Monthly Archives

August 2022

A deep dive on parent polling–how the pandemic pivoted perceptions

By News

New poll findings from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released last week, continue to generate media coverage. Parents, as the report makes clear, like freedom and choice in education. Actually, they want even more of it and they’re willing to switch political parties to get it, supporting candidates whose views on education align with their own. This is the new normal. In fact, parents are “never going back”–to pre-pandemic perceptions and expectations about education.

Such is the title of the report–“Never Going Back”–and the Alliance outlines four key reasons why in a new blog post:

  • Parents value choice. More than 9 in 10 agree “one size doesn’t fit all in education.”
  • Safety is top of mind. For parents, it beats out all other issues as the most “essential” factor in education.
  • Parents who switched schools like the choice they’ve made. Nearly 9 in 10 affirm the switch has produced “positive change.”
  • Public charter schools enjoy strong support. More than three-quarters of parents want more of them in their area.

Learn more


Coalition Completes Onboarding for Three New Board Members

By News

The onboarding process is complete for the Coalition board’s three newest members! This spring, Coalition members elected Garrett McNeill, Michael Way, and Shelly Bullard to the board, along with returning member, Jonathan Bryant, who will serve as chair.

All three new board members are leaders in the broader charter community. We’re grateful for their expertise and leadership as well as their willingness to serve the Coalition and North Carolina’s charter movement.

An official welcome to the Coalition’s three newest board members

As a conclusion to the onboarding process, we wanted to share a brief introduction to each of these new members. Garrett McNeill, for instance, is a board member at Sugar Creek Charter School. In addition, he handles real estate acquisition & development for the Movement Foundation. Michael Way is the southeast division president at Charter OneShelly Bullard is the headmaster at Pinnacle Classical Academy in Shelby, North Carolina. She’s also a member of the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board. All three were elected to serve on the Coalition board through June 2025.

For onboarding, Lindalyn met Garrett on the job site at Movement School Southwest in Charlotte, North Carolina. The K-5 school is opening this fall. Here’s a photo, below.

Lindalyn and Garrett McNeill at Movement School SW.

Next, here’s a photo of Lindalyn’s onboarding session with Michael Way.

Lindalyn and Michael Way.

Finally, here’s a photo of Shelly Bullard. Lindalyn conducted her onboarding session over Zoom.

Shelly Bullard
Photo credit: Pinnacle Classical Academy

Garrett, Michael, and Shelly, welcome to the Coalition board!

Find the full list of Coalition Board members here.

New report: How the pandemic changed parent views on education and voting

By Election 2022, News

A new report reveals how powerfully the pandemic has shaped views on K-12 education and voting among parents. “Never Going Back,” released today by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, includes polling data from over 5,000 parents of school-age children. Post-pandemic, parents are highly invested in education. They’re also motivated to support the political candidates who most closely represent their views. In fact, more than 8 in 10 say they’d vote outside their party, if warranted. (Read the Alliance’s press release.)

What else? The pandemic has reconfigured key sentiments about education in addition to school enrollments. Key report findings are below.

Politically, education is rising in importance

Parents care a great deal about education as a political issue, the Alliance report found.

  • Candidates’ views on education have the capacity to sway parent voters. 82% of parents are willing to vote outside their party if a candidate’s views on education align with their own.
  • Education is growing in importance as a political issue. 83% of parents view education as more important now.
  • For committed parent voters, education is ascendant. Among issues, only taxes topped education for parents who vote in both federal and state/local elections.

Screenshot from: “Never Going Back: An Analysis of Parent Sentiment on Education,” National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, August 24, 2022.

Most parents support choice and charter schools

School choice and public charter schools are popular among parents. In fact, even parents who don’t choose charter schools for their children want other parents to have that choice.

  • Support for educational choice is high. 86% of parents want options for their children other than the local district school.
  • Parents favor the growth of public charter schools. 77% want more local charter schools. Moreover, 81% support expanding seats in existing local charter schools.
  • Charter schools have earned credibility with non-charter parents. “Even among those who might not choose a charter school for their child, 84% agree that charter schools should be available to families who would choose them,” the report notes.

