Monthly Archives

February 2022

Nominate A Charter School Changemaker Today

By News

If you know a charter leader, teacher, graduate, or parent who is making a powerful difference in education, nominate that individual for a 2022 Changemaker Award. Sponsored by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the award recognizes individuals who have made “a proven significant impact in their community.”  

Nominees must be affiliated with a public charter school but cannot be a current student.

The Alliance will recognize 10 changemakers during National Charter Schools Week in May 2022.

Nominate a changemaker by tomorrow, Feb. 25

Don’t wait to nominate a changemaker! The deadline is tomorrow, Feb. 25.

Learn more here. Questions? Contact Brittnee Exum at

Congratulations, 2021-22 Purple Star Schools!

By News

Yesterday the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced recipients of the 2021-22 Purple Star Award. Across the state, 299 public schools, including five charter schools, received the distinction. The award recognizes schools’ exemplary service to military students and their families.

Congratulations, 2021-22 Purple Star Award winners!

We especially want to congratulate the following Coalition members named as Purple Star Schools:

About the Purple Star Award

DPI first launched the Purple Star Award in 2019-20, so this is the program’s third year. Here’s a bit of background from DPI:

The department is proud to continue this initiative as a way to honor the schools that demonstrate military-friendly practices and show commitment to military students and families. Schools across the state applied for the special designation, and those deemed as Purple Star Schools completed several required activities, plus an optional activity, aimed at ensuring strong support for students of military families.

Read DPI’s announcement about the awards here.

Charters responded to pandemic disruption with agility, new survey shows

By News

Charter supporters often point to innovation and flexibility as hallmarks of the charter model. But, how did these attributes impact pandemic learning? New survey data from CREDO (Center for Research on Education Outcomes) at Stanford University tell quite a compelling story.

As it turns out, charter schools were experts in agility.

Survey of charter schools in three states

CREDO sent questionnaires to over 1,700 charter schools in three states: Washington, New York, and California. More than 500 schools responded, representing over 227,000 students.

From the first day of school closures, charters averaged just 3.5 days to reopen for online learning. In addition, almost all, 97%, provided teachers with professional development specifically around online learning. Charters elevated communication, reorganized curriculum, and moved quickly to ensure students and teachers had devices and connectivity.

CREDO’s press release notes:

“In multiple states and under varying conditions, the majority of charter schools we surveyed demonstrated resilience and creativity in responding to the physical and social challenges presented by COVID. They reacted strongly and acted quickly to shift to remote instruction. Communication was elevated as a priority. They assessed student and teacher needs for technology and mobilized resources and contacts to distribute technology and subsidize internet access.”

Read more from Kevin Mahnken of The 74 here. Find CREDO’s full report here.

Congratulations, Principal of the Year Finalists!

By News

Today the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) named finalists for the 2022 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year. One of the finalists will receive the statewide award in May. Eight finalists are from geographic regions around the state; the ninth finalist represents the state’s charter schools.

We especially want to congratulate Maria Mills of Carolina Charter Academy, who is the finalist in the charter school category.

Here is the list of finalists from DPI:

  • Northeast: Alison Covington, South Greenville Elementary

  • Southeast: Dr. Patrick Greene, Greene Central High

  • North Central: Keith Richardson, Knightdale High

  • Sandhills: Antonio Covington, East Hoke Middle

  • Piedmont-Triad: KaTrinka Brown, Jackson Middle

  • Southwest: Larenda Denien, Idlewild Elementary

  • Northwest: Dr. Heather Melton Freeman, North Wilkes Middle

  • Western: Dr. Marsha S. Justice, Edneyville Elementary

  • Charter Schools: Maria Mills, Carolina Charter Academy

Congratulations to all! Read the full press release from DPI here.

The Year of School Choice: Listen to the AEI Podcast

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What happened to make 2021 “the year of school choice”? Nat Malkus, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and host of “The Report Card” podcast, explores why. Listen to his interview with Nina Rees of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and scholar Dr. Patrick Wolf.

Here’s the write-up:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly touched everything in education policy, and school choice is no exception. Since the start of the pandemic and, particularly in the 2020-2021 academic year, over 1 million students left their traditional public school, charter school enrollment surged, and state-after-state either expanded or created [a] new school choice programs.

“The growing enrollment and expansion of these programs over the past year has led some to refer to 2021 as “The Year of School Choice.” So, why was school choice so popular in 2021, and what did its rise look like?”

Read more here.

High school students, apply today to the Rising Leaders Initiative

By News

Applications have opened for the new Rising Leaders Initiative! Sponsored by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, this program offers high school students an exciting chance to learn about creating change in education.

What’s the program about?

Here’s how the Alliance describes it:

“The Rising Leaders Initiative is a one-year advocacy training program for charter high school students who want to become active participants in education policy decisions in their local community and state and develop skills to guide their educational and professional pathways.”

Students will participate in monthly virtual meetings and establish advocacy clubs in their high school. They’ll develop leadership, public speaking, and advocacy skills–and will receive a $3,000 stipend for participating. The program runs from September 2022 through June 2023.

Applications are due March 15. Finalists will be notified by April 4.

To learn more, click here or on the screenshot image above.

N.C. is 15th in new national ranking of charter laws

By News

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has just released its annual rankings report of state charter laws. Each year, the Alliance measures states’ laws against a model charter law. This is the 13th year the Alliance has ranked the states. In this year’s ranking, for instance, North Carolina dropped a spot to #15 on the list.

For charter movements in many states, the past year was one of progress. As the Alliance notes:

“More than 50% of the states and territories with charter laws gained legislative ground last year, resulting in some of the most significant changes ever seen in a single year. 2021 was widely recognized as the year of public school choice in state capitols across the country.”

Highlights from the report

  • Top five states for charter laws:  Indiana, Colorado, Alabama, Minnesota, Florida
  • Bottom five states: Wisconsin, Virginia, Alaska, Kansas, Maryland
  • Most improved state: Iowa, which rose from #41 to #18 following significant changes to its charter law

What do model charter laws have in common? The Alliance evaluated 21 factors, which include equitable funding, “equitable access to capital funding and facilities,” and “automatic exemptions from many state and district laws and regulations.”

Find the report here.

New polling numbers show strong support for choice, charters

By News

Last week, in conjunction with National School Choice Week, the John Locke Foundation released its annual Civitas poll numbers covering education and school choice.

The poll was conducted from Jan. 21-23, 2022 and queried 600 likely N.C. voters.

Some key findings

  • 35.4% of parents have changed schools for their children, or have considered doing so, due to the pandemic.
  • 77.9% of voters believe parents or guardians are “best suited” to determine where a child attends school. Just 11.4% said local school boards are best in this role.
  • 81.4% of voters agree with this statement: “Parents should have the ability to choose where their child attends school.”
  • 58.4% of voters support charter schools while 22.6% oppose them. An additional 14.3% of voters are neutral–they neither support nor oppose charter schools

See a screenshot from the poll below:

JLF/Civitas Poll: Survey of Likely General Election Voters (2022)

Read a summary of the poll here. Access topline findings from the poll here.