North Carolina has 115 local public school districts and 2,500+ traditional public schools, 148 charter schools, and three residential schools for students with hearing and visual impairments. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction implements the state's public school laws and the State Board of Education's policies and procedures governing pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade public education.

The state's Standard Course of Study describes the subjects and course content that is taught in North Carolina public schools, and the assessments and accountability model used to evaluate student, school, and district success. North Carolina education leaders were the first in the nation to address learning standards, student tests and school accountability simultaneously.

Community Colleges

NC Community Colleges are one of the most comprehensive community college systems in the nation. Originally created in the years following World War II, in response to the state’s rapid shift from an agricultural to an industrial economy, community colleges in North Carolina continue to be deeply rooted in economic development and workforce training while also providing Basic Skills and literacy education, and pre-baccalaureate programs. North Carolina’s community colleges open the door to high-quality, accessible educational opportunities that minimize barriers to post-secondary education, maximize student success, develop a globally and multiculturally competent workforce, and improve the lives and well-being of individuals.

Higher Education

The University of North Carolina was the first public university in the United States to open its doors and the only one to graduate students in the eighteenth century. The University of North Carolina is a public, multi-campus university dedicated to the service of North Carolina and its people. It encompasses the 16 diverse constituent institutions and other educational, research, and public service organizations.

Additionally, North Carolina has 36 private, non-profit liberal arts, comprehensive, and research colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, including Duke University, Elon University, and Davidson College.