With a Republican majority in all legislative branches and a Republican governor, North Carolina moves forward with ALEC Model legislation to remove public oversight from charter schools.
March 28, 2013

Now that North Carolina is completely in the control of Republicans, the state is moving forward with ALEC model legislation intended to remove public oversight from charter schools. This is the next step toward full privatization of the public school system in North Carolina, with a goal to move toward this model nationwide.

Via The Progressive Pulse, a list of what ALEC has in mind:

Tillman deferred to legislative staff to explain the details of the bill as amended by Sen. Apodaca. Some of the many provisions included:

  • The proposed NC Public Charter School Board would include nine appointed members by the Governor, the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Two ex-officio members would be the Lieutenant Governor and the State Treasurer, creating 11 voting members. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction would serve as the Secretary and the sole non-voting member.
  • The State Board of Education would have the ability to veto by a three-fourths vote any action adopted by the Charter Board if the State Board’s veto vote is taken within 45 days of the date the Charter Board voted to adopt the action.
  • Charter school applicants would no longer have to submit applications to LEAs or their local school boards.
  • Local school boards would be required to lease available buildings or land to a charter school for $1 per year unless they can demonstrate the lease is not economically or practically feasible or that the local board does not have adequate classroom space to meet its enrollment needs.
  • The Charter Board would be able to establish fees for charter applications.
  • Charter school operators would not be accountable to local boards of education, only accountable to the state charter board.
  • If a charter school is dissolved, assets would be returned to the state’s General Fund, not to the LEA.
  • Charter schools shall “make efforts to reasonably reflect” the racial and ethnic composition of the LEA in which they are located. The language weakens this previous requirement.

This language comes straight out of the ALEC "Second Generation Charter Schools" proposed legislation, particularly the provision involving a board stacked by the governor.

NC PolicyWatch:

As a practical matter, what this means is that North Carolina’s already rapidly expanding population of barely regulated charter schools (a group that already includes multiple frauds and failures like the basketball factory described by reporter Sarah Ovaska in this special investigation) would explode. Within a very short time, the state’s traditional public schools would be defunded, depopulated and just generally undermined as the state rapidly established a bifurcated and increasingly privatized and corporatized school system.

This is nothing more than a blatant, cynical attempt to re-segregate North Carolina's public schools while placing them under the oversight of corporate charter school operators, and the Koch's libertarian, dystopian fetish with destroying the country. As Progressive Pulse notes:

During the public comment period, members heard from supporters and opponents of the bill. Baker Mitchell, incoming chairman of NC Alliance for Public Charter Schools and board member of the John Locke Foundation, expressed his full support of the bill on behalf of the Alliance.

The John Locke Foundation is Art Pope's think tank. Art Pope is, as I wrote earlier, Governor Pat McCrory's "deputy budget director." It's not very surprising that the Pope/Koch-funded think tank in North Carolina would be in full support of handing funds and real estate over to cut-rate charter schools.

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