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Public Charter School Enrollment Nears 3 Million

New report estimates charter schools are serving 348,000 new students in 2014-15, up 14 percent from previous school year

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly 2.9 million students now attend charter schools, according to a report released today by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools that estimates growth in charter schools and their student enrollment. U.S. charter schools are serving almost 348,000 new students in 2014-15, up from 288,000 the previous school year.

“This has been our highest enrollment figure so far, and we are not surprised parents are choosing charter schools for their child’s education,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “The growth in charter school enrollment shows parents’ demand for high-quality educational options. We are optimistic that the number of public charter schools will continue to grow to serve even more students and families.”

Apart from providing student enrollment estimates, the report also shines a light on estimates of the number of charter schools that opened for the 2014-15 school year and those that have closed during the past year. This year, 500 new public charter schools opened, while more than 200 schools that were open last year are no longer operating. These schools closed for a variety of reasons, including low enrollment, inadequate financial resources, or low academic performance.

“We want to see more high-quality charter schools serve students throughout the country. At the same time we advocate for strong accountability measures to ensure that only the highest-quality charter schools are serving our nation’s students,” said Rees.

In addition to a 14 percent increase in enrollment, there are now more than 6,700 charter schools – up 4 percent from the previous school year.

The report includes a list of the 15 states that opened the highest number of new charter schools and enrolled the most students new to charter schools in 2014-15. California led the nation with 87 new charter schools, followed by Florida with 56 new schools. Florida also had the highest new student enrollment at 46,000.

Texas approved two new charters and 54 new campus expansions, which operate under previously existing charter agreements. As a result, more than 42,000 new students are being served by Texas charter schools this school year.

Other states reporting high new student enrollment numbers are Arizona with 38,000 additional students and North Carolina with over 12,000 additional students.

About Public Charter Schools

Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many independent research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at www.publiccharters.org.

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