We, the undersigned of this petition, request the renewal of the Charter for PACE Academy 308 NC54 Carrboro NC

This petition made change with 1,061 supporters!

On January 8, 2014 PACE Academy's charter renewal will go before the North Carolina Board of Education.  PACE Academy supports the academic growth , emotional development and professional readiness of all students. A public charter high school , nearly 60% of the PACE student population qualify as Exceptional Children (EC) or students with I.E.P's. We believe in their mission and we believe that PACE has changed the lives of its students, their families and the community for the better and filled a need that no other school can do as well.  

One of the Six Legislated Purposes of Charter Schools in NC is to “increase learning opportunities and experiences for students at risk of academic failure.”  Clearly with 58% of its students having IEPs, PACE Academy is fulfilling a need not adequately met by other schools, traditional or charter schools.

Last week, the NC Charter School Advisory Board recommended to the NC Board of Education that PACE Academy (in existence for 10 years) not have its charter renewed.  Staff and parents alike were shocked by this recommendation.  We know the difference that PACE has made in the lives of our students.

"PACE is noncompliant in the area of Accountability & Testing per the Office of Charter Schools (but is compliant in all other eight compliance areas)

PACE has failed to test 95% of its students in multiple years (2010 and 2011)

The charter school has not met subgroup targets for four consecutive years and met growth once in the past five years."

This is true.  The reason that PACE is not compliant in these areas is because 58% of its students have special needs that entitle them to IEPs.  No other school in the state comes close to serving this number of students with such needs. Yet PACE Academy is being held to the same standard as other charter schools, many of which are schools designed for gifted students. Furthermore, state regulations are such that they actually would not allow for the 95% participation rate in End of Course exams because students with math disabilities are not required to take the Algebra EOC.   PACE is a small school and it takes very few students not taking an EOC to make the participation rate fall below 95%.

This petition is not only about PACE Academy, due process and laws in North Carolina.  It is about free and appropriate education for all students with special needs throughout the country.  Thank you for supporting our quest to have all students educated appropriately.

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