• 43°

Editorial: Renewal status may bring transformation public schools need

About 80%.

That’s the number of K-12-age children in North Carolina who are enrolled in traditional public schools, according to data posted by the state earlier this month. It’s a number that’s been decreasing steadily as parents opt for other options to educate their children.

And Rowan County is no exception to that trend. As enrollment in Rowan-Salisbury Schools has decreased in recent years — from more than 20,000 in the 2009-2010 school year to about 18,500 in the 2018-2019 year — the number of children in home, private and charter schools has risen.

As reporter Andie Foley wrote in Sunday’s Post (“RSS pilots program for growing home school population”), there are nearly 2,700 Rowan County children enrolled in home school, a number that’s more than 1,000 students greater than 10 years ago.

And the amount Rowan-Salisbury Schools must provide to charter schools has increased sharply of late because of increased student enrollment, according to County Manager Aaron Church. He said the 48.7% increase in the charter school budget this year — $488,366 to $726,151 — is a result of increasing average daily membership at charter schools. Said another way, as students choose to move from public to charter schools, taxpayer dollars follow them.

The upward trend in charter enrollment is pushed along in part by the General Assembly in ways that include lifting a cap on the number of total charter schools.

But the overall decline in public school enrollment may be a sign that parents think their children will receive a better education elsewhere. That’s something our public schools must work to change.

As the Nettles family said in Sunday’s story, homeschooling allows students to have a personalized learning experience.

For various reasons, a portion of parents will always choose non-public education as the best choice for their children. The level of detail a teacher can devote to an individual student, for example, will never be as great as what a parent can provide.

Bringing a portion of students back to public schools will require innovative initiatives such as the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s renewal status, which we think will put it on track toward better preparing students for life after graduation.

Because succeeding in public school means more than scoring high on tests and graduating with a good GPA, the decline in public school enrollment should be a sign to those who create the learning environment and those who allocate funding in Raleigh that a change is needed. It may be as simple as encouraging more innovative solutions like renewal status.

Comments

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month