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National Alliance Statement on CRPE Declining Enrollment in Traditional Public Schools Paper

Washington, D.C.—Earlier this year, the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) held a convening of public education leaders from around the country, including the National Alliance’s Vice President of Research Susan Pendergrass to tackle the topic of declining enrollment in traditional public schools and the role of public charter schools. The resulting paper released today takes a deep and honest look at the dynamics between declining enrollment at district schools and public charter school growth. The National Alliance’s Susan Pendergrass released the following statement in response to the CRPE study:

“The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools was pleased to be at the table with colleagues across the public education sector earlier this year at a convening hosted by the Center on Reinventing Public Education to discuss the complex dynamics surrounding declining enrollment. While often the rhetoric we hear from our traditional public school peers blames public charter schools for districts’ declining enrollment, leaders at the convening agreed and data confirms that, for most big districts, enrollment decline predates charter growth. Instead, districts must take more responsibility for implementing long-term, sustainable solutions to address enrollment decline. However, public charter schools, while not to blame, have a role to play in the best interest of public school students.

“The paper, released by CRPE on behalf of several of the leaders at the convening, lists recommendations made during the convening. At the heart of these recommendations is increased collaboration between leaders of the two models of public education—district and charter.  We know that traditional public schools and charter public schools have a role to play in finding solutions that are in the best interest of all public-school students. We believe that collaboration is key to ensuring all students have access to high-quality public school options.

“However, one recommendation that the National Alliance does not endorse is slowing growth of public school options for students. Forcing new charter schools to sit on the bench while the traditional public schools in their district “catch up” suggests that charter schools are the problem when, in fact, for parents and students, they’re the solution. Our students need access to an excellent education today and they can’t afford to wait. It is essential that we don’t slow momentum on increasing access to high-quality public school options.”

 

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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 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 www.publiccharters.org.