Today we released the seventh edition of our annual market share report, A Growing Movement: America’s Largest School Communities. This year marks unprecedented nationwide growth for public charter schools. For the first time ever, 110 school districts have 10 percent of their students enrolled in public charter schools in the 2011-2012 academic year (96 in 2010-2011). A record 25 school districts have more than 20 percent of students enrolled in charter schools, and seven school districts enroll at least 30 percent of public school students in charter schools. Back in 2006, when we first released the report, there were six school districts with more than 20 percent and only one district with more than 30 percent of students enrolled in charter schools.
There wasn’t any movement in the top spots for market share and total charter enrollment: New Orleans remains number one with 76 percent of students enrolled in charter schools and Los Angeles keeps the top spot with nearly 100,000 students attending charter schools. Clark County rocketed to the top of the list of high growth with 64 percent more students attending charter schools in 2011-2012 than in the previous academic year.
The map below presents data from the three lists of school districts with the highest charter school market share, enrollment, and growth. The geographic display of the data shows that school districts with high concentrations of students enrolled in charter schools are more likely to be located in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the country (the green bubbles). In contrast, a large portion of the districts with high growth in the number of charter school students are located in the South and West regions (the orange bubbles). School districts with large numbers of students enrolled in charter schools are spread out across the nation (the blue bubbles).
Enrollment in charter schools is on the rise because they are demonstrating that success is possible even in neighborhoods where some schools have been failing for generations.
Click here for a higher resolution version of the map below.