Monthly Archives

April 2023

TMSA Triad Student Earns Harvard Scholarship

By News

Congratulations to Aghader Yassen! The high school senior, who attends Triad Math and Science Academy–TMSA Triad, a public charter school in Greensboro, has won a full scholarship to Harvard University. This impressive achievement is “a historic first for the TMSA school network,” noted a TMSA press release.

Valued at around $400,000, Aghader’s four-year scholarship covers tuition, room, and board. Aghader, who was born in Iraq and immigrated to the U.S. at age four with her family, plans to attend Harvard in the fall. Her principal, Fatih Kandil, said of Aghader, “Her hard work and commitment will be our lighthouse for all our students,” according to TMSA’s press release.

“I think it’s really important for people to push themselves, get out of their comfort zone, and take risks. The TMSA community helped me find opportunities that are allowing me to succeed in the risks I take,” Aghader said in the release.

Aghader Yassen of TMSA Triad has won a full scholarship to Harvard University. Photo credit: TMSA Triad.

The TMSA network operates six campuses in North Carolina, serving more than 4,000 students. Over 6,500 students are on waitlists to attend TMSA schools. Aghader’s school, Triad Math and Science Academy, is a Title I school that posted a 93.4% growth rate last year. The school is also one of the Coalition’s 84  member schools.

Watch coverage of Aghader’s achievement on local media

Aghader’s achievement was covered by local media. Watch WXII 12’s coverage below or watch an interview on WFMY News 2.

Expediting the charter application process in North Carolina

By Legislation, News

Tomorrow, the House Education – K-12 Committee will consider legislation that would expedite the approval of new charter applications in North Carolina. Known as House Bill 618, Charter School Review Board, the legislation would create one entity to approve all of the state’s charter applications, streamlining the application process and creating a system that more closely reflects families’ current educational needs and wishes. The bill is sponsored by Speaker Tim Moore, Rep. Destin Hall, Rep. Tricia Cotham, and Rep. David Willis.

Earlier today, Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis sent a letter to the House Education – K-12 Committee in support of H.B. 618 as well as H.B. 219, Charter School Omnibus. The letter is a joint expression of support from the Coalition and the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools. The Coalition also distributed a press release today highlighting charter school waitlists and the obvious need for H.B. 618.

A current review process that is duplicative and inefficient

Currently, the state’s charter authorization process requires a review and recommendation from the state’s Charter Schools Advisory Board, followed by approval from the State Board of Education.

This process is duplicative, slow, and inefficient. Moreover, it has not kept pace with the wishes of North Carolina families. According to the state’s new annual charter report, the State Board of Education approves just 26% of yearly public charter school applications, on average. This figure represents the annual average of State Board approvals beginning in 1997, the year the state’s first charter schools opened their doors.

Screenshot from: “2022 Annual Charter Schools Report,” Report to the General Assembly, N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Growing demand for public charter schools

Since the charter movement launched in North Carolina some 25 years ago, families have expressed strong and growing support for these innovative and free public schools. In fact, the state’s new charter report indicates that more than 8 in 10 public charter schools, or 85%, reported waitlists, totaling over 77,000 students. This waitlist figure represents more than half of the state’s total charter school student population, which in 2022-23 is 137,541 students.

Fortunately, in expediting the charter approval process, H.B. 618 would also create greater efficiency and could thus build greater capacity. It would do this by converting the current Charter Schools Advisory Board into a Charter School Review Board with sole authority to approve applications for new charter schools. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction would also join the Review Board as a member. The State Board of Education would continue to provide oversight for education and policy matters, and would serve as an appellate body for Review Board decisions. This system, set forth in H.B. 618, would therefore create a new avenue for charter applicants and schools to appeal decisions on charters, renewals, revocations, and amendments.

New efficiencies for parents and families

In the Coalition’s press release today, Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis affirmed the clear need for H.B. 618, noting:

No other public school must go through these complex layers of statewide bureaucracy to open. The parents waiting to send their children to a public charter school deserve an efficient review process.

Read the bill summary for H.B. 618. Find out who represents you in the General Assembly.



Data from state’s new charter schools report reveals high demand and growth

By News
New data continue to show high demand for the state’s charter schools—as well as steady growth. At the April meeting of the state’s Charter Schools Advisory Board, held earlier this week, members heard a presentation that included data from the new 2022 Annual Charter Schools Report.

We share some key findings below:

  • Over 137,500 students were enrolled in N.C. charter schools as of December 2022, around 9% of the state’s public school student population
  • 206 charter schools are in operation across the state in the 2022-23 school year
  • 85% of North Carolina charter schools report waitlists, totaling more than 77,000 students
  • Six new charter schools opened this year; eight are slated to open in 2023-24
  • 96% of N.C. charter schools met or exceeded all financial and operational goals
  • Between 1997 and 2022, the State Board of Education approved 26.26% of yearly charter school applications, on average
Access the presentation here and the full report here.

New Poll of Black Parents Reveals Strong Support for Charters, Choice

By News

A new national poll of Black parents, commissioned by EdChoice, reveals strong support for public charter schools. Such support remains high regardless of respondents’ income, education, political affiliation or other demographic descriptors.

The poll, conducted by Morning Consult in January-February 2023, queried more than 1,300 Black parents across the United States. The poll assessed parents’ views on education as well as their support for different school choice policies.

