Washington D.C. At least one in five students now attends a public charter school in 43 communities across the country, up from 32 last year, according to an annual report released by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
The report, A Growing Movement: Americas Largest Charter School Communities, identifies communities with the highest enrollment share and largest number of students attending public charter schools, as well as communities where charter school enrollment growth is the strongest.
"This is a remarkable increase in the number and percentage of students attending public charter schools nationwide and that is a major success for the growth of the charter school movement," said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "We now have 11 more communities that enroll at least 20 percent of their overall student population in public charter schools."
In some communities, the growth of public charter schools has been significant: The report highlights 12 urban communities now enrolling at least 30 percent of their public school students in charter schools, a notable jump from last year when only seven urban communities reported the same enrollment share of charter students.
First on this list is New Orleans, which had the highest percentage of students enrolled in public charter schools at 91 percent, up from 79 percent last year. Detroit ranked second with 55 percent and Washington, D.C., tied with Flint, Mich., at third with 44 percent. Other cities topping the list are Kansas City, Mo.; Gary, Ind.; and Cleveland, Ohio.
"The charter school growth in these urban communities demonstrates the huge family demand for more high-quality public school options," said Rees. "With nearly a million student names on waiting lists, this report reaffirms the need for more public charter schools all across the country."
This is the ninth annual report that tracks the growth of the charter school movement nationally. For this report, the National Alliance measured the enrollment share of charter school students in school districts with more than 10,000 public school students in the 2013-14 school year.
Some key findings from the report include:
- Los Angeles Unified School District enrolled more than 139,000 students in public charter schools this year, up 15 percent from last year the highest number of students among all communities.
- Clark County School District in Nevada reported a 36 percent growth in the enrollment of public charter school students, adding almost 4,000 students compared to last year.
- Michigan and Ohio have the greatest number of cities in the top ten percentage of enrollment share. Detroit ranked second with 55 percent, followed by Flint in third with 44 percent and Grand Rapids in seventh with 30 percent. In Ohio, Cleveland ranked fourth with 40 percent, and Toledo and Dayton tied at eighth with 29 percent of their students enrolled in charter schools.
- The School District of Palm Beach in Florida jumped up to the second spot this year, up from 10th last year, reporting a growth of more than 4,000 new students.
- More than 150 communities have more than 10 percent of their students enrolled in a public charter school, compared to 135 in 2013.
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.