The pandemic introduced powerful changes in parents’ views on education

Parents have become more engaged in their child’s education. In addition, they’re more interested.

  • Parent engagement is ticking up. 78% of parents “became more involved in their child’s education because of what they saw during the pandemic,” the Alliance said.
  • Interest in education is also increasing. 79% of parents became more interested in their child’s education because of the pandemic.
  • Safety is top of mind. In fact, safety is even more important to parents than school quality. 77% of parents said school safety was “absolutely essential.” Moreover, 59% said school safety grew in importance to them during the pandemic.

Screenshot from: “Never Going Back: An Analysis of Parent Sentiment on Education.”

Lindalyn Kakadelis, the executive director of the Coalition, said, “This report tells us parents want and deserve options for their children’s schooling, and they’re willing to vote across party lines to get it. Public charter schools remain wildly popular as a free, public alternative to traditional zoned schools that are open to everybody.”

Access the Coalition’s press release.

Senator Lee Honored as Charter Champion at Wilmington Charter School

By News

Yesterday the Coalition honored Senator Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) as a 2022 Charter Champion. The event took place at American Leadership Academy Coastal, a K-9 public charter school in Wilmington, North Carolina. Following the award presentation, Senator Lee met with local charter families.

A strong charter advocate and leader in the General Assembly

As a state lawmaker, Senator Lee has been a staunch advocate of public charter schools. He has worked to safeguard charter school flexibility and autonomy. In addition, he played a key role in advancing legislation that ensured charter schools received local payments in a timely way.

Here’s what Senator Lee said upon receiving the award:

It’s an honor to receive this recognition from the NC Coalition for Charter Schools. Public charter schools play a vital role in North Carolina’s educational landscape by providing families a free alternative to traditional public schools. My family knows the benefits of school choice, so I will continue to fight for parents to have the same opportunities to send their children to schools that best fit their needs.

In her remarks, Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis praised Senator Lee’s commitment to charter schools. He is “a leading voice in the legislature for charter school students, parents, and leaders,” she said. “He understands that families deserve a choice in their public education, and because of that he’s a Charter Champion.”

Lindalyn Kakadelis recognizes Senator Lee’s support of charter schools with a Charter Champion award on August 17, 2022.

Coalition leaders and a charter operator join in honoring Senator Michael Lee (left to right): Lee Teague, Coalition lobbyist; Senator Lee; Abigail Strait, Director, American Leadership Academy Coastal; Gregg Sinders, Coalition Board member and Director of Business Development and Government Relations, Charter One; and Lindalyn Kakadelis.

Read the Coalition’s press release about the event.

Find out more about the Coalition’s 2021-2022 Charter Champions.

‘Keeping Choice in Education Is Fragile’–New Op-Ed

By News

Lindalyn Kakadelis, the Coalition’s executive director, has a new op-ed out today in North State Journal. Titled “Keeping Choice in Education Is Fragile,” it shares current context for the state’s charter movement. In addition, it outlines political reality. Many who benefit from charters may not know that these schools are politically fragile.

Yet charter supporters, as Lindalyn points out, have the winning argument. Public charter schools simply wish to exist, offering another free, public educational option for parents who want one. Responsive lawmakers on both sides of the aisle recognize this and support public school choice.

Lindalyn writes:

Now we stand at the threshold of a new school year and an important election season. Here’s my hope for the year ahead: that the ranks of Democrats and Republicans who back the mission of public charter schools continue to grow. Earlier this year, my organization, the North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools, handed out 22 Charter Champion awards to state legislators from both parties. These savvy lawmakers recognize that public education shouldn’t be a political football. They know that it’s their job, like mine, to respond to the wishes of parents who want more choice in public education, not less.

Read the full op-ed here.

Learn more about the Coalition’s Charter Champions here.

