Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte need more charter schools in poor areas, report says

T Keung Hui and Ann Doss Helms:

Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte are home to many charter schools, but a new national report says those three areas are filled with places where lower-income families don’t have access to these non-traditional public schools.

A new report from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute says there are hundreds of “charter school deserts” in the U.S., which it defines as three or more contiguous census tracts that have poverty rates greater than 20 percent but that have no charter schools.

The report, released Thursday, found 14 charter school deserts in North Carolina, including nine in the Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte metro areas. The other five are in rural areas.

“We think there are plenty of cities that are saturated with charters, but when you can zoom in at the census track level, you can see census tracks that are pretty poor and they have no other option than their traditional school,” said Amber Northern, senior vice president for research at the Fordham Institute.

Madison lacks K-12 governance diversity. A majority of the School Board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory IB charter school in 2011.