North Carolina’s SB 337 has been revised to add just a few limits to charter autonomy. There will not be a separate charter-friendly board to authorize charters; that responsibility will remain with the state board, which will likely be tilted towards charters anyway.

The original bill would have allowed all charter teachers to be uncertified. Currently, 75% of charter teachers in K-5 must be certified. The new bill drops that to 50%, instead of zero.

Charter teachers will be subject to criminal background checks. That’s a relief. And charters will be expected to reflect the racial diversity of their area.

Educators were less than thrilled with the low standards for charter teachers. One said, “Standards only seem to matter if you teach in a traditional public school system.” Another said, “A license is an assurance to the public, just like when I go to the doctor and look for his license to practice medicine…Do we want electricians and pharmacists to not have licenses? Do we want to create a professional system in which professionals are unlicensed?”

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