Charter school enrollment outpaces traditional public schools

BEAR GRASS, N.C. (WITN) – Interest and enrollment in publicly funded charter schools are on the rise

A newly released study from the North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools shows that charter schools had ten times the number of new students as public school districts across the country in the last school year alone.

In North Carolina, charter school enrollment increased by about 19 percent, with black and Hispanic students representing a larger share.

For parents like Jeneane Everett, the smaller classroom sizes made her choose a charter school for her kids.

“Well, Charlie Grace, her attention span is not the best in the world, so any help from the teachers and any of that individual attention. It feels like family here,” Everett said.

Bear Grass Charter School says they select their students through a lottery system with a strict limit to the capacity of admitted students.

Principal Patricia Speller says it’s not just smaller classrooms that attract parents to send their kids to a charter school.

“We’re able to branch out into certain areas like STEM,” said Speller. “We have an awesome act program, and we can offer many opportunities that the students may not have at a traditional public school.”

Mario Blanchard from the Pitt County Association of Educators (PCAE) says public education remains a critical need for the public due to charter schools being unable to teach a variety of students with different needs.

“Students with disabilities or with learning disabilities, lots of time, they just don’t follow them and a lot of times they have to come back to public schools because they want to have their accommodations,” Blanchard said.