In terms of the makeup of the student population, advocates argue that the state’s 158 charter schools can’t pick and choose who will apply.

“There’s no mechanism by which charter schools can ensure racial and ethnic balance,” says Lee Teague, director of Public Relations & Grassroots Development of the N.C. Public Charter Schools Association.

A controversial state report recently revealed more than 57 percent of charter school students are white, compared to 49.5 percent at traditional public schools. The percentage of black students is nearly the same across both types of schools, while the proportion of Hispanic students at traditional public schools is about twice the percentage at charter schools.

Teague argues it’s not fair to compare the state’s 158 charter schools to all of the state’s traditional schools, which are well distributed geographically.

He adds that many charters have strong missions that focus solely on minority and economically disadvantaged students.  Read More