News: Quick Takes

N.C. parents, students, choosing alternatives to traditional public schools

Traditional public schools saw about 5,000 fewer students walk through their doors for the 2016-17 school year. Charter, private, and home schools, on the other hand, all saw increases in the number of students at their campuses.

The state Department of Public Instruction reports that traditional public school enrollment fell by 5,562 students for the 2016-17 school year. Despite the decrease, public schools still lead the pack with 1,454,290 students enrolled.

Public charter schools saw the greatest gains with 11,437 new students in 2017, bringing the total enrollment to 89,228 students. Private school enrollment increased to 100,585, up by 2,864 students since the previous school year. Enrollment in home schools increased by 9,579 to a total of 127,847 students.

“Presumably, the Opportunity Scholarship and Disability Grant program, which provide private school scholarships to low-income and special needs students respectively, are responsible for some of these gains,” Terry Stoops, the director of research and education studies at the John Locke Foundation wrote.

Stoops also pointed to improving economic conditions and an increase in the amount of private schools in the state as other possible causes for the increase in non-traditional education enrollment.