If students in charter schools perform no better on standardized tests, all other things being held equal, than their peers in district-run public schools, should North Carolina limit or stop the growth of charter schools?

This is an important question facing policymakers in our state. Similar questions face policymakers elsewhere. While charter-school enrollment remains only a small fraction of the total population of K-12 students, it is growing rapidly.

Indeed, in communities across North Carolina, including several of our most-populous counties, charters are adding students while enrollment in district schools is stagnant or declining. (Whether all those new charter students would otherwise have entered the district or been educated privately is hard to gauge.)

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