National Poll: Rebounding Support for Choice, Charter Schools

By News

A new national poll from Education Next, released yesterday, shows rebounding support for school choice and public charter schools, following a sizeable dip in 2021. The poll queried nearly 1,800 American adults in May 2022, assessing their views on education reform, spending, control, and more.  In addition, the poll reveals a growing partisan divide on a number of issues in K-12 education. Read a full analysis of the poll: “Partisan Rifts Widen, Perceptions of School Quality Decline: Results of the 2022 Education Next Survey of Public Opinion.

Favorability on charter schools is rebounding after a dip during the pandemic

Support for some school choice options had ticked down in 2021, right after the height of the pandemic, but now is headed back up. Overall, 45% of respondents in the Education Next poll said they favored charter schools; 36% were opposed and 19% were neutral. In 2020, the percentage of respondents supporting charter schools was 44%, and in 2021, it dropped to 41%.

Charter school favorability is higher among parents, minorities, and Republicans.

  • Parent respondents: 51% support charter schools.
  • Black respondents: 54% favor charter schools.
  • Hispanic respondents: 47% support charter schools.
  • Republican respondents: 55% favor charter schools.

Here’s a screenshot of that question from the poll:

Source: “2022 Education Next Survey”

Support for other forms of school choice and innovation are growing as well. A majority of Americans, 55%, support magnet schools (specialized public high schools). A similar percentage, 54%, favor allowing parents to homeschool.

Which level of government should make most education decisions? Americans say state government should.

In addition, roughly half of respondents believe the level of government that should have the most sway over K-12 decisions is state government. Nearly one in three said local government. Here’s how respondents answered when asked which level of government should make most decisions about K-12 education:

  • State: 49%
  • Local: 28%
  • Federal: 23%

Another screenshot from the poll:

Source: “2022 Education Next Survey”

Access interactive results from the 2022 Education Next Survey.

View a summary of poll findings from The 74.

Expanding awareness of nonpartisan research to drive decision-making in N.C.

By News

Earlier this week, Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis met with Anna Beavon Gravely, the leader of NC Free. A nonpartisan research organization, NC Free (North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation) delivers data and insights to inform decision-making. Beavon Gravely has led the organization since 2019.

Lindalyn meets with Anna Beavon Gravely, the executive director of NC Free.

Leveraging the power of data visualization to show trends, provide analysis

One of NC Free’s key objectives is using data visualization to show trends. That, in turn, enables the group to offer insights about the state’s shifting business and political landscape.

Interested in learning more about business trends? Find NC Free’s Business Development Dashboard here. Search by sector. Or, take a deeper dive by county.

Here’s a look at payroll growth in the Educational Services sector, for instance.

According to NC Free’s analysis, Educational Services represents the second-fastest growing sector in urban counties (as measured by annual payroll). In fact, the sector grew 111%. In rural counties, Educational Services represents the third-fastest growing sector, increasing 206%.

Learn more

  • See NC Free’s Entrepreneurial Index here.
  • Access NC Free’s 2022 Candidate Filing Tracker here.

Connecting with DPI’s New Asst. Supt. of Innovation

By News

There’s a new head of innovation at the N. C. Department of Public Instruction. Recently, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt named Dr. Andrew Smith as DPI’s assistant superintendent of innovation. Dr. Smith began his role at the end of June. But, his official welcome took place last week at the State Board of Education’s August meeting. (See the Superintendent’s monthly report with information about Dr. Smith here.)

Connecting with DPI’s new head of innovation

This morning, Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis met with Dr. Smith. She congratulated him on his new position at DPI and then shared the history of North Carolina’s charter law and movement. Dr. Smith, in turn, shared his experience of working with the state’s only renewal district, Rowan Salisbury Schools, with charter-like flexibility. His new role at DPI includes oversight of the Office of Charter Schools.

Lindalyn Kakadelis meets with Dr. Andrew Smith on Tuesday, August 9.

The Coalition looks forward to working with Dr. Smith! Read more about Dr. Smith from WBTV and the Salisbury Post.