Monthly Archives

October 2022

The Wall Street Journal Recognizes N.C. 4th Graders for NAEP Performance

By News

Fourth grade students in N.C. charter schools significantly outperformed non-charter students on a recent national test. That finding, from new 2022 results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, has attracted attention from national media. In fact, earlier this week The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board cited N.C. charter performance as another reason to favor school choice.

Here’s how the Editorial Board summed up findings:

The NAEP results support the case for school choice. Charter school performance was uneven, but in at least 11 states charter fourth graders outperformed their non-charter counterparts in math in 2022, including in Alaska (+16 points), Nevada (+12 points) and North Carolina (+21 points). NAEP says reporting standards were not met for a charter comparison in 22 states.

Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal: (“The School Lockdown Catastrophe”).

View an earlier Coalition blog post on national findings. We’ll have more analysis for you on this blog in the coming days about the overall performance of N.C. charter students on NAEP.

New NAEP scores reveal historic learning loss

By News

New test results released yesterday show the full scope of learning loss from the pandemic. Scores from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as “The Nation’s Report Card,”  reveal historic declines in math and significant drops in reading performance. The new NAEP scores are the first to be released since the pandemic, and measure performance changes since 2019. Students in both 4th and 8th grades took the tests.

Peggy Carr, the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which released the scores report, called it “a serious wake-up call for us all.” (Read more in this AP news story.) She added, “In NAEP, when we experience a 1- or 2-point decline, we’re talking about it as a significant impact on a student’s achievement. In math, we experienced an 8-point decline — historic for this assessment.”

What are key takeaways from the new results?

In North Carolina:

Scores declined across the board–in both grades and subjects.

  • Math scores tumbled 10 points for 8th graders and 5 points for 4th graders.
  • Reading scores dropped 7 points for 8th graders and 5 points for 4th graders.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, one of the urban districts participating in NAEP, posted its lowest scores on record for basic skills. Read more about CMS’s performance from WSOC-TV.
  • In 4th grade math, scores decreased in 43 states/jurisdictions. Scores in 10 states did not change significantly between 2019 and 2022.
  • Eighth grade math marked the grade and subject with the greatest disruption. Scores dropped in 51 states and jurisdictions.  Only students in Utah and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) did not show significant negative change.
  • In 4th grade reading, scores declined in 30 states/jurisdictions. Scores in 22 states did not change significantly.
  • In 8th grade reading, scores dropped in 33 states/jurisdictions. Scores in 18 states did not shift significantly. In DoDEA schools, scores increased.

In a press release about the results, Commissioner Carr said:

The results show the profound toll on student learning during the pandemic, as the size and scope of the declines are the largest ever in mathematics. The results also underscore the importance of instruction and the role of schools in both students’ academic growth and their overall wellbeing. It’s clear we all need to come together—policymakers and community leaders at every level—as partners in helping our educators, children, and families succeed.


Building Hope’s Grant Competition for Charters Is Open

By News
Building Hope has launched its second annual charter grant competition. A Florida-based nonprofit organization, Building Hope provides facilities, financial, and support services to charter schools. We encourage you to submit an application!
The organization provided the Coalition with the following write-up to share with charter leaders.

Announcing the 2nd Annual BH IMPACT Summit & Awards

After a successful inaugural year, where Building Hope awarded $135,000 of grants and hosted an IMPACT-focused 3-day in-person summit, it is time to Level-up! Applications are now open for the 2nd round of grants, where we seek out and honor charter schools who excel in Student Empowerment, Community Engagement, Educational Innovation. The Model Charter award for schools and/or small networks who are industry stalwarts rounds out our school grants this year, bringing the total grant awards for this slate to $160,000. Our $5,000 Shellie-Ann Braswell “Shine Brighter” Award will also return for charter school volunteers!
Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 30, 2022.

Learn more

  • Access the competition flyer here.
  • Read FAQs and learn more about the awards here.
  • Watch the video about the May 2023 summit and grant awards below.

