Nearly 3 Million Students Now Attend More Than 6,800 Charter Public Schools

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Today the National Alliance released a report that shows growth in the number of charter public schools, estimates their student enrollment, and gives information about the schools’ management structure. We’ll take a look at each of these areas in this blog series, starting with the growth in charter public schools.

In the 2015-16 school year, 404 new charter public schools opened. There are now more than 6,800 charter schools operating—up 1.5 percent from the previous school year.

The report includes a list of the states that opened the highest number of new charter schools in 2015-16. California led the nation with 80 new charter schools, followed by Florida with 38 new charter schools, Tennessee with 20 new charter schools, and Colorado, Indiana, and North Carolina—each with 15 new charter schools.

There are now 27 states with at least 50 operating charter public schools and nearly 20 states with 100 or more charter schools.


While the charter public school movement saw many new schools open last year, 272 charter schools ceased operation. These schools closed for a variety of reasons, including low enrollment, financial concerns, and low academic performance. The charter public school model gives charter schools the freedom to be more innovative, while being held accountable for improving student achievement. The school closures provide evidence that the accountability part of the charter school model is being upheld.

Please download the full A Closer Look at the Charter School Movement: Schools, Students, and Management Organizations, 2015-16 report for more information and graphics about the charter public school movement.