National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Names Americas Top 10 School Districts Served by Charters

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New Orleans has highest percentage; Los Angeles Unified serves most students

WASHINGTON, D.C. Topping the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools' list of districts served by charter schools is New Orleans, where 61 percent of public school students attend charter schools. Decimated by Hurricane Katrina, the city took the unprecedented opportunity to rebuild the public education system with charter schools as the foundation. Second and third on the list are Washington and Detroit, where chronically failing school systems have turned to public charter schools as a primary piece of education reform strategy. In each case, when faced with the challenge of significantly improving public education, these cities have chosen a model providing a system of public charter schools, each given freedom to innovate, extend school days and partner with parents, teachers and the local community to better serve students.

“New Orleans is the most prominent example, but there are four cities where at least one student in three attends a charter school,” said Peter C. Groff, president and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “The public education system is shifting in major cities across the nation. When families have an option, an increasing number of them are choosing public charter schools over the traditional public schools available to them.

"Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its annual report of school districts with the highest percentage and highest number of public school students enrolled in public charter schools. The report uses 2009-2010 school-year enrollment figures. Four city school districts now have at least one in three public school students enrolled in public charter schools: New Orleans, Washington, Detroit and Kansas City. In 16 cities at least one in five students attends a public charter school. Two districts have more than 50,000 students enrolled in charter schools. Los Angeles leads the nation with, 68,469 and Detroit is second with 50,139 charter students. In the last five years we’ve seen strong growth in both the number of students served by charter schools and the proportion of public school students choosing charters. 

“It tells us that there is a strong and continued demand for these innovative schools,” said report author Anna Nicotera, research director, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “People want to be able to choose the best public school option for their child, and public charter schools are giving families that chance.”

"The Top 10 highest percentages of public charter school students are in these 12 districts: New Orleans Public School System (61 percent), District of Columbia Public Schools, (38 percent), Detroit Public Schools (36 percent), Kansas City, Mo. (32 percent), Dayton Public Schools, Ohio (29 percent), Flint Community Schools, Mich. (29 percent), Gary Community School Corporation, Ind. (28 percent), DeSoto Independent School District, Texas (27 percent), St. Louis Public Schools, Mo. (27 percent), Central Dauphin School District, Pa. (26 percent), Albany City School District (24, percent) and West Chester Area School District, Pa. (23 percent). The Top 10 districts serving the highest number of public charter school students are: Los Angeles (68,469), Detroit Public Schools (50,139), Houston Independent School District (34,567), The School District of Philadelphia (33,916), Chicago Public Schools (33,711), Miami-Dade County Public Schools (30,859), New York City Department of Education (30,049), District of Columbia Public Schools (27,660), New Orleans Public School System (22,481), Broward County Public Schools, Fla. (21,603). 

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (Alliance) is the national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. The Alliance works to increase the number of high-performing charter schools available to all families, particularly low-income and minority families who currently do not have access to quality public schools. The Alliance provides assistance to state charter school associations and resource centers, develops and advocates for improved public policies, and serves as the united voice for this large and diverse movement. More than 1.6 million students attend nearly 5,000 charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia.