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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

NC parents choose alternatives

Homeschooling has surged in North Carolina, while enrollment in traditional schools is declining. Photo: Travis Long/News & Observer

Nearly 1 in 5 North Carolina students is not attending a traditional public school,” writes Hui. “For the third year in a row, enrollment has fallen in North Carolina’s traditional public schools even as the number of students continues to rise in charter schools, private schools and homeschools.”

The General Assembly, under Republican control since 2010, has  expanded choice options, including:

— Eliminating the 100-school cap on charter schools, which are taxpayer-funded schools that are exempt from some of the rules that traditional public schools must follow. A total of 12 new charter schools will open this fall, raising the number statewide to 185. This year, legislators also allowed four Mecklenburg County towns to create their own municipal charter schools. — Creating the Opportunity Scholarship program that provides up to $4,200 a year in vouchers for lower-income families to use to attend private schools. — Creating two different programs for parents of special-needs students to attend private schools and pay related education costs. — Making it easier for home-school students to take classes from people who are not their parents.

The state’s population is growing rapidly: Home schools, charters and private schools are adding more students than traditional public schools are losing.

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