The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer asked the candidates for governor about their plans for education. The following are their responses to the question about charter schools.
Q: In the recent round of new charter school approvals, North Carolina’s State Board of Education took a more cautious approach, giving the green light to 13 schools and denying 11. In the fall of 2017, 171 charter schools are expected to be operating in the state. What is your view on how and whether charters should expand in North Carolina?
Cecil: I strongly favor the charter school system. It needs specific testing to assure attainment of state education goals, which are measured by the public school grade tests.
Cooper: I oppose private school vouchers, but carefully selected public charter schools can bring innovations. But charter schools should not be the only educational institutions encouraged to experiment with educational innovations. Traditional schools should be encouraged to innovate, too. I will promote a statewide education policy that encourages creativity in the classroom, with personalized education plans, flipped classrooms and student governance, among others. We need to find new ways to evaluate student performance that improves outcomes and boosts performance.
McCrory: I supported lifting the cap on charter schools, but we must ensure charter schools meet the highest academic and transparency standards. Contrary to what the teachers union bosses and some in the educational establishment want us to believe, expanding school choice and charter schools will only help to strengthen the state’s education system as a whole, not undermine it.
The expansion of charter schools is helping to create a healthy competition among all schools and serves as a great laboratory of educational innovation for teachers, administrators and policy makers alike. While demanding transparency and high standards, we should and are learning from their successes and failures, and support the ideas that work. That’s why I recently signed legislation providing a fast-track review process for successful charter schools to be replicated in communities across the state – it’s just common sense.
Thanks to our efforts, over 280,000 students are benefiting from a school choice program, including charter schools, in North Carolina today.
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