For the first time, the number of students enrolled in charter schools has surpassed 3 million nationwide, finds thefrom the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
The group, which advocates for charter schools at the federal and state levels, finds there are now more than 6,900 charter schools nationally, with around 3.1 million students attending them. That would mean that charter enrollment has nearly tripled in the last 10 years. However, it still makes up a small fraction of overall K-12 public school enrollment nationally—around 5 percent.
An annual study of charter schools finds a steady rise in the number of students attending charter schools in the last decade.
Source: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The report comes as the U.S. Senate has confirmed as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a strong supporter of expanding charter schools. As part of its report, the charter group surveyed a national sample of 1,000 parents of school-age children. It found 78 percent of parents with charter schools in their community and 73 percent of parents without charter schools favor opening one in their community. One in 10 of the parents said a charter would be their first choice of school.
Although more than 300 new charter schools opened in the fall of 2016, there were also 211 closures. The report says schools were closed for a number of reasons, including low enrollment, financial issues, and low academic performance.
So far this year, the states with the most charter school closures were California and Texas at 30, followed by Florida with 25, Ohio at 22, and Georgia with 17. Texas, California, and Florida also saw the most openings.
A version of this article appeared in the February 15, 2017 edition of Education Week as Growth in Charter School Population