North Carolina Public vs. Private Schools Comparison Chart
|Approximately 49.8 million students; 90% of children attend public schools
|Approximately 5.1 million students
|1.5 million students
|Number in NC
|2,592 (including 159 charters)
|Teachers must obtain state license to teach. Must hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher in the subject they wish to teach. Must pass background check.
|Not required to have certification or license to teach. Schools can freely terminate teachers and do not have to perform background checks on them.
|Financed through federal, state, and local governments; grants, awards, donations
|Tuition, gifts, endowments, private corporations, fundraising, grants
|No, schools are free for every student
|Yes, income-eligible students who have spent at least a semester in public school (unless in K or 1st, foster care, or an active duty military family) can receive up to $4,200 per year.
|Average Cost of Year
|$7,925 for elementary and middle,
$9,065 for high school
|By law, public schools must accept all children in their geographic attendance zones
|Competitive enrollment. Schools can deny admission of anyone who does not meet their eligibility
|Required to meet minimum term set by state, currently minimum of 185 days or 1,025 hours of instruction
|Must operate at least nine months of year, state “strongly advises” term of 180 days of at least 5.5 hours – or 990 instructional hours
|Larger class sizes. Average 15.4 students per teacher
|Smaller class sizes. Average 12.5 students per teacher
|State guidelines set specific standards and assessment procedures
|No curriculum requirements.
|Required by law to administer federal and state tests
|Nationally standardized testing mandated in 3rd, 6th, 9th and 11th.
|No religious affiliations
|Schools may have religious affiliations; 70% of NC private school students are in religious schools; more than 90% of voucher students attend religious schools.
|Special Needs Children
|Required to educate all children and provide necessary resources to meet special needs
|Do not have to accept children with special needs
|Must comply with federal, state, and local nondiscrimination measures.
|Cannot discriminate on basis of race, but can consider religion, sex, LGBT status and disability.
|All districts provide free transportation to all students.
|Not required to provide transportation for students
Last updated: June 2016