The Charter School Movement Thriving: A look at the Growing Numbers
Editor’s Note: This information/report about the growth of the charter school movement was published by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools on March 11, 2019 and can be found here. We think it’s vital to keep tabs on the pulse of all things related to charter schools, including informational resources, and how to support school choice, charter school growth, and the advancement of the charter school movement as a whole. We hope you find this—and any other article we curate—both interesting and valuable.
Over the past ten years, enrollment in charter schools has increased by nearly 2 million students—and the number of school districts with a significant charter school presence continues to grow, too. When the National Alliance published the first edition of this report in 2006, only one district—New Orleans—had more than 30 percent of its students enrolled in charter schools. In 2017-18, 21 districts had at least 30 percent of their students attending charter schools.
Public charter schools are unique public schools that foster innovative approaches to solving some of today’s most difficult educational challenges. Over the past ten years, enrollment in charter schools has increased from 1.3 million in 2007-08 to nearly 3.2 million in 2017-18.
In addition, the number of school districts with a significant charter school presence continues to grow. In 2017-18, 21 districts had 30 percent or more of their students enrolled in charter schools, and 214 districts had at least 10 percent of their students enrolled in charter schools. In 2017-18, more than 10.5 million public school students, or one in five, attended school in a district with at least 10,000 total students and 10 percent or more charter school enrollment share.
Free from many of the constraints that traditional schools face, the charter school movement has been a leader in innovation, school choice, and education reform for more than 25 years. At the same time, charter schools are held accountable for advancing student achievement by the communities and states they serve.
The unique combination of innovation and accountability have allowed charter schools to demonstrate that all children are capable of academic achievement that prepares them to succeed in college, their career, and their life. Charter schools have led efforts to eliminate achievement gaps, boost graduation rates, and revitalize communities.
Because charter schools have a successful track record of meeting students’ specific needs, parental demand for them remains high. In fact, a 2016 survey commissioned by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools shows that 78 percent of parents support a new charter school opening in their neighborhood.1 In addition, most parents, regardless of background, support public school choice.
This report identifies communities that have the highest percentage and the highest number of students enrolled in charter schools. The National Alliance collected public school enrollment data from 2017-18 to identify communities across the country where the highest proportions of students were enrolled in charter schools.
To calculate these proportions, charter schools were mapped to geographic school district boundaries based on their address. This report compares the enrollment of charter schools located within geographic school district boundaries with district run schools in the same area, resulting in “enrollment share.”
To download the full report, click here.
Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!