Nearly three quarters of Black parents support public charter schools

Overall, 68% of Black parents said they supported public charter schools. This figure was even higher, 74%, when pollsters provided a description for public charter schools: “Charter schools are public schools that have more control over their own budget, staff, and curriculum, and are exempt from many existing public school regulations.”

Among Black parents, Democrats were even more likely to support public charter schools than Republicans or Independents (77% of Democrats versus 72% of Republicans and Independents). Urban parents were most supportive of public charter schools, followed by suburban and then rural parents.

Screenshot from: EdChoice, “Black Parents and K-12 Education: A National Polling Report,” March 2023. Poll conducted by Morning Consult.

Parents’ school choices reflect their top priorities

Not surprisingly, parents share many of the same priorities for their child’s education, regardless of their school choice. But how parents rank these priorities is reflected in their school choice. For instance, parents who chose a public district school for their children were most likely to cite location as the driving factor. However, parents who chose public charter and private schools were more likely to cite academic quality as their top priority. Finally, parents who chose homeschooling cited safety as their top factor in the school choice.

Screenshot from: EdChoice, “Black Parents and K-12 Education: A National Polling Report,” March 2023. Poll conducted by Morning Consult.

Learn more

Growing media coverage of HB 219

By News

Media outlets continue to cover developments around HB 219, Charter School Omnibus. A new article from Fox News includes comments from Rep. Jason Saine, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. Here’s an excerpt from the article below:

“Going so far as to suggest that the bill seeks to take funding from traditional students when the fact is we believe money should follow the child, not an antiquated system that has bred disparity in outcomes across the state,” said Saine. “This bill, cosponsored by several House leaders, including Rep. Cotham and myself, seeks to end the practice” …

… Saine argued that while some public-school systems do well in educating students, many “fall way short and unfortunately do a great disservice to many families,” calling for new innovations to the status quo.

Meanwhile, multiple local boards of education have passed resolutions opposing HB 219. These include the Stanly School Board, the Cabarrus County School Board, and others.

What can you do to push back on opposition and express support for HB 219? Contact your legislator to share your views. Find out who represents you here.

New figures on charter schools in North Carolina

By News

A new publication from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction provides updated figures on public education in our state, including public charter schools. The report, “Highlights of the North Carolina Public School Budget,” includes data on expenditures, average daily membership (ADM), newly-opened charter schools, and more.

2022-2023 statistics:

  • During this academic year, 206 public charter schools are operating across North Carolina.
  • N.C. public charter schools serve 138,352 students.
  • By comparison, 1,397,273 students are enrolled in 2,484 public district schools in North Carolina.
  • Six new charter schools opened in North Carolina this year, while 10 were approved to open.
  • Overall, N.C. public charter schools currently represent 8.9% of the state’s total public school enrollment (ADM).

Here are some tables from the March 2023 school budget report.

N.C. Public Charter Schools

Table from “Highlights of the North Carolina Public School Budget,” Information Analysis, School Business Services, N.C. Department of Public Instruction, March 2023, p. 28.

Table from “Highlights of the North Carolina Public School Budget,” Information Analysis, School Business Services, N.C. Department of Public Instruction, March 2023, p.6.

Participate in School Performance Grades Redesign, Phase II

By News

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction has put out a call to charter leaders to participate in Phase II of work to redesign school performance grades. We encourage you to participate!

Charter leaders or their designee can take part. Phase II will involve studying the indicators developed during Phase I, and ensuring that work includes “feedback to build a model that is valid and reliable,” according to DPI. Charter leaders will have a chance “to be highly involved in the design and piloting process or to be part of a review and feedback team, depending on the need for each indicator,” DPI noted.

School leaders who would like to participate should fill out the School Performance Grade Redesign Phase II Interest & Involvement Form. The deadline for submission is April 19.

Questions? Contact Dr. Michael Maher ( or Dr. Andrew Smith ( If you need help with the form, reach out to Hayden Kelley (

New media coverage of HB 219 debate

By News

Media coverage of debate surrounding HB 219, Charter School Omnibus, continues to accrue. This bill would ensure that students in public charter schools receive equal local funding–on par with what students in public district schools already receive.

WLOS interviewed Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis about the bill. You can find that article here.

In addition, Lindalyn authored an op-Ed on HB 219 that ran last week in Carolina Journal. Here’s an excerpt:

There is a stark difference in local education funding between public district school students and public charter school students. According to BEST NC, an education nonprofit, public charter school students in North Carolina received 37% less local funding than district school students in 2020-21.

A bill before the General Assembly (H.B. 219) would fix this disparity by requiring local administrators to fund public charter school and district school students equally …

… I believe public school funding should be for students, not systems. If we accept that premise, then it follows that all public school students deserve equal funding. A public charter school student is not worth 37% less than a district school student. All public school students are equally important and therefore worthy of equal taxpayer funding.

District school bureaucrats have offered numerous arguments opposing equal funding. On the surface, some of those arguments look compelling.

For example, district administrators argue their schools have services and programs that public charter schools don’t offer. Therefore, they say, district schools should have more local funding than public charter schools.

But it isn’t true that district schools offer certain programs and public charter schools offer none.

Public charter schools offer different programming. They do so because that is their legal mandate — they’re supposed to innovate and experiment, not mimic what already exists.