Debate over charter schools is growing

March 8, 2011 4:10:23 AM PST
The debate over charter schools in North Carolina is growing.There are now two competing bills on the issue making their way through the state legislature.

Democrats want limits on the power of a proposed charter school commission and Republicans want to give the commission more power.

The Republicans say having more charter schools will help reform public education and give families more choices for their children. They also say it'll save taxpayer money in the end.

"What it means to be a charter school is that you judge education by outcomes rather than by input," Republican House Majority Leader Skip Stam said.

Critics, like Representative Marvin Lucas from Cumberland County and fellow Democrats say the Republican-backed bill would allow countless charter schools to open without any accountability.

Their concern is that millions of dollars from public school transportation, nutrition and early childhood funds could be spent on charters that aren't required to provide those three things.

"It is in fact nothing but an assault on public education," Democrat House Minority Whip Rep. Rick Glazier said.

So, Democrats have drafted their own charter school legislation. Both bills create a charter school commission and lift the cap on charters.

The GOP-backed bill is up for discussion Tuesday, but no vote is expected on the committee.

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