With State Board of Education approval of nine charter schools yesterday, North Carolina will exceed 100 charter schools for the first time since passage of charter school legislation approximately 15 years ago. This would not have been possible without passage of Senate Bill 8 last year.
But the vote was significant for another reason. The charter school community is now a major player in state education politics.
Intense criticism from public school officials, the media, and advocacy groups did not derail approval of proposed charter schools in Durham County (Research Triangle High School) and Chapel Hill (Howard and Lillian Lee Scholars Charter School). Neither school encountered serious opposition from members of the State Board of Education. In fact, few SBE members voted to deny a charter to any of the nine schools recommended by the Public Charter School Advisory Council for approval.