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Durham makes charter school growth list

Durham is the state's only county with at least 10 percent of its students enrolled in charters, according to a recent report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Nationally, more than 100 districts have at least 10 percent of students enrolled in charters.

Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina pointed to the report as evidence that parents are demanding "high quality educational options."

"We hope that our education leaders continue to increase the number of quality public charters, especially in rural areas and other parts of the state where there is great need for high quality schools," Parents for Educational Freedom's Darrell Allison said in a statement.

But this statistic is an example why Durham education and political leaders are resisting more charters there. They say charters drain money from traditional schools.

Ranking charter laws

North Carolina is making progress in funding public charter schools fairly, according to an advocacy group, but should lift the cap that limits charters to 100.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranked the state's charter law 32nd out of 40 the group compared to its model law. Eleven states don't have laws allowing charter schools, but Washington, D.C. ranks high on the list the Alliance released today. 

Alliance vice president for policy, Todd Ziebarth, gave credit to lawsuits brought by fomer Charlotte mayor and GOP gubernatorial candidate Richard Vinroot for making it easier for charters in the state to get their fair share of public money. 

But the policies the State Board of Education adopted recently that set out criteria for charter school performance are too strict, Ziebarth said. 

Charters, particularly those that serve special education students or drop outs, need more time than the three years the state gives to prove themselves, Ziebarth said.

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