Since 2012, NC Accelerator has assisted 15 public charter schools in opening their doors and strengthening their educational outcomes. In 2017, the NC Accelerator announced that moving forward the Accelerator, a project of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, would work to provide resources to not just public charter schools, but also new and existing private schools in North Carolina.
The State of Public Charter and Private Schools in North Carolina
North Carolina, although known for its educational advances, still has failing schools, a dearth of education innovation, limited options for families (particularly in underserved communities), and a workforce that lacks the training to take full advantage of available job opportunities in technology and other 21st century careers.
Prior to 2011 when the North Carolina General Assembly removed the cap on public charter schools, only 100 existed in North Carolina. On average, 12 new public charter schools are opening annually. In the fall of 2017 as many as 175 public charter schools could be operating across the state.
On the private school landscape, North Carolina has stepped-up by creating three private school choice scholarships since 2011. Today, North Carolina families can benefit from the Opportunity Scholarship Program, the Children with Disabilities Scholarship Grant, and the Special Needs Education Savings Account.
However, even with this growth, there are still 39 counties in North Carolina without a public charter school and 11 counties without a private school choice option. There is a great need to strengthen education in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina. According to research conducted by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, there are 11 million students in rural public schools and children in rural America are more likely than their peers to live in poverty than in any other geographic area. Research also shows that only 27% of rural high school graduates go on to college, and just one in five rural adults has earned a bachelor’s degree.
39 counties in North Carolina are still without a public charter school.
11 counties in North Carolina do not have a private school option.
The North Carolina School Accelerator was launched by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) in 2012 to equip education leaders with tools to design effective educational programs and strengthen community partnerships in order to start and sustain high-quality public charter schools in rural communities.
Given the historic educational choice demand, our goal for the NC Accelerator moving forward is to continue to provide educational solutions to rural, underserved low-wealth communities by offering high-quality public charter and private school options. The NC Accelerator will provide services by:
- Assisting schools across the state by informing parents of their options and helping public charter and private schools register new students.
- Giving direct support to public charter and private schools across North Carolina in rural and academically challenged areas.
The Accelerator has now strengthened our services by creating a lending arm for schools that need access to capital through our partnership with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund. Read more about our partnership that includes up to $5M in small business loans available to fuel rural public charter and private school growth.
Through this exciting new partnership, we will produce a deep analysis of schools and educational leaders who apply for Carolina Small Business loans to strengthen their educational outcomes (e.g. opening new schools or obtaining resources for the success of existing schools).
Therefore, moving forward, the Accelerator will continue to focus on ensuring quality growth for both public charter and private schools in the Tar Heel State.