MAY 2, 2012
Charter school student participation grows by 76 percent in five years
Advocates prepare to celebrate success of public charters during National Charter Schools Week, May 6-12
WASHIINGTON, D.C – The number of students attending public charter schools across the country has grown by an estimated 76 percent in the last five school years, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS).
As parents, teachers and students from across the country prepare to celebrate National Charter Schools Week next month (May 6-12, 2012), advocates are recognizing the tremendous advancements in public charter schooling that have laid a new, bipartisan foundation for education reform in America.
Student enrollment in public charter schools grew from 1,165,200 students in 2006-2007 to an estimated 2,035,261 in 2011-2012. Over the same period, the number of public charter schools grew by 41 percent – from 3,999 to 5,627 – with an expected 521 new public charter schools opening in the 2011-2012 school year alone.
“Support for public charter schools transcends party lines and ideological backgrounds, with more Americans now realizing the extraordinary opportunities that public charter schools provide to children, communities, and our country,” said Ursula Wright, interim president and CEO of NAPCS. “Yet despite the significant growth experienced in recent years, demand for charter schools in our country far outpaces the number of seats available to students in these schools.”
Next month, thousands of participants will celebrate National Charter Schools Week with special events and activities at schools across the country. The awareness generated by these events will compliment local advocacy efforts like seeking improvements to laws that would allow for the creation of new charter schools, equitable funding for charter schools when compared to traditional district schools and increased access to unused or under-utilized public school buildings.
In just 20 years, the public charter school movement has reached 41 states and the District of Columbia by enacting charter school laws. (The nine states that do not have charter school laws are Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.) Maine passed its first charter school law in the summer of 2011. There are now approximately 5,600 public charter schools enrolling what is estimated to be more than two million students nationwide. Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are allowed to be more innovative while being held for accountable for improved student achievement. These figures were compiled based on data from state departments of education and state charter school support organizations and resource centers.
For more information about public charter schools, or about National Charter Schools Week, visit the website of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.