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1 in 5 NC students don’t attend traditional public schools, new figures show

Keung Hui of the News & Observer has the details:

Twenty percent of North Carolina’s students are not attending the state’s traditional public schools — and that percentage is expected to continue rising.

New statewide figures released this month show that homeschools, private schools and charter schools all continued to add students during the 2018-19 school year at the same time traditional public schools lost children for the fourth year in a row. The percentage of North Carolina’s 1.8 million K-12 students attending traditional public schools dropped to 79.9% this year.

Keith Poston, president and executive director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, offers a foolish explanation.

Even though the vast majority of North Carolina children attend public schools, there’s not much surprise there’s been growth in the other options. The General Assembly continues to promote low-performing virtual schools and for-profit charter schools over really investing in great public schools.

The notion that the General Assembly deserves blame is preposterous. The General Assembly cannot compel families to select charter and private schools, regardless of how much they “promote” them.  The legislature simply ensures that options are available for families who are dissatisfied with their school district.  Moreover, the General Assembly does not “promote” the educational option enjoying the most growth – homeschooling.

I’ll have more to say about this in a research update next week.  Stay tuned.

Terry Stoops / Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies

Terry Stoops is the Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the progra...

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