Charter Movement Growing Quickly, Report Shows
The number of charter schools nationwide jumped by 44 percent between 1998 and 1999, according to a report released last week by the Center for Education Reform.
This school year saw the opening of 521 of the largely independent public schools, for a total of 1,689. The Washington-based center, which promotes charter schools and other forms of educational choice, provides a profile and contact information for each of the schools in its sixth annual charter school directory.
The average enrollment for charter schools is 256 students, according to the center. Just over half teach elementary grades.
|A copy of the National Charter School Directory2000 can be purchased for $30 plus $3 for shipping and handling by calling (800) 521-2118 or e-mailing the center at CER@edreform.com.|
While 28 of the 34 states, including the District of Columbia, in this year's directory allow local charter sponsorship, the center says, local school boards sponsor fewer than half—49 percent—of the nation's operating and approved charter schools. In roughly half the states with charter schools, state boards of education or similar state agencies are allowed to sponsor charters; such agencies sponsor 28 percent of all charter schools. Only 10 states allow for alternative chartering agencies, such as universities and colleges, but those sponsors have authorized 22 percent of all charter schools approved or operating.
"The alternative agencies not only allow for direct sponsorship, but their competitive presence itself seems to spur the development of charters—charter schools in those 10 states, regardless of who sponsored them, account for over 55 percent of the nearly 2,000 charter schools currently approved or operating nationwide," Jeanne Allen, the president of the center, writes in a foreword to the directory.
—Darcia Harris Bowman
Vol. 19, Issue 40, Page 3