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One in Five Students Across 32 School Districts Attend Public Charter Schools According to New Market Share Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released their annual market share report findings indicating that over the past eight years the number of school districts with at least 20 percent of students attending public charter school has increased 350 percent. The eighth annual report provides details about the school districts that have the largest percentage of students in charter schools, the largest total number of students attending charters, and where charter enrollment growth is strongest. “When given the option, parents coast-to-coast are increasingly choosing public charter schools,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance. “And this trend shows no sign of slowing. There are nearly one million student names on charter school waiting lists nationwide.” A Growing Movement: America’s Largest Charter School Communities–Eighth Annual Edition includes details about 25 additional school districts with at least a 20 percent market share—since the first report was published. In 2005 there were only seven school districts with 20 percent of their students in charter schools. The list of these 32 school districts is on pages 8-9 of the report. Overall charter school enrollment increased by approximately 225,000 students during the 2012-2013 school year and there are now more than 2.3 million students attending these independently run, innovative public schools. Today, one in every 20 public school children in America attends a charter school. Key findings from the report also include:
  • The top three areas for charter school market share are: New Orleans where an astounding 79 percent of public school students attend charter schools; Detroit where 51 percent attend charters; and Washington, D.C., where 43 percent of all public school students attend charters.
  • In seven school districts, at least 30 percent of public school students attend public charter schools: Detroit and Flint, Mich.Gary, Ind.Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.New Orleans; and Washington D.C. 
  • In Los Angeles more than 120,000 students attend public charter schools, which is more students than are served by 99.9 percent of American school districts.
  • In 135 American school districts, at least 10 percent of public school students attend charter schools. The full list can be found on pages 8-10 of the report.
  • In the five school districts with the most charter school students, charter enrollment grew by 49,000 total students over the previous school year. Those school districts were: Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago.
  • In the five school districts with the largest growth in charter school enrollment, charter enrollment grew by an average of 35 percent in the 2012-13 school year, adding nearly 14,000 new charter students in those communities. Those school districts were: Hall County, Ga.San DiegoDuvall County, Fla.Newark, N.J.; and Hillsborough County, Fla. 
  • Four school districts have been in the top 10 for growth two years in a row:  Hillsborough County, Fla.Los Angeles, Boston; and New York City.
  • There are 33 new school districts listed in the report this year that have all demonstrated notable charter school market share growth since the 2011-2012 school year. Twenty-eight joined the list of districts with more than 10 percent of their students enrolled in a charter school, and five new districts joined the top 50 total enrollment list.
Tables showing districts with the highest percentage of public charter school student enrollment, the highest number of total charter students, and the largest growth in charter school enrollment, are on page 3 of A Growing Movement: America’s Largest Charter School Communities – Eighth Annual Edition. For questions about the report or to speak to a charter school expert, contact Katherine Bathgate at katherine@publiccharters.org or (202) 521-2827. 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.