Banner image with text: National School Choice Week January 23-29, 2022 with 3 black graduation mortarboard hats.


NC Public Charter School Fair

Mom, dad, and daughter all wearing white tshirts and jeans standing against a yellow background.

Are you looking for the right school for your child?

Come talk with school representatives face-to face and learn more about your public charter school options. We'll have representatives from schools serving students k-12!

January 22, 2022 10am-4pm
Raleigh Convention Center

We'll also have plenty of fun, free activities for children:

photo booth
face painting

What is a public charter school?

In 2021, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of North Carolina's public charter schools! Here are 25 facts about our public charter schools to help you learn about why school choice is important to parents!


Public charter schools were created in 1996 by the General Assembly’s Charter School Act to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils, and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently of existing schools. 


Public charter schools in North Carolina were created to achieve 6 goals: improve student learning, increase learning opportunities for all students, encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods, create new professional opportunities for teachers, provide parents and students with expanded educational choices, and hold schools accountable for meeting measurable student achievement results. 


North Carolina public charter school students make up 8.4% of the state’s public school student body. 


North Carolina public charter school students make up 8.4% of the state’s public school student body. 


There are more than 76,000 students currently on waitlists to enroll in NC's public charter schools.


More than 1.5 million students have attended NC's public charter schools since their inception 25 years ago.


There are 200 public charter schools in NC.


Forty-two public schools in NC have received grants to better serve educationally disadvantaged students through the federally funded North Carolina Advancing Charter Colloboration and Excellence for Student Success (NC ACCESS) program.


The NC ACCESS Program will train and support 160 public charter school leaders from across the state who have demonstrated best practices for serving educationally disadvantaged students, including through the Educational Equity Aspiring Minority Leaders Program.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, 98% of North Carolina’s public charter schools distributed devices for remote learning and 77% provided internet access/assistance. 


North Carolina’s public charter schools regularly rank among the state’s best, including 2 of the top 5 in 2020 according to US News and World Report. 


 North Carolina public charter schools receive about 70 cents of every dollar that district-run public schools receive. 


In 2020-2021, 88% of North Carolina public charter schools provided transportation for their students through buses or coordinated carpools. 


The approval process for prospective North Carolina public charter schools is rigorous to ensure quality and adherence to statewide standards — only 25% of applications are approved by the State Board of Education each year. 


There are public charter schools in 65 of North Carolina’s 100 counties with Mecklenburg County having the most at 32 brick and mortar schools. 


 North Carolina has 2 virtual public charter schools based in Durham County which serve students from all across the state. 


By law, North Carolina’s public charter schools may not discriminate in their admissions process on the basis of race, creed, national origin, religion, or ancestry. 


Weighted lotteries are tools which help schools increase and support enrollment of students from underserved communities and are currently being used by nearly a quarter of North Carolina’s public charter schools. 


 Eighty-five percent of North Carolina’s public charter schools provide lunch to their students through the National School Lunch Program or reduced price lunch programs. 


 The COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted North Carolina student learning; for public charter schools 9% of students were found to be at-risk for academic failure compared to 23% of traditional district students. 


 Unlike traditional public schools, North Carolina public charter schools are not bound to serve only the students residing within a particular county or district — in fact, many serve students from multiple districts 


North Carolina’s public charter schools have positive potential impacts on local traditional public school districts, such as relieving overcrowding and reducing the financial strain on districts of building new facilities — potentially saving districts over $1 billion dollars in capital improvements. 


During the COVID-19 pandemic, partnership was the key to educational success — demonstrated by the fact that 61% of North Carolina’s public charters collaborated with other charter schools and/or district schools to serve students. 


Public charter schools in North Carolina are innovating in areas including scheduling, collaboration, programming, and curricula and these best practices are being shared with their traditional public school counterparts. 


More than one third of North Carolina public charter schools have introduced innovative discipline or restorative justice components that directly led to a decrease in suspensions.