Advocates and Families Across Nation Celebrate 20 Years of Public Charter Schools in America
Washington, D.C. – The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) leads the nation in celebrating the single largest and most impactful education reform effort of the past two decades: public charter schools.
National Charter Schools Week celebrates the many benefits of public charter schools, which includes providing parents with better public school options, innovative teaching and learning methods, and autonomy to create real time school improvements as a means of improving student achievement. Parents, teachers, students and advocates will recognize the successes of these innovative and effective schools while stressing to lawmakers in states across the country to do more to expand access to high-quality public charter schools.
According to the NAPCS, which organizes National Charter Schools Week, advocates have significant reason to celebrate in 2012. The number of students attending public charter schools has increased by an estimated 76 percent over the past five school years, while the number of schools has grown 40 percent (from 3,999 to an estimated 5,627). These schools are serving more than two million students across the country, while more than 400,000 students sit on waiting lists to be able to attend the high-quality public charter school of their choosing.
“Over the past 20 years, Americans from all backgrounds have experienced the transformational benefits of high-quality public charter schools, and National Charter Schools Week raises awareness of the continued need to expand access to these schools for millions of additional children,” said Ursula Wright, interim president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “Despite significant progress in recent years, a great deal of work remains if we are to ensure that every state in the country allows effective and accountable charter schools for children.”
What started as an experiment in Minnesota in 1991 has now swept the country, with 41 states and the District of Columbia offering high-quality public charter school options and enrolling five percent of the nation’s public school students. With this growth, public charter schools have achieved bipartisan support over the years.
Charter schools are independent, tuition-free public schools allowed freedom to be more innovative, while being held accountable for improved student achievement. These open enrollment schools foster a partnership between parents, teachers and students that lead to improved academic results.
Studies indicate that effective public charter schools are making a significant impact on student achievement. Research from a RAND study, as well as a Betts and Tang meta-analysis indicates that public charter schools increase high school graduation and college acceptance rates, and provide significant benefits to students from low-income neighborhoods or students who are struggling in traditional public schools.
For more information about public charter schools, or about National Charter Schools Week, please visit www.PublicCharters.org.
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement for all students by fostering a strong charter sector. The Alliance provides assistance to state charter school associations and resource centers, develops and advocates for improved public policies, and serves as the united voice for this large and diverse movement.