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Charter school growth continues, but it’s quality that matters most

Earlier this month, the National Alliance released our annual estimates on the number of new public charter schools and studentsfor the 2013-2014 school year. These numbers are always eagerly anticipated and this year was no exception. The report notes:

  • More than 600 new public charter schools opened their doors for the 2013-14 school year.
  • There are now approximately 6,400 public charter schools, a 7 percent growth from last year.
  • Roughly 2.5 million students are enrolled in public charter schools across the country (13 percent growth). In fact, we saw 288,000 additional students enroll in public charter this year.

The report includes tables that show which states saw the greatest increase in the number of new public charter schools and students served. Below are the states that saw more than 10,000 additional public charter school students enrolled from the previous school year.

State

New

Charters

Additional Students Served

CA

104

48422

AZ

87

39127

TX

5

36083

FL

75

33852

NY

26

14459

MI

33

11999

PA

6

10740



While growth is great, it’s only good for students and families if it is high-quality growth. From that perspective, this pattern is good news. All of these states are in the top half of our model charter law rankings, so they are in the best position to serve their students’ needs. Furthermore, Arizona, California, Florida, and Michigan are also among the states with the largest number of school closures—which occurred for a variety of reasons, including low enrollment, financial concerns, and low academic performance. The closures provide evidence that the charter school community is serious about quality, since schools that do not meet the needs of their students are being closed.


Nora Kern is senior manager of research at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.