Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - September 20, 2018 


Kavanaugh’s accuser given a deadline to talk; President Trump visits hurricane ravaged areas before lashing out at Sessions; and the U.S. Supreme court shines a light on dark money. We're covering those stories and more.

Daily Newscasts

North Carolina School Privatization Could Impact Students With Disabilities

PHOTO: Advocates for children with disabilities are concerned about the impact North Carolina's expanded charter school and private school voucher program may have on them. Photo courtesy: Liz Marie/Wikimedia Commons.
PHOTO: Advocates for children with disabilities are concerned about the impact North Carolina's expanded charter school and private school voucher program may have on them. Photo courtesy: Liz Marie/Wikimedia Commons.
February 5, 2015

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - There's no limit to the number of charter schools that can operate in North Carolina, and now there's a virtual charter school pilot program that will reallocate money to private entities and away from public schools.

Jane Wettach, director of the Children's Law Clinic at Duke University, says the shifting of funds and focus to charter schools could specifically impact students who need additional support services.

"Because charter schools tend to be independent, they don't have the depth a public school district would have to deal with lots of different kinds of disabilities," she says.

By law, charter schools are required to offer services to all children, but Wettach says that can vary from school to school. She says the state-funded Opportunity Scholarship Program, which offers private school vouchers to qualifying students, is another area of concern since those schools don't have to offer additional services to students.

Supporters of charter schools and private vouchers say it offers families additional choices for their children.

According to Wettach, the lack of regulation of private school vouchers is unique to North Carolina.

"Private school requirements in North Carolina are among the weakest in the country," she says. "We do not regulate our private schools. Almost all of the other states that have voucher programs have much greater accountability."

In addition to having no minimum standard when it comes to academics, private schools in North Carolina are also free to use any curriculum, employ unlicensed teachers, and are only required to conduct criminal background checks on school administrators. They are not obliged to disclose their budgets, even when accepting public money.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC