorate.

Lindalyn reflects on the charter movement in an op-Ed in EdNC, out this week– especially about the students themselves, some of whom attended charter schools 15 or more years ago:

In the lead-up to this anniversary, I and other charter supporters have been listening to their stories. Bearing witness to the enduring power of the charter idea, some pioneers have gone back to the very schools that nurtured them.

Some return with their children in tow: Tim Taylor began attending Arapahoe Charter School in Arapahoe when it first opened. Now, his two oldest sons are enrolled. Some charter pioneers return as employees: Abigail Barbosa found her voice as a person of color at Sallie B. Howard School in Wilson. She works there now as the elementary school principal’s assistant.

Some even return as teachers …

Read more from Lindalyn’s EdNC piece here.

Charter leaders counter segregation claims

By News

Charter leaders are pushing back on claims that charters promote segregation. In an op-Ed (“Charter schools spur achievement and choice–not segregation”) published this week in North State Journal, Joanne Woodard, Sandeep Aggarwal, and Eugene Slocum write:

We are the leaders of two public charter schools in North Carolina serving mostly minority and low-income students. We caution anyone about making an association between public charter schools, choice and segregation …

… Conflating parental choice with segregation is polarizing and ultimately pointless because it keeps us from the great educational imperative: boosting student achievement. It makes no sense to condemn charter schools for their freedom.

Instead, we should focus on collaboration, learning from the experience of charter schools that succeed in closing the achievement gap.

Joanne Woodard and Sandeep Aggarwal are leaders at Sallie B. Howard Charter School in Wilson, North Carolina. Sandeep is also a Coalition Board member. Eugene Slocum is the superintendent of Alpha Academy in Fayetteville. Read more from them here.

Agreement on a budget total and ADM funds for charters

By News

Agreement on a budget total

Last week, House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger announced agreement on a budget total. Find the press release with the budget announcement here.
General Fund spending for the 2021-22 fiscal year will not surpass $25.7 billion. This represents a 3.45% spending increase.

 Update on S 654

S 654 K-12 COVID-19 Provisions passed the House last Wednesday by a vote of 74-34. S 654 is now back in the Senate. The Senate did not concur with the House version, so the bill will go to conference.

Funds for charters enrolling students after the second ADM count

Language in S 654 provides $2.6 million for charters that accepted students after the second ADM count. The Coalition worked hard to get this funding for charters. If your school added students after the second ADM count deadline, please contact Lindalyn (; 704.231.9767) for more information.

Remote learning

S 654 also includes remote learning provisions. The Coalition’s lobbying team expects that the conference report for S 654 will come back with something similar to what the House did on remote learning.
We will keep you posted!

Progressive Policy Institute and The 74 talk charters, charter history

By News

Want to learn more about the charter movement’s history in the U.S. and how it could help shape the future in education?

The Reinventing America’s Schools Project (of the Progressive Policy Institute), in conjunction with The 74, is hosting a webinar and panel discussion about charter schools–past, present, and future. The panel discussion, “Charter Schools at 30: Reinventing Public Education” will take place next Wednesday, June 16, at 1:00 pm.

Former President Bill Clinton, who authorized the federal Charter Schools Program, will speak and introduce the event. The event will feature the following panelists, according to PPI’s event page:

  • Myrna Castrejon, president, California Charter Schools Association
  • Karega Rausch, president and CEO, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
  • Ember Reichgott Junge, former MN state senator & sponsor of the first charter school bill in the U.S. 30 years ago
  • Paul G. Vallas, founder, Vallas Group

To learn more about the event, click here. To register, click here.

25th anniversary celebration of the charter law set for June 22

By News

Please save the date on Tuesday, June 22!

We have big plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of North Carolina’s charter school law in Raleigh on this day. We’ll attend a session of the General Assembly; we have been working with lawmakers on a statement about charter schools. We’re also planning a press conference for that day, and have invited state leaders to join us.

Meet at the Legislative Building

On June 22, we’ll meet on the third floor (by the public galleries) of the Legislative Building at the North Carolina General Assembly. The address is: 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh. Find the NC General Assembly’s visitor page, with information on parking and directions, here.

More information will be forthcoming soon. In the meantime, please share this “save the date” flyer with your school community. Plan to come to Raleigh on June 22 and show your charter school spirit by wearing your school colors! You can read more here.

On the 30th birthday of U.S. charter schools, the movement remains strong

By News

Tomorrow, American charter schools turn 30. Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson signed the nation’s first charter school law 30 years ago, on June 4, 1991. To mark this remarkable milestone, education veterans Chester Finn and Bruno Manno have written an excellent analysis reflecting on the charter movement.

Truly, the charter movement has come a long way since its early days. Forty-four states now have laws permitting public charter schools. Perhaps even more remarkable to note during these polarizing times: Charter schools have historically garnered support from leaders of both political parties, from statehouses to the White House.

A bipartisan reform

Finn and Manno highlight the charter movement’s widespread bipartisan support:

In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed legislation creating the federal Charter School Program, co-sponsored by Connecticut Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman and Minnesota Republican Sen. Dave Durenberger. Pro-charter bipartisanship continued in Washington with Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump and was paralleled in almost every statehouse that engaged in chartering. That’s because this education reform addresses important priorities on both the left and right. It allows K-12 families the choice of a free public school that meets their child’s needs, rather than forced assignment to a district school. It has created an alternative delivery system that affords long-neglected families access to potentially higher-quality schools than they find within the traditional structure of public education. Yet, charters remain public schools: open to all, tuition-free and accountable for their results to duly-constituted public authorities.

The same bipartisan origins characterize North Carolina’s charter movement, which turns 25 later this month, on June 21. Check this blog for information about what we have planned, as we will be updating regularly.

Read more here from Chester Finn and Bruno Manno’s article, “Charter Schools at 30: Looking Back, Looking Ahead.”


Congratulations, 2021 high school graduates!

By News

Congratulations, Class of 2021! At public charter schools across North Carolina, seniors are marking a major milestone.  High school graduation this year is all the more impressive than usual, given pandemic challenges. Seniors, we salute you and your families!

On Friday, Lindalyn visited Pinnacle Classical Academy in Shelby, North Carolina. A top-performing public charter school, Pinnacle emphasizes Core Knowledge and character education. Lindalyn met with staff on site as they prepared for graduation weekend. While at Pinnacle, Lindalyn also met with Corey DeAngelis and Denisha Merriweather from the American Federation of Children.

Corey was the featured speaker at Pinnacle’s graduation awards on Friday night. Here’s a picture of Lindalyn and Corey beforehand:

The national director of research at the American Federation for Children, Corey regularly makes the case for school choice. His research illuminates the numerous benefits of school choice programs–including for outcomes outside school!

Want to learn more? To listen to a recent radio interview with Corey, click here.