Spotlight on Yvette Bell: From Charter Parent to Charter Advocate

By News

‘Charter Schools Are Being Undersold’

Parent and advocate Yvette Bell speaks up for charters  

“We are firm believers,” Yvette Bell says of the power of public charter schools. She and her husband, Kim, describe their youngest son Marcus’s transformative charter school experience with ebullience and obvious pride. A trailblazer at Alpha Academy in Fayetteville, Marcus was one of the “magnificent dozen”— Yvette’s name for the school’s inaugural 12-student graduating class.

But education wasn’t always exciting. As a middle schooler, Marcus was bored and disengaged. In fact, had it not been for an offhand conversation at church, the Bells might have missed Alpha Academy altogether.

Misconceptions and a nearly missed opportunity

A military family, the Bells relocated to Fort Bragg a number of years ago, following a stint at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. At the time, Yvette and Kim enrolled all three of their children in Hoke County district schools. While the older children flourished, Marcus did not.

Clearly, the Bells needed another option. “One of our church members, Ms. Norma Jean Campbell—who was on the board of directors for Alpha Academy—approached us and said, ‘Have you guys considered Alpha Academy?’” Yvette remembers.

The answer was no, but not because they hadn’t seen the school. “We pass by it every day going to work,” they told Ms. Campbell. “We thought it was a private school!”

“No, no, no,” she said, explaining the application process. The Bells applied and Marcus enrolled for 7th grade. “He didn’t look back,” Yvette says. “It was a total transformation for him. He was so excited about class and school.”

Marcus’s math teacher got him into Math Counts; Science Olympiad followed. Later, Marcus even enrolled in Alpha Academy’s Drone Remote Pilot Institute. The innovative drone program garnered local media coverage: The Fayetteville Observer featured Marcus in a news story in 2021.

Salutatorian for Alpha Academy’s Class of 2022, Marcus is now majoring in cybersecurity at East Carolina University.

The Bells celebrate Marcus’s 2022 graduation from Alpha Academy in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Photo credit: Yvette Bell

Speaking up—and out—for charters

What was it about the charter model that was so beneficial? The Bells cite several factors: personal attention, small classes, an outstanding teaching staff. Communication was excellent and equitable. At Alpha Academy, Yvette notes, “Everybody has a say.”

For Yvette, that’s truer than ever now. This summer, Superintendent Catherine Truitt named Yvette and 47 other parents to a new statewide Parent Advisory Commission. Commission members represent the panorama of North Carolina’s K-12 offerings: district schools, public charter schools, private schools, and home schools. They all have a say.

Personal experience and core convictions drive Yvette’s advocacy. She knows parent voices matter; she has seen its impact. “You have to be involved to see greatness that your children have,” she says. ”I’ll do what I need to do to be an advocate for charter schools. This was our first experience. Your first impression is everlasting.”

What does she wish parents knew about charter schools? Clearing up misconceptions would be a great place to start. “Other parents have said [of Alpha Academy], ‘I thought that was a private school,’” Yvette says. “That’s what we thought, too.”

In addition, she affirms the importance of rallying behind charter growth. “The [traditional] public schools are already overwhelmed as it is. There has to be another option for our children,” Yvette says.

She’s ready to speak up—and she knows what she wants to say. Parents, the education community, and politicians need to know about the good work charter schools are doing, she believes.

“Charter schools are being undersold,” she adds. “Our charter schools are a jewel.”

Report: Federal charter grants linked with school sustainability

By News

A new report finds that charter schools with support from federal grants are less likely to close than schools without such funding. That’s the key takeaway from the new study, conducted by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report now goes to the Secretary of Education and congressional committees for review.

Charter schools with federal CSP support are less likely to close

In general, GAO notes that charter schools were unlikely to close. But nationwide, those that received support from federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) grants had better odds of staying open than those that did not. Here’s how GAO sums up the study findings:

While few charter schools closed overall, charter schools that received CSP awards closed at lower rates than similar charter schools that did not receive an award between fiscal years 2006 and 2020. GAO’s analysis found, for example, that within five years after receiving CSP awards, CSP-recipient charter schools were about 1.5 times less likely to close than similar non-CSP charter schools—with an estimated 1.4 percent and 2.3 percent closing, respectively. Within 12 years of receiving CSP grants, the same pattern generally held.

This chart from GAO illustrates comparative data.

Source: United States Government Accountability Office, “Charter Schools That Received Federal Funding to Open or Expand Were Generally Less Likely to Close Than Other Similar Charter Schools,” October 2022.

National debate over the Charter Schools Program

Findings come amid considerable debate over the Charter Schools Program. Earlier this year, for instance, the Department of Education proposed burdensome rules that elicited significant pushback. The Coalition, along with numerous other charter supporters, advocated against the proposed rules. In response, the Education Department made some modifications, although final requirements remain problematic. Read more on the Coalition blog here, here, and here.

GAO study and CSP resources

New student mental health resource for charter schools

By News
We want to pass along a new student mental health resource for charter leaders. The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) has just released a new report, “Creating Communities of Care: How Charter Schools Can Develop Systems that Support Mental Health.” The report includes research on mental health and student outcomes; strategies for intervention, including spotlights of three charter schools; and guidance for school leaders.

Sign up for a virtual workshop on “creating communities of care”

In addition, NCSRC is hosting an upcoming webinar featuring the report authors, along with Dr. John Gasko, the chief well-being and SEL officer at Uplift Education, the charter school network. We share details below.
WHO: Charter leaders
WHAT: A virtual workshop on
“creating communities of care”
WHEN: Thursday, October 20, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET
Register for the webinar here.

Success Institute Joins the Coalition, Bringing Membership to 72 Schools

By News
We are delighted to welcome another new school to the Coalition! Success Institute Charter School has joined our ranks for the 2022-23 school year.  Founded in 2000, Success Institute serves students in grades K-8 in Statesville, North Carolina.

Here’s how the school describes its mission and goals:

Success Institute Charter School is a state funded charter school whose focus is to motivate and enhance learning through innovative teaching techniques in order to inspire all students to reach their full potential. The ultimate goal of Success Institute is to develop  independent thinkers and positive, productive citizens through character development, athletic initiative, programming, quality learning, and self-enhancement opportunities.

Coalition membership reaches 72 schools

Now, Coalition membership includes 72 schools. All together, these schools serve over 60,000 public charter school students across the state. Coalition schools represent the diversity of the state’s charter movement–in size, mission, student population, and more.
Find the latest list of Coalition member schools here.

Parents Vote: Access a New National Education Voters’ Guide

By Election 2022, News

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has a new resource out in time for the midterm elections. It’s an education voters’ guide and it highlights parent power at the ballot box this year.

View the 2022 Education Voters’ Guide

What can you expect to find in the 2022 voters’ guide? First, you’ll see poll findings from a recent survey of parents. From the Alliance:

Parents, regardless of political affiliation, report that they support and want more public charter schools in their area. According to The Harris Poll, 82% of respondents across the political spectrum said they would be willing to vote for someone outside their political party if the candidate shared matching views on education issues. And 83% of parents agree that education has become a more important issue to them than it was in the past.

Next, the page provides information from a recent Alliance report about how the pandemic has reshaped parent perspectives. Parents, the report notes, are “never going back” to the way things were pre-pandemic. Finally, the page includes ways to learn more about public charter schools, including links to FAQs. The Alliance has also created a new website with easy ways to check voter registration status, polling location, and more. Find that here.

#ParentsVote and the upcoming Social Media Day of Action

On September 30, the Alliance launched a social media day of action, with another one planned for Tuesday, October 18. The Alliance is asking charter supporters to post a tweet at 12 noon on October 18 using the hashtag #ParentsVote. The organization is also running a new digital ad in select urban markets, including Charlotte. See the ad on the power of parent voters below.