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School & District Management

Urban Charter School Wait Lists Swell Nationally, Report Says

By Arianna Prothero — May 05, 2015 1 min read
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Wait lists for charter schools in some of the country’s largest urban areas have swelled to over 300,000 collectively, according to a new report from the Washington-based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

The report’s release was timed with the kickoff of National Charter Schools Week.

But before we dive into the numbers, let’s talk caveats. An important one is that the report’s authors acknowledge their estimates don’t account for the fact that students might be on multiple wait lists at one time, which could easily skew the numbers upward.

According to estimates from NAPCS, New York City had the largest number of students with their names on wait lists at 163,000. [UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated that New York had 158,800 students on wait lists. NAPCS has since adjusted that number.] The Big Apple was followed closely by Los Angeles with 68,200 and Houston with 35,000.

The number of students on wait lists in New York City is nearly double the number actually attending charter schools in the city. In Boston, there’s almost three times as many students on wait lists compared to those in charters.

Here’s the full breakdown of the 10 urban districts NAPCS looked at (graph from Waiting for their Chance, a Closer Look at Wait Lists in Urban Public Charter Schools, by Susan Pendergrass and Nora Kern):

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.