Education

Lieutenant governor: Charter schools report uses correct data but lacks context

Posted January 11

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— Nearly one week after calling a draft of the state's annual charter schools report too "negative," Lt. Gov. Dan Forest told WRAL News on Monday that "there's nothing wrong with any of the facts and statistics (in the report), but I believe some of the data needs to be qualified."

Forest said "information needs to be added" to the report "to make sure we're really painting the correct picture of charter school education in North Carolina to the General Assembly."

The State Board of Education was supposed to vote on the charter schools report last week and send it to the legislature by this Friday. But Forest, who sits on the board, asked that the vote be delayed until February so the state's Charter Schools Advisory Board could review the report at its meeting Tuesday.

"The statistics data was negative. It did not have a lot of positive things to say," Forest told board members, who agreed to delay their vote. "Once we put those reports out, that’s the fuel that the media uses to criticize what we’re doing."

The report found, among other things, that "the overall charter schools student population is more white and less Hispanic than the overall traditional school population." It also found that charter schools serve fewer poor students than traditional schools.

Forest took to Twitter Monday to slam the media for failing to report that the state's charter schools have a greater percentage of Asian and Pacific Islander students than traditional schools. He also found fault with the report for leaving out positive news about charter schools, including "that 3 of the top 5 public schools in NC are charters," he wrote, citing U.S. News & World Report.

"(The) Charter School report only reported faults of charters, not benefits. Why not report the good and the bad?" Forest wrote on Twitter.

Adam Levinson, interim director of the state Office of Charter Schools, which compiled the report, said it is intended to be objective.

"I would call it a vanilla report that is providing statistics," he said. "It's not intended to be editorial one way or the other."

The state's Charter Schools Advisory Board is expected to discuss the report at its meeting Tuesday at 8:35 a.m.

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  • Thomas White Jan 12, 2016
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    Forest took to Twitter Monday to slam the media for failing to report that the state's charter schools have a greater percentage of Asian and Pacific Islander students than traditional schools. With Mr. Forest's statement and the fact that the charter schools do not offer transportation what you get is that the charter schools are basically state sponsored private schools. The schools also have many first generation students of Indian descent. Mr. Forest should clarify what he means by Pacific Islander students, as I believe those are the Indian students I was referring to.

  • Roland Kandalbar Jan 11, 2016
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    So what you're saying is that poor people need not apply to charter schools, right?

  • Barbara Sossomon Jan 11, 2016
    user avatar

    I have talked with people about this over the weekend.

    These are some facts that people need to know:

    1. Any parent can put their child's name in the lottery for a charter school.

    2. Charter schools, for the most part, do NOT have buses, and ALL transportation is up to the parents to provide. (A charter may have buses of its own, but are not required)

    3. Charter schools, for the most part, rarely have cafeterias and therefore students are required to bring their own lunch. Now, many lower income families do not get enough in EBT to purchase meals for these children to begin with, so it is out of the question for them to be able to bring their lunch daily.

    4, Almost every Charter School has a parental involvement requirement. If a low income parent does not have transportation to deliver their child to school, chances are pretty good that they are not going to be able to come to school to